+ UH Manoa Geography

News and Events

Spring 2016

Camilo Mora received tenure, with promotion to Associate Professor, in June 2016

Spring 2016

Professor Hong Jiang

Professor Hong Jiang is awarded the 2016 College of Social Sciences Excellence in Teaching Award at UH-Manoa.

Professor Reece Jones

Professor Reece Jones's book, "Placing the Border in Everyday Life" (2014, Routledge), co-edited with Corey Johnson, won the 2016 Association for Borderlands Studies'Past Presidents' Gold Book Award, which is given to the best book in border studies each year.

Graduate student Awards

Graduate student Kerrie Littlejohn has been received an American Association of University Women (AAUW) National Dissertation Fellowship for 2016-17 for her dissertation research on marine tourism management.

Graduate student Emily Wright is awarded the American Institute for Indonesian Studies (AIFIS) grant to support her Masters research on seaweed industry in Lombok, Indonesia, in the summer of 2016.

Graduate student Sayaka Sakuma has received the Center for Japanese Studies Graduate Fellowship at UH-Manoa for her dissertation research on the political ecology of ecotourism development in Okinawa, Japan

Spring 2015

UHM Geography Symposium - MAY 7, 2015, 9AM - 1PM

Join us to mark the end of 2014-15 academic year and celebrate the achievements of our students in the Inaugural UH Manoa Geography Symposium on Thursday, May 7, 2015, 9AM - 1PM.

Prof. Camilo Mora, named as one of Hawaii Business Magazine’s "20 for the Next 20” in 2015

Hawaii Business Magazine, 20 FOR THE NEXT 20 2015

Ben Schrager has been awarded the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship

Benjamin Schrager is a Ph.D. student in the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Geography Department, and he was selected as the 2015 Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship recipient following a competitive selection process. Ben's work investigates evolving relationships in the production and consumption of food. His dissertation topic is the chicken broiler industry in Southern Kyushu's Kagoshima and Miyazaki Prefectures. The Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship will support him to go to Southern Kyushu to complete his field research.

Fall 2014

Charles Devaney received the National Drone User Network, Drone Social Innovation Award

Projects using unmanned aerial systems to detect landmines and help disaster victims in the Philippines received the Drone Social Innovation Award, a $10,000 cash prize created to spur the creative use of low-cost drones for socially beneficial causes. The award was announced on Saturday at an awards ceremony in Dallas, TX. “These projects represent some of the most exciting and important ways people are using drones to make the world a better place,” Drone User Group Network Founder Timothy Reuter noted at the group’s annual conference where the award was presented. KITV News Clip: UH grad student a global leader in drone technology

Dave Beilman received tenure, with promotion to Associate Professor, in June 2014

John Matassa received College of Social Sciences Excellence in Service award, 2014

Camilo Mora received College of Social Sciences Excellence in Research award, 2014

Reece Jones received College of Social Sciences Excellence in Research award, 2014

Spring 2014

Geography undergraduate Rachel Goldberg published in Civil Beat

Geography undergraduate Rachel Goldberg has published a commentary in Civil Beat on a recent speech given by His Excellency Anote Tong, President of Kiribati, about the impacts of climate change in the Pacific Islands Region. “Our Disappearing Neighbor: The Republic of Kiribati and Rising Tides”

Student Awards

Congratulations to Geography PhD students Keith Bettinger and Yuko Stender for winning awards. Keith won the Asian Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers PhD student paper award. Yuko Stender won the best poster award at the Tester Symposium.

Seminar and book launch on March 21st

The Geography Department and the Pacific Writers' Connection are co-sponsoring a book launch and seminar with Prof. Alison Rieser to celebrate the release of her book, "The Case of the Green Turtle: An Uncensored History of a Conservation Icon," in partnership with Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument and Native Books Na Mea Hawaii. Date and time: Friday, March 21st at 3 p.m. in 410 Kuykendall Hall [link to flyer]

Fall 2013

Tenure track position in Human Geography has been filled

KITV News Video: Hawaii techies show how drones can rebuild after typhoon in Philippines

This video describes the initial effort in incorporating UAV technology into humanitarian assistance and disaster response methodology in developing nations. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7inAaAaku70

Li Philips Receives University Research Opportunities Program Award

Geography major Li Philips received a 2014 University of Hawaii Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) award. Li will be traveling to Southeast Asia next summer to investigate the Social Carrying Capacity of Hiking Trails Around Inle Lake, Myanmar. UROP is a competitive award for student-initiated independent undergraduate research endeavors at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

Jack Kittinger featured on the front page of the Star Advertiser

Jack Kittinger (UH Geog PhD 2010) is featured on the front page of the Star Advertiser 8/10/2013 for his research on fisheries in Hawaii: Decades-old dishes served at Hawaii restaurants offer a unique way to track declining fish counts in the Pacific

New tenure track position in Human Geography

Assistant Professor, Human Geography with specialization in geopolitics or environmental governance, Department of Geography, University of Hawai’i at Manoa, position #084917, 9-month appointment, permanent, general funds, full time, tenure track, to begin August 1, 2014, subject to position clearance and availability of funds. Duties: Teach undergraduate and graduate courses; advise undergraduate and graduate students; conduct an active research program; publish research results; seek extramural funding; engage departmental, university, and professional activities. Minimum qualifications: Ph.D. in Geography or allied field from an accredited college, university or foreign equivalent, record of scholarly achievement as evidenced by teaching, publications, and research. Salary range: Commensurate with qualifications and experience. To apply: Upload all application materials to http://surveys.socialsciences.hawaii.edu/ework/. Send curriculum vitae, cover letter stating how you satisfy the minimum qualifications, statement summarizing your teaching and research interests, and evidence of teaching effectiveness. The names and contact information for three references should be submitted. Inquiries: Dr. Krisna Suryanata, (808) 956-7384, email: krisnawa@hawaii.edu. Review of applications will begin on October 1, 2013, and will continue until the position is filled. Applications received by that date will be given priority. EEO/AA Employer.

Wendy Miles and Micah Fisher published in online journal Mongabay.com.

Wendy Miles and (incoming PhD student) Micah Fisher published commentary in online journal Mongabay.com: Smoke over Sumatra: Why Indonesia's fires are a global concern

Xiaofeng Kang receives a Doctoral Fellowship from the CHIANG CHING-KUO Foundation

Geography graduate student Xiaofeng Kang receives a Doctoral Fellowship from the CHIANG CHING-KUO Foundation: http://www.cckf.org.tw/Erecipients2012-2.htm

Spring 2013

Reece Jones receives 2013 Minghi Research Award

Associate Professor Reece Jones' book Border Walls: Security and the War on Terror in the United States, India and Israel won the Julian Minghi Outstanding Research Award at the 2013 Association of American Geographers annual meeting held in Los Angeles, California from April 9 - 13. The award is given to the author of a book published during the previous calendar year that makes an innovative, original contribution to the conceptual and/or methodological embrace of political geography. Past winners of the award include Stuart Elden, Derek Gregory, and Gerard Toal.

Reece Jones now president of AAG Political Geography Specialty Group

Associate Professor Reece Jones was recently elected the president of the Political Geography Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers. The PGSG is one of the largest specialty groups with over 1000 members. The group gives student awards, administers the politicalgeography.org website, and organizes the annual political geography pre-conference prior to the AAG meetings.

UH Mānoa ATV collaboration

Two University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa students from two completely different disciplines are collaborating on a project that involves an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a UAV or drone.

Collaboration soars with UH drone project

Rainfall Atlas Featured in Hana Hou Magazine

Geography Department Rainfall Atlas feartured in the current issue of Hana Hou magazine

Who'll stop the rain?

Kyle Kajhiro was recently awarded the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award

Kyle Kajhiro, an MA student in the Geography Department, was recently awarded the 2013 Martin Luther King Jr. Peacemaker Award. Kyle was the Program Director for the American Friends Service Committee from 1996 to 2011 where he worked on militarism and native Hawaiian sovereignty. His MA thesis will look at the role Hawai'i has played in US imperialism in the Pacific with an emphasis on Ke Awalau o Pu'uloa (Pearl Harbor).


Forum Entry by UH Manoa Ph.D Graduate in Geography Dr. Elizabeth Louis

New forum entry on the Center for South Asian Studies website by Dr. Elizabeth Louis, who received her Ph.D in Geography at UH Manoa and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at Texas A&M University. The entry is titled, " Seed Sovereignty is Just Fight, But What Else Should We Consider?"


Fall 2012

Congratulations newly tenured faculty

This fall, THREE Geography Department faculty have risen to the rank of Associate Professor and have been granted tenure. Please join us in celebrating with Professors Qi Chen, Reece Jones, and Brian Szuster. Their achievements continue to strengthen education and research in Geography. Well done!

Teaching awards

For their commitment to the quality of education we provide to Hawaii’s students, TWO Geography faculty members have been recognized for going the extra mile. Reece Jones has received the 2012 Regent’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching (http://www.ofdas.hawaii.edu/currentawardees.html) for ‘extraordinary level of subject mastery and scholarship, teaching effectiveness and creativity, and personal values beneficial to students’. Dave Beilman has received the 2011-2012 College of Social Sciences Award for Excellence in Teaching for his ‘record of success in the classroom and noteworthy relationships with students’.

Geography in the press

Please see the latest contributions by Professors Reece Jones and Alison Reiser.

Reece Jones – New York Times Global Edition OpEd:


Over the past decade, The United States, India and Israel have built 3,500 miles of walls and fences.

Alison Reiser – NPR’s Animal House


WAMU 88.5 and NPR highlight Prof. Rieser’s new book The Case of the Green Sea Turtle.

Spring 2012

Professor Alison Rieser, who directs the Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate Program (GOPC), published an article in the Spring 2012 edition of the Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal

Professor Alison Rieser, who directs the Graduate Ocean Policy Certificate Program (GOPC), published an article in the Spring 2012 edition of the Asian-Pacific Law and Policy Journal, exploring the international policy dimensions of large-scale marine protected areas in the Pacific. The title of the article is, "The Papahānaumokuākea Precedent: Ecosystem-scale Marine Protected Areas in the EEZ." A link to the paper is http://blog.hawaii.edu/aplpj/files/2012/05/APLPJ_13.2__Rieser.pdf

Her book on the science, law and politics of sea turtle conservation, "The Case of the Green Turtle: An Uncensored History of a Conservation Icon" was published by The Johns Hopkins University Press on June 21, 2012, and is summarized in the attached flyer.

In GOPC student news, Mele Coleman (J.D./GOPC) was selected to be a 2013 Executive Branch fellow by the John A. Knauss Marine Policy Fellowship Program of the National Sea Grant Program. GOPC graduate Dan Reineman (Oceanography M.S./GOPC 2008) was a Knauss Legislative Fellow in 2009 and is now a doctoral student in Stanford University's Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources. Five GOPC students received their certificates at Mānoa graduations this May. They are James I. Hong (M. Pub. Adm/GOPC 2012), Willow Jorgenson ( Zoology M.S./GOPC 2012), Kara A. Miller (M.S. NREM/GOPC 2012), Andrew N. Porter (J.D./GOPC 2012), and Lora N. Reeve (Zoology M.S./J.D./GOPC 2012). Willow will begin teaching marine science at Kauai Community College in the Fall.

Geography celebrates its 80th Anniversary as an Independent Department at Manoa

On March 21st, the Geography Department celebrated its 80th anniversary of its establishment as an independent Department in 1931. The first Geography Course was taught in 1920 and the first Master's degree was awarded in 1933. The Department was granted a PhD program in 1967 and to date has awarded over 470 graduate degrees. More Images...

Keith Bettinger has been awarded the 2012 USINDO (US-Indonesia Society) Sumitro Fellowship

Keith Bettinger has been awarded the 2012 USINDO (US-Indonesia Society) Sumitro Fellowship ($10,000) to supplement the Fulbright Hays/Mellon Grant he already has to complete his dissertation research on the political ecology of resource conservation in Indonesia.

Fall 2011

New interactive website provides digital rainfall maps, patterns

The Hawaiian Islands have one of the most diverse rainfall patterns on earth. One of the most frequently cited publication on Hawai‘i’s environment is the Rainfall Atlas of Hawai‘i, first published in 1986, by UH Mānoa Geography Professor Dr. Tom Giambelluca, Michael Nullet, and UH Mānoa Meteorology Professor Tom Schroeder. The printed publication provided a set of maps of the spatial patterns of rainfall for the major Hawaiian Islands. Fast forward twenty-five years, Giambelluca recently led a team of UH Mānoa researchers to create a new, interactive online website housing updated rainfall patterns. Giambelluca specializes in climate, climate change, and ecohydrology. The website was developed to make rainfall maps, data and related information easily accessible. Features include: high resolution downloadable digital maps for mean monthly and annual rainfall and uncertainty for each station used in the analysis, as well as files with information on each rain gage station. The website also allows users to view the patterns of mean monthly and annual rainfall and corresponding uncertainty, zoom in on areas of particular interest, navigate to specific locations with the help of a choice of different base maps, and click on any location to get the mean annual rainfall and a graph and table of mean monthly rainfall. Over the course of the two-year project, rainfall measurements taken at over 1,000 stations were used as the principal source of information in the development of the rainfall maps. The maps represent the best estimates of the mean rainfall for the 30-year base period 1978–2007. However, for many reasons, it is not possible to determine the exact value of mean rainfall for any location. Therefore, for every map of mean rainfall, corresponding map of uncertainty is provided. Knowledge of the mean rainfall patterns is critically important for a variety of meteorological, agricultural and resource management issues, including ground water and surface water development and protection, controlling and eradicating invasive species, protecting and restoring native ecosystems, and planning for the effects of global warming. The 2011 Rainfall Atlas of Hawai‘i was developed under an agreement between the State of Hawai‘i Commission on Water Resource Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Honolulu District under Section 22 of the Water Resources Development Act of 1974. Contract No. W9128A-04-D-0019, Contract Task Order No. 0038 was awarded to Wil Chee Planning Inc., which subcontracted the work to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa,Geography Department. To access the website, visit: http://rainfall.geography.hawaii.edu/.

Camilo Mora's research on biodiversity featured in the New York Times

New Geography Department Assistant Professor Camilo Mora's recent calculation of the total number of species on earth was featured in The New York Times. His paper estimates that there are 8.7 million species on the planet, plus or minus 1.3 million. The article is available here

Reece Jones publishes an Op-Ed on the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall

Assistant professor Reece Jones published an op-ed in the Honolulu Star Advertiser that was syndicated worldwide by Project Syndicate. The Op-Ed describes how the hope of an increasingly borderless world has been dashed by the construction of many walls around the world in the era of globalization. The complete Op-Ed is available here

Camilo Mora's research on biodiversity loss featured in the Ka Leo

The article in the UH campus newspaper features the Camilo's findings that protected areas around the world are failing to preserve biodiversity. The article was coauthored with Dr Peter F. Sale. Camilo joined the department of geography in this fall and will be teaching courses in marine geography. The Ka Leo article is available here

PhD student Keith Bettinger awarded Fulbright-Hayes/Mellon dissertation research Fellowship.

Geography PhD student Keith Bettinger was awarded the Fulbright-Hayes /Andrew W. Mellon Fellowship ($21,000) for his dissertation research work in Indonesia. His project is an examination of the effects of ongoing decentralization reforms on the national parks of Indonesia. Earlier this year the Department of Education's funding for Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad (DDRA) was eliminated, and no Fulbright-Hayes Fellowships were awarded for 2011. Fortunately, the Mellon Foundation offered to provide funding to select students who would have otherwise awarded funding by DoE. Keith is one of the selected students. Congratulations Keith!

BA student Hannah Cooper awarded the Hubert and Mable Frings Endowed Scholarship and wins best Oral and Poster presentations for her Honors Thesis

Geography Department BA student Hannah Cooper is one of two students to have been awarded the Hubert and Mable Frings Endowed Scholarship. This scholarship is offered to undergraduate Honors Program students at UHM to encourage interaction/mentorship between faculty and students. The scholarship was awarded based on Hannah research experience with her advisor, Dr. Qi Chen, for her undergraduate Honors Thesis Project titled "Vulnerability Assessment due to Sea-Level Rise in Maui, Hawai‘i using LiDAR Remote Sensing and GIS." Additionally, Hannah was awarded the best overall oral presentation and best poster in the natural sciences for her Honors Thesis project on April 23rd at the Spring 2011 Symposium of Undergraduate Research and Creative Work at the East-West Center. Hannah will be continuing her studies in the fall when she begins graduate school in geography at UH. Congratulations Hannah!

PhD student Wendy Miles awarded Fulbright, FLAS, and Ann Dunham Soetoro Scholarships.

Geography Department PhD student Wendy Miles recently won three research scholarships. She was awarded a Fulbright-IIE grant for field research in Indonesia, a Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship to further her study of Bahasa Indonesian, and the first Ann Dunham Soetoro Scholarship from the University of Hawai'i. The scholarship was created in honor of Barack Obama's mother who received her PhD from the University of Hawai'i and is awarded to a graduate student studying Indonesia. The award was announced at the opening session of the Association of Asian Studies conference in Honolulu by UH chancellor Virginia Hinshaw.