Author Archives: aauwhonolulu_admin

JesusaJesica Leano-Au (Spring 2021)

Hi my name is Jesusa Jesica Leano-Au. I was born in Manila,Philippines, but now I reside in Honolulu,HawaiI. I am a mom of a 11 year old and also a wife of a (service member), I am currently working at Hickam Airforce Base as a dental assistant.

I choose the dental field as my career path because I wanted a better future for my daughter and to have a change in life as well. I graduated at Hawaii Dental Assisting Academy back in 2018, I have learned a lot of hands on dentistry where I have brought my skills and knowledge at the office I am currently working for and it has helped me grow tremendously into the dental assistant I am today.

AAUW Honolulu grant is bound to help me tremendously with the cost of my certification dental assistant and also for my current review class of certification dental assistant. I am grateful and thankful I was chosen because it will definitely help a lot and also I am not just doing this for myself I am also doing it for my daughter and anyone else out there that is trying there hardest to expand there goals and careers in life.

Sincerely,
Jesusa Jesica Au

Anuhea Wall (Spring 2021)

Anuhea was born and raised in Kealakekua and graduated from Konawaena High School in 2011. After high school, Anuhea attended school at Pacific University in Oregon, receiving financial support from many community scholarship funds including AAUW Honolulu. She earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and then her master’s degree in Social Work. Finally, in 2019, Anuhea returned to Kona to be closer to family and serve the community that nurtured her. She was ecstatic to accept a Direct Service Specialist position with Liliʻuokalani Trust as the mission of the organization was in alignment with her personal values and passion for working with youth. In 2020, the Trust and many other agencies were challenged to continue providing services to vulnerable populations across the state. Anuhea was recognized by coworkers and executive leadership for her diligence when she received the Innovation Award. In 2021, she also completed the Promising Minds Fellowship Program, certifying her as an Infant and Family Specialist.

Now, to continue on her bright career trajectory, Anuhea is in the final stages of applying for her License of Clinical Social Work (LCSW). The AAUW Honolulu Branch is providing funding to help tackle this goal. Earning her LCSW will propel Anuhea’s career forward by preparing her for future leadership roles and eventually, the opportunity to provide clinical supervision to up and coming clinicians. 

“I’m extremely grateful to have garnered the support of the AAUW Honolulu Branch multiple times in my educational and professional endeavors. I’m so excited to take this next step in my career free of financial burden. Mahalo AAUW!”

Mahalo and Welcome: Aviation Scholarship Passes to New Generation

AAUW Honolulu is grateful to Janet Morse for her hard work and leadership as the chair of the AAUW Honolulu Tweet Coleman Aviation Scholarship Committee since 2013. Janet joined AAUW Honolulu as a recent college graduate in 1960, and has gone on to serve in many AAUW positions. She is a past president of AAUW Hawaii, as well as the AAUW Windward Oahu and Honolulu branches, and a former member of the national AAUW Leadership Committee. 

“It has been exciting to experience the growth in applicants and awards, amazing to work with the founder Tweet Coleman and inspiring to meet the future female pilots,” she said.

Under Janet’s leadership, the Tweet Coleman Aviation Scholarship has matured and become more popular, with a record number of 24 applicants in 2021. Janet believes the high number of applicants reflects AAUW Honolulu’s growing reach into the aviation community as well as increased encouragement by airlines. She noted that two of this year’s applicants are flight attendants. Janet has carefully cultivated her team members and is now passing the reins to Nobi Butin, although she will continue to be an active member of the committee. MAHALO, JANET!

Nobi Butin has been awarded the Tweet Coleman Aviation Scholarship multiple times in past years. Her journey in aviation began in 2015, a year after getting injured on the job as a flight attendant. Nobi earned her Certified Flight Instructor Certificate in April 2021. In addition to flight training, she is working towards her bachelor’s degree in Aeronautical Science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Nobi’s passion for aviation is infectious. She is an officer in a local organization of women pilots, where she works on volunteer projects and provides mentoring to its members. One of Nobi’s sons is also a flight instructor.

For the past two years, Nobi has been assisting Janet with the Tweet Coleman Aviation Scholarships. She will continue to promote the scholarship through the AAUW Honolulu newsletter and social media. AAUW Honolulu is excited that she has agreed to step up and take on the role of the AAUW Tweet Coleman Scholarship Committee Chair. WELCOME, NOBI!

Featured AAUW Honolulu Volunteer: Lauren Kaupp

Lauren Kaupp loves volunteering with AAUW Honolulu because she gets to interact with young women who are enthusiastic about learning and growing. 

“Everything AAUW does is to empower women, which is very meaningful to me,” she said. “The programs I’ve been able to participate in as part of AAUW have allowed me to connect directly with K-12 students, which I really enjoy, as a former high school teacher.”

Lauren is currently the Science Specialist for the State of Hawaii Department of Education, where her work is centered on providing leadership in science and STEM education initiatives. She holds a B.S. in Chemistry, an M.S. in Oceanography, and an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership. 

Lauren first got involved with AAUW through the now-discontinued TechSavvy program, which aimed to increase awareness of and interest in STEM among middle school girls and their families. She played many roles as part of the team, including co-chairing the event and coordinating the adult program. 

“The STEM work holds a special place in my heart, and although TechSavvy was discontinued, I love that AAUW continues to support women in STEM,” she said.

Lauren has been a mentor for the Girls Talk Back program for 3 years, and she continues to be impressed by the remarkable young women participating in the program. Girls Talk Back empowers young women to find their voices and serve as leaders in addressing issues that they are passionate about in their communities.

“At some point during each Girls Talk Back cohort, I have reflected on how amazing the program is and how much I would have loved such a program when I was in high school,” she said.

Being involved with AAUW has allowed Lauren to grow personally and professionally. In the past, she was able to attend the AAUW National Conference in Washington, D.C. and says the experience was amazing. Lauren is thankful to AAUW Honolulu Board Member Anna Viggiano for bringing her into the AAUW fold. 

“I really value all of the work that AAUW does and appreciate being able to be involved,” she said. 

Honolulu Civil Beat: Too Few Women Get To Invent – That’s A Problem For Women’s Health

Caitlin Williams, MS (Spring 2021)

I have held a lifelong interest in highly virulent pathogens and their impact on global health. Throughout my doctoral program at University of Hawaii at Manoa I have had the opportunity to pursue and publish research on vaccines for viruses of extreme public health importance such as ebolavirus, marburgvirus, and SARS-CoV-2. I conduct research to develop comprehensive vaccines that protect pregnant women their newborns from Ebola. I was able to share my research at the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) annual conference. AAUW graciously awarded me funds to cover the cost of attending this virtual conference. At this conference I was able to learn about cutting edge research within immunology such as cancer immunology, vaccine development, and autoimmune diseases. I was able to share my own work in maternal immunization with experts in the field. The virtual conference was a unique experience and one which valuable to my development as an early researcher. I am grateful to AAUW for their support!

Mahalo, 

Caitlin 

Tabithah Buentipo (Spring 2021)

Hello, my name is Tabithah Buentipo. I’m currently attending “HDAA” (Hawaii dental assisting academy). I started in April of 2021. I’m scheduled to graduate from this program on July 29, 2021 which I’m most excited about, and it all wouldn’t have been possible without the AAUW women’s scholarship. So big thank you to you all for helping me achieve my goals in becoming a dental assistant and helping me stay stress free from school bills.

I currently reside on the westside of town in a little community called Waianae. I am a single mother of 3 my babies are my world and my soul. Because of you folks I can now provide a better way of life for my babies which their really grateful for as well. I’m glad I can be a great role model for my babies and inspire them to push for their dreams and never give up because if there’s a will there’s a way I say. I’m going to be 31 years old when I graduate I know I’m a little older but it’s never too late to learn. And I’m a walking testimony of that goes to show we can achieve anything we put our minds to.

My hobbies I enjoy to do is definitely spending every chance I can with the ones who mean most to me, catching sunsets, having great laughs and just enjoying life an everything that comes with it whether it’s good or bad I love every bit of it. I’ve learned in my life time here on earth life is too short to sit around doing nothing or getting stressed out about things that’s out of our control so with that being said you kinda of get what type of person I am? I’d say a go with the flow type of person,down to earth, an most of all a very loving an affectionate one at that so I’ll leave you all with this live laugh an love until we can’t no more thanks again for blessing me with this amazing opportunity I look forward to hearing from you folks.

Breaun Telefoni (Spring 2021)

  Growing up I always was a daydreamer who always accomplished the things I wanted to do in life. If I wanted to do something or get something, I was always very determined to get what I wanted. My life went into many paths where I would go off track or get interrupted with distractions, but with the determination that I always strive for to always do better for myself. I would overcome those distractions. There were a lot of Carrere pathways I would want to do look forward into and never was satisfied. Being a mother of my four-year-old son and now currently pregnant with my second child, I was even more determined to find a relying Carrere that would help provide for my children and me. 

      Attending the HDDA program really opened my eyes and interest on what I wanted to for a living, which is to work in the dental field. And for being a single mother trying to receive the proper education, AAWU grant really helped me achieve my certificate which will now also help me further my education to the next step on becoming a Hygienist. I am very proud of myself and knowing that I completed one step of my prosses, makes me even more eager and hungry to work harder on finishing this process.  

Honolulu Star-Advertiser: Improve campus sex-assault policies

By Ronja Steinbach  |  June 6, 2021. |  The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

On Sept. 29, 2020, I received an email from the University of Hawaii-Manoa (UHM) Department of Public Safety informing me of a sexual assault on campus. The assault took place at a residence hall across from where I lived during my freshman year.

What happened was not an isolated incident. It is the tip of a very large, very underreported iceberg. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, a staggering 20% of female college students will experience sexual assault. I wish that I was more surprised by the pervasiveness of sexual assault, but it is a reality that too many of us have accepted. I am currently a rising junior and I am the co-president of the American Association of University Women at UHM club and I want to change those statistics.

In colleges, sexual assault and harassment falls under Title IX, a federal law that prohibits discrimination based on gender. On June 23, 2021, we will be celebrating the 49th anniversary of this law, which was part of the Educational Amendments of 1972. It was principally authored and sponsored by Patsy Mink, the first Asian-American congresswoman, who was born in Hawaii.

As we approach the anniversary and the 2022 legislative session, it is important that we critically examine its efficacy and advocate for necessary changes in it implementation, especially at the University of Hawaii.

Title IX protections for sexual assault victims have long been inadequate. Cases are largely underreported and campus climate surveys from the UH system show alarming trends; from 2017 to 2019, there were statistically significant increases in the incidences of sexual harassment (5.7% to 8%) and dating and domestic violence (10.6% to 12.1%).

Furthermore, changes implemented by the U.S. Department of Education under Betsy DeVos and the former Trump administration undermined the objectives of the law with new rules that favored the perpetrators. One of the most problematic changes allows for the cross-examination of the person reporting the sexual assault. Many students fear reporting incidences and the prospect of being cross-examined further deters survivors from coming forward.

Other rules and guidelines continue to be problematic. One semester is around four months long, yet a case that is brought to the Title IX office has up to 90 days — around three months — to be investigated. A survivor may have a sexual assault case looming over them for nearly an entire semester. Academic performance may decline so the student may experience the setback of an entire semester. There is no question, 90 days is too long. An investigation should be thorough, but considering the severity of the situation, it should be completed, in full, in a timeframe that protects the survivor’s access to their education.

During freshman orientation, we are briefly introduced to Title IX procedures and available campus resources. That is not enough. Most students do not remember or feel that it is relevant to them. As an employee for UH, I have also completed the annual sexual assault training for the workplace. It is not effective.

Sexual assault awareness curriculum and training should be mandated for everyone in the UH system. It should be reviewed and designed in collaboration with students, so that it is relevant, and stops being viewed as an inconvenient but necessary task. Overviews of UH policies and information about campus resources should also be provided more frequently.

Awareness and support for better Title IX guidelines and a rollback of the toxic attempt by the previous administration to weaken its protections is imperative. We need to continue the fight to change the rape culture in which we live by having appropriate policies in place.


Ronja Steinbach, a rising University of Hawaii-Manoa junior, is co-president of the American Association of University Women at UH-Manoa.

Mariana Rocha de Souza

Mariana Rocha de Souza, an AAUW Career and Leadership Development Grant recipient, checked in with us and let us know how our grant will help advance her future.

Read more below!

“I am Mariana Rocha de Souza, a Brazilian 5th year PhD candidate at UH Manoa. My work focuses primarily on coral’s response to climate change. The AAUW Career and Leadership Development Grant will allow me to attend and present my work at ICRS 2021 that will be held July 18th-23rd at Bremen, Germany. ICRS 2021, the 14thInternational Coral Reef Symposium, is held once every 4 years and is the primary international conference on coral reef science, conservation and management, bringing together leading scientists, early career researchers, conservationists, ocean experts, policy makers, managers and the public.
Sharing my work in this international conference will have a big impact on my career, as it will allow me to network with scientists worldwide and discuss the latest scientific findings and ideas in the field. ICRS 2021 will be the key event to develop science-based solutions addressing the present and future challenges of coral reefs. I am currently finishing my PhD at UH Manoa and this will be my only opportunity as a student to present at this important conference. The connections I make at the conference can provide me with opportunities for postdocs and other career options after the PhD.

I am really grateful for the AAUW Honolulu for this opportunity!”