I am beyond grateful to be selected as the 2022 L. Stephen Lau Water Research Endowed Scholar. This scholarship will support my studies analyzing microbial communities across cesspools and septic tanks in Hawaiʻi. My project will help the establishment of a genetic repository for future studies attempting to differentiate between sources of sewage pollution in Hawaiʻi.
I am a Ph.D. student in the Oceanography Department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa under the mentorship of Dr. Craig Nelson. Prior to graduate school, I earned a B.S. in Marine Science at UH-Hilo where I studied microplastic accumulation across a newly formed beach following the 2018 Kīlauea eruption. I assisted with a long-term coral health monitoring project at Waiʻōpae tide pools where I was first introduced to sewage related studies. Although my initial research interests were mainly in the realm of plastic marine debris, I shifted my focus to coastal sewage pollution when I started graduate school. My current research focuses on using microbial community signatures to differentiate between sources of sewage pollution in Hilo, Hawaiʻi in collaboration with UH-Hilo and the Keaukaha Community.