About Our Personnel

Above all, our personnel is here to serve the student and ensure that the program provides an outstanding experience to all who participate. This includes everything from academic advising to extracurricular activities. We’re dedicated in what we do.

Here are a few introductions from our full-time personnel. We hope this gives a better idea of who we are as individuals, but more importantly, who we are as a team.


Vernadette Vicuña Gonzalez, Ph.D.

Vernadette Gonzalez is Professor of American Studies and Director of the Honors Program at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. Her areas of research include studies of tourism and militarism, transnational cultural studies, feminist theory, postcolonial studies, Asian American cultural and literary studies, and globalization studies with a focus on Asia and the Pacific. She has a PhD in Ethnic Studies from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Designated Emphasis in Women, Gender and Sexuality.

Her latest book, Empire’s Mistress, Starring Isabel Rosario Cooper, is forthcoming from Duke UP in Spring 2021, and is an exploration of the intimacies of imperial geopolitics through the life story of a mixed-race vaudeville and film actress and sometime mistress of General Douglas MacArthur.

She is coeditor, with Hōkūlani K. Aikau, of Detours: A Decolonial Guide to Hawai’i (Duke 2019), which curates alternative, place based narratives, art, and itineraries that present a decolonial archive and vision for life in Hawai’i. Detours now anchors a book series with Duke University Press, with volumes on Guåhan/Guam, Puerto Rico, Palestine, Singapore, Okinawa and other sites in development. 

Her first book, Securing Paradise: Tourism and Militarism in Hawai‘i and the Philippines (Duke UP, 2013) won the Association for Asian American Studies book award for the best book in cultural studies published in 2013. In 2016, she co-edited, with Jana K. Lipman and Teresia Teaiwa, an American Quarterly special issue on the convergences of tourism and militarism. 

Other published work can be found in several collections, including Making the Empire Work (NYU 2015); Mobile Desires (Palgrave 2015); Transnational Crossroads (U. Nebraska 2012); as well as in journals such as Shima, Radical History Review, The Journal of Sustainable Tourism and Critical Ethnic Studies. 

She is currently developing several projects on Filipinx/Indigenous encounters; solidarity tours; and the politics of hospitality.

Email: vvg@hawaii.edu
Phone: (808)956-5404

Academic Advisors

Siobhán Ní Dhonacha, Ph.D.

Siobhán NDSiobhán Ní Dhonacha is a Faculty Specialist/Academic Advisor for the Honors Program and Regents and Presidential Scholars. She ​grew up in Dublin, Ireland and ​earned her B.A. in Political Science and Politics of Theatre from Western Washington University, an ​M.F.A. in Theatre/Playwriting  at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM), and a PhD in Education ​from the College of Education at UHM with a focus on the Ethics of Care, Higher Education Policy/Philosophy, and Student Success Strategies. Area​s​ of interests include the philosophy and ethics of care, student success strategies and initiatives, mentoring, access to higher education, first generation students, public policy, and globalization.

Email: dhonacha@hawaii.edu
Phone:  (808)956-0756

Jayme Scally, Ph.D.

IMG_8044Jayme Scally is an Academic Advisor for the Honors Program and Regents and Presidential Scholars.  She is originally from Baltimore, MD and has lived and studied in England, Ireland, Spain, and South Africa.  She earned her BA in History and Secondary Education at Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania, her MEd in Higher Education Administration at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN, and her PhD in Education at the University of York in England. Her area of specialty is intercultural competence, communication, and international education and she has previous experience working in careers and study abroad advising, welfare and student support, and teaching at both undergraduate and master’s level.  Her research focuses on the development of intercultural communicative competence in various settings, including through study abroad, intentional campus programming, and through media.  Jayme is also the Knowledge Coordinator for the New Professionals and Graduate Students Knowledge Community within NASPA.

Email: jayme.scally@hawaii.edu
Phone:  (808)956-8254

Educational Specialists

Sue P. Haglund, Ph.D.

10923540_10205301009541664_7494603146423717443_nSue P. Haglund, Dule Indian and a native of Panama, received her doctorate from the Department of Political Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her dissertation, “Dule Poli-Aesthetic Movement: Molas, Boxing and Poetry,” examines the sociopolitical aesthetic presence and movements of the indigenous Dule people in modern Panama. Her research interests include the study of aesthetics, public policy, good government, indigenous politics, and Latin American sociopolitical issues. Her article, “Dule Urwed and Boxing: The Production of Dule Knowledge via Baby San Blas,” was published in York University’s InTensions Journal in 2014.

Email: haglund@hawaii.edu
Phone: (808) 956-8391

Sylvia Wu, M.Ed

SylviaSylvia Wu is a Hawaiʻi-born Chinese American who received her B.A. in Chinese Language, B.S. in Asian Studies, and M.Ed in Educational Administration with a focus in higher education from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her areas of interest include first-generation students, experiential learning, and student engagement.

Email: strinh@hawaii.edu
Phone: (808) 956-8361

Honors Office Assistant

Angel Lepordo

Angelique “Angel” Lepordo is a Clerical Assistant for the Honors Program. She is a Full-time student at the University of Hawai’i in Manoa, she is currently working on her BA in both Psychology and Women’s Studies working toward a Doctorate in Psychology with a heavy focus on LGBTQAI+ youth. When she is not working on Research projects her interests are; cosplaying with her Award-Winning Cosplay group, training and practicing skills such as: Makeup, Wig Styling, and Costuming, and in her downtime, she likes to read both American comic books and Manga.