Category Archives: Career and Leadership Development Grant Recipient Profiles

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.

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!”

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!



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.  

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!”

Sara Ward

Theatre is Sara Ward’s passion.

From volunteer usher, to child actor wrangler, to line prompter, to set changer, to props designer, to box office ticket sales, to box office manager, to officer manager, and finally to house manager, she’s done almost everything in theater — except acting!

Sara moved to Honolulu, Hawaii in 1989 and immediately began volunteering as an usher in theatres all around Oahu. In 2002, she worked  at Manoa Valley Theatre as a part-time clerk in the box office.

Over a decade and a half later, Sara’s an Administrative House Manager, in charge of the box office and the business office. She’s received three Po’okela Awards from the Hawaii State Theatre Council for her work: Excellence in Service at MVT in 2004; Masks/Props Design for A Christmas Carol at MVT in 2010; and the Adjudicator Special Award (Props) for Young Frankenstein at MVT in 2012.

The AAUW Honolulu Career and Leadership Development Grant allowed her to attend the INTIX 2019 Texas Conference Program. She was able to to meet with peers from other nonprofit organizations, attend classes and workshops, discover new technology, improve her approach to audience development, enhance her box office and office management skills and — most importantly — learn new ways to include every member of our community in the theatre experience.

“I am very thankful to AAUW Honolulu for making this exciting and wonderful opportunity possible,” she said.

If you’re interested in learning more about AAUW Honolulu’s Career and Leadership Development Grant, and when the applications will be taken, click here!

Tanya Dreizin

Tanya Dreizin is a graduate student working toward her M.A. at Hawaii Pacific University in its Global Leadership and Sustainable Development program, focusing on waste management and sustainability within Oahu’s tourism industry.

She’s an active part of the community, volunteering with The Arch Project, and taking part in a semester-long internship at the Sierra Club. Her passion for sustainability dovetails with her interests in rock climbing, hiking and traveling.

With her grant from AAUW Honolulu, Tanya attended the Clinton Global Initiative in Chicago. The conference brings together leaders from a variety of different backgrounds and disciplines, such as sustainability, health, social welfare, diplomacy, and more.

She said, “The opportunity to attend this conference has connected me with multiple leaders who are in the process of starting and funding new organizations that aim to serve communities abroad and at home! I attended plenaries where I learned so much about leadership development, fostering outreach among communities, and how to successfully work with various stakeholders. I was also able to network with professionals, such as the Director of Philosophy of Patagonia and more, which I hope can create potential opportunities in the future!”

If you’re interested in learning more about AAUW Honolulu’s Career and Leadership Development Grant, and when the applications will be taken, click here!

Chelsey Stewart

Chelsey Stewart was recently named campus survivor advocate, based at the Windward and Honolulu Community College campuses, by the Domestic Violence Action Center as part of its Campus Survivor Advocacy Program.

Prior to becoming her position as an advocate, she worked for DVAC as a helpline specialist. She’s worked with the ACLU of Hawaii and Washington states, Legal Aid Society of Hawaii’s Fair Housing Enforcement Program, U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service, and the Hawaii Department of the Attorney General’s Crime Prevention & Justice Assistance Division. She credits those past experiences for her current position with DVAC.

In addition to the skills she gained from work and internships,Chelsey is a proud graduate of Chaminade University of Honolulu (BS Criminology and Criminal Justice ’12, MS Criminal Justice Administration ’15).

Chelsey thanks AAUW Honolulu for the opportunity to use its Career and Leadership Development Grant to attend the 2019 Conference on Crimes Against Women (“CCAW”) in Dallas, Texas next April.

“As an Advocate for college students and faculty that are going through abusive relationships, I am excited to participate in the CCAW’s Campus Safety Summit, which covers the first half of the weeklong conference and focuses on relationship violence prevention and response. I am looking forward to networking and gaining valuable insight to ways I can improve the CSAP program and campus environment for domestic violence victims in Hawaii. Mahalo,” she said.

If you’re interested in learning more about AAUW Honolulu’s Career and Leadership Development Grant, and when the applications will be taken, click here!