Marine Science Alumni

Marine Science from the Alumni

"The Marine Science Program at UH Hilo is excellent. I have learned so much in my studies at this university, and I have received multiple scholarships. I even got to do a summer internship with NOAA working with the ALVIN submarine! I wouldn't have been able to do it if it weren't for the outstanding teachers at UH Hilo."

Brian Yannutz, BS '11, NOAA Commissioned Officer

The Marine Science Program highly values students, and it was always easy to find motivation. The professors and other faculty members were both supportive and enthusiastic in passing on their knowledge and skills and were readily available to answer questions and provide advice when needed.

Angela San Filippo, BA '04, Fish Biologist, Bureau of Land Management, Southern Oregon

"The best part of my education in the UH Hilo's Marine Science Program was that what you learned about in class, you would see and apply in the field. It was so amazing to learn about an organism and then actually see it in its environment."

Brooke Stuercke, BA '01, Laboratory Culture Specialist, Center for Marine Science, Wilmington, NC

Alumni Stories

Amber Howell Amber Howell, (BA '10) After graduating, Amber went to work for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory. In the first year and a half after graduation, she completed over 500 manatee necropsies and was involved in the worst winter in Florida, which contributed greatly to a record number of 767 manatee deaths for 2010. As part of her job, she also rescues injured and sick manatees as well as recover manatee carcasses. Outside of her rescue and necropsy work, Amber determines the age on all manatee earbones and processes all manatee skeleton requests. She has completed a research project comparing the total body length of the manatee to the size of its vestigial pelvic bones to calculate an equation to be used in the field for badly decomposed carcasses that a total body length cannot be obtained. Amber plans to remain in this field in the future and to continue focusing on aging manatee earbones and completing research projects.

Dr. Louisa Ponnampalam Louisa Ponnampalam, (BA '03) went on to finish her PhD at the University of London. Her research was carried out through the Biological Station in Millport, Scotland, with field work conducted in the Gulf of Oman. The title of Dr. Ponnampalam’s dissertation is: Ecological studies and conservation of small cetaceans in the Sultanate of Oman, with special reference to spinner dolphins, Stenella longirostris. Though her doctoral program was fully funded by a British Commonwealth Scholarship, Louisa credits much of her success to her training at UH Hilo, “I must say that Marine Science at UH Hilo provided me a strong foundation for my postgraduate studies, both in theory and practical....I've met numerous people who had studied marine science or zoology, and they are so amazed with all the stories I have to tell of my time as a marine science student at UH Hilo. UH Hilo played a big role in my development as a marine researcher. Mahalo!!”

Dr. Ponnampalam is a research fellow at the University of Malaya in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and co-founder of The MareCet Research Organization, the country's first nonprofit dedicated to building capacity for the conservation of the dugong, a herbivorous marine mammal, in Malaysia.

Also see the UH Hilo alumni and friends site.