Kapi'olani CC Student a SACNAS Winner

Kapiʻolani Community College
Louise Yamamoto, (808) 734-9513
Director, College Relations, Office for College and Community Relations
Posted: Dec 1, 2015

Kimberly Kahaleua
Kimberly Kahaleua

HONOLULU – Among more than 1,100 student research presentations, Kapiʻolani Community College student Kimberly Kahaleua was recognized as a standout among her peers by judges at the 2015 Fall Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) Conference in Washington, D.C. In a letter from the SACNAS Student Presentations Committee, Kimberly was lauded for her communication skills and command of her research topic, “Bacterial Effects of Nioi (Capsicum frutescens).” Kimberly was cited for her exemplary work and her proficiency in explaining her research project. The awards committee went further to recognize the commitment of Kapiʻolani’s STEM Program to “drive fellow researchers to similar heights.”

The ʻIlima Society is the name of the University of Hawaiʻi’s Chapter of SACNAS and this year, Hawaiʻi science students and professors were awarded the Outstanding Chapter of the Year Award, Distinguished Mentor Award and three Best Student Presentation Awards. Kimberly Kahaleua won one of the Best Student Presentation Awards, and is the only undergraduate student from the University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges to do so.

While still in high school, Kimberly was absorbed in science courses, but she had no clear idea where her path would lead her. Just before graduating from Pearl City High School, she learned about the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) summer bridge program at Kapiʻolani Community College. She felt a tug, “more like a calling,” and she followed that energy which introduced her to opportunities for learning and personal growth. Kim comments that the faculty at Kapiʻolani are very nurturing and she credits Keolani Noa, STEM outreach coordinator, for being a positive influence on her educational pathway. Kim is also grateful to Kathy Ogata for being a superb faculty-mentor on her research project.

Kimberly is heading for the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa through the Kaʻieʻie Program with the goal of earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology. Beyond that, she would like to further study tropical conservation, possibly through Biology and Environmental Science.


SACNAS was founded in 1973 by a group of minority scientists and later incorporated in 1986 under the name of Society of Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Inc. SACNAS is a tax-exempt organization and its member scientists are dedicated to nurture the success of Hispanic/Chicano and Native American scientists to attain advanced degrees, careers and positions of leadership in science.

Every year, a SACNAS National Conference convenes its diverse membership and showcases cutting-edge science, training, and unique research from undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and career professionals who are in various stages of their career as they advance towards positions of science leadership.

SACNAS is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary STEM diversity organization in the United States, reaching a community of over 20,000.