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AAUW Honolulu Academic 2021-2022 Scholarship Awards

AAUW Honolulu has awarded a total of  $52,000 in academic scholarships for the 2021-22 year to 11 graduate and undergraduate students attending educational institutions in Hawaii.    

Administration of the undergraduate awards was managed by Palama Settlement and the graduate awards by Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF).  The specific breakdown is as follows: 

Palama Settlement Undergraduate Awardees (Total 5) Total Awards – $20,000 

Hawaii Community Foundation (HCF) Graduate Awardees (Total 6) Total Awards – $32,000

Masters’ Program 

PhD Program 

* Previously funded by Honolulu AAUW


The Star Advertiser: Women led way in Kingdom of Hawaii

By Ann S. Freed and Juanita Mahienaena Brown Kawamoto | The Star Advertiser

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated this year on Aug. 26, celebrating the achievements of women activists since the right to vote was enacted on Aug. 18, 1920. But in Hawaii that right only partially restored what had been the birthright of women in the Kingdom of Hawaii when it was a constitutional monarchy.

As Healoha Johnston, curator of women’s cultural history at the Smithsonian’s Asian Pacific American Center (APAC), explains, Hawaii’s women didn’t realize that the right to vote didn’t automatically guarantee they could also hold office. Before annexation, they experienced a different reality. In 1898, in the independent kingdom Hawaii, women were chiefessess, ambassadors, judges on the Supreme Court, governors and monarchs. By 1890 there were more than 80 Hawaiian embassies worldwide and many of the ambassadors were women.

What is also not well known is that the constitutional monarchy was created with the strong influence of Hawaiian matriarchs. The mission of the monarchy was to preserve Hawaiian culture and independence through diplomacy. In addition Hawaii’s queens were acknowledged internationally as heads of state.

In 1866, Queen Emma visited President Andrew Johnson’s White House to promote Hawaii as an independent nation. Then in 1887, Queen Kapiolani returning from an official visit to the English monarchy, donated a wa‘a, or canoe, “as a gift between two nations.”

But the “right to vote” in the territory of Hawaii created a paradox. Under this new system, women in positions of power, such as Judge Emma Nakuina, could no longer vote on territorial matters.

This paradox was even more ironic given the history of the suffrage movement in Hawaii. Shortly after the overthrow, Nakuina and her protégée Wilhelmina Dowsett began organizing for women’s right to vote on the islands. Dowsett, the daughter of a German immigrant and a Native Hawaiian woman with royal ancestry, spearheaded the fight for suffrage in Hawaii. As a member of a wealthy family with ties to high society, Dowsett leveraged her connections to create the National Women’s Equal Suffrage Association of Hawaii in 1912.

In the following decade, Dowsett and a multiethnic coalition of Hawaii’s women organized speeches in churches, created petitions and held rallies. They wrote countless columns in Hawaiian newspapers and became a key space for communicating about the suffrage debate.

These women saw suffrage as one key part of a larger fight for Hawaiian independence, and the ability of women to participate in their home’s future. This was a way to once again have a voice in determining the rights of the people. They thought that political clout would be restored with the vote.

Sadly, not so much. Clearly, with women in Hawaii earning 80% of what men make and the estimated even-larger pay gap for Native Hawaiian women, we still have a long way to go, both in the restoration of Native Hawaiian rights and the rights all Hawaii’s women.

Ann S. Freed is with the American Association of University Women, Hawaii; Juanita Brown Kawamoto is with the Hawaiian Affairs Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii.

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!

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!



Talk Story Tuesdays (August 2020)

We’re all self-isolating, but that doesn’t mean we have to be apart.

Join us for a virtual Talk Story Tuesday. Meet and mingle with other AAUW Honolulu members, all from the comfort of your own home!

Hear from grant awardees Grace Arends, Lindsay Young, and Momilani Marshall about their experiences with AAUW Honolulu’s grant — and keep an eye out for applications for the grant!

Are the high costs of conferences, meetings, seminars and certifications are holding you back from advancing in your industry? Consider applying for an AAUW Honolulu Career and Leadership Development Grant!

At Talk Story Tuesdays we engage in great conversations on the topics of today that impact women and girls in Hawaii.

We’ll mingle and catch up from 5:30 to 6 pm, and this time will also allow attendees to familiarize themselves with the Free Conference Call platform and receive informal tech support if needed.

WHEN: Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020 ~ 6 pm-7:30 pm

You’ll receive a link for the video conference when you RSVP!