University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Courses Taught:
  • Botany 480 Algal Diversity and Evolution Laboratory (Spring 2015, 2016, 2017). “Principles of algal diversity, structure, and evolution. Identification of common Hawaiian algae.” Capstone course for senior Marine Biology and Marine Botany undergraduate students. Introduction to tropical marine plants for new graduate students.
  • Botany 682 Adaptations of Plants to Marine Environments Laboratory (Fall 2016). “Morphological, physiological, cellular, and molecular examples of adaptation to marine environments by marine macroalgae, phytoplankton, and seagrasses.” Entry level course for graduate students in marine botany and marine biology.
  • Botany 201 Plant Evolutionary Diversity Laboratory (Fall 2014, Fall 2015). “Significance of evolutionary trends in the plant world, including reproductive, morphological, and life history adaptations by algae, fungi, and vascular plants. Lab exercises in the morphology and systematics of land plants, fungi, and algae.” Sophomore level course for undergraduate students in botany and the natural sciences.
  • Botany 101 General Botany Laboratory (Summer 2015). “Lab observations and experiments illustrating basic principles of plant biology.” Introductory course that introduces the basics of botany to undergraduate students in non-science disciplines.

Other teaching:

  • Surfrider Spirit Surfer: As a volunteer mentor for the surfrider spirit sessions program under the direction of Waikīkī Beach boy Sam Rodrigues I mentor at risk youth from my community to learn not only how to surf, but how to use surfing and the surfing community as a tool to succeed in life. As many of our participants are referred by the youth criminal justice system through judges or parole officers, we give kids an example of a lifestyle that avoids negative influences, drugs, alcohol, and crime.
  • VXN workout: a dance fitness brand focused on improving the physical & mental wellness of women. Our classes recreate the live stage experience by incorporating trending choreography, musical remixes, and atmosphere lighting. As a result, participants are able to feel like performers. The class experience promotes mind-body connection, emotional release, and community in addition to physical fitness.
  • Buddhi Yoga, dance, meditation, and physical fitness (2014-present). Buddhi yoga has gotten me through graduate school by allowing me to take time to clear my mind and my body of the intensive stresses of academia. I founded a student club on campus where I taught students (and faculty and staff!) of all ages, fitness levels, and research levels. Sharing the tools of meditation and physical fitness that got me through the rigors of academia, and empowering other students to use these tools in their own lives is an irreplaceable experience. I am constantly learning through teaching and have made some of my most meaningful cross disciplinary academic friendships through this practice. Teaching through movement and the physical body benefits my academic teaching and communication skills.
  • Honolulu Academy of art Summer Program (2008). I assisted with the instruction of third to fifth grade students in a classroom and and individual setting. We studied illustration, painting, and art history.


“Stay afraid, but do it anyway. What’s important is the action. You don’t have to wait to be confident. Just do it and eventually the confidence will follow.” -Carrie Fisher on people with mental illness who may be afraid to pursue their dreams

There is nothing I love more than teaching and learning from students, who are constantly teaching me; to hope, to dream, and to never give up on the future. Through my childhood in Hawaiʻi, I experienced many heart breaks through the hardships of my friends and loved ones who did not have access to the same opportunities as myself. These hardships, due to systems of oppression and racism, lack of familial support, drug use or abuse, mental uniqueness or different-abled-ness, involvement in the criminal justice system, different learning abilities, or any combination of these and others, are held close to my heart. We have a long way to go towards finding equality, and diversity in our communities and within science, and I seek to lift up the voice and the individuality of any student I work with. Empowering disadvantaged youth and adults and underrepresented groups through education and keeping them out of systems like the criminal justice system or systems of addiction and/or abuse will always be an issue that is close to my heart and at the forefront of my career, no matter my title or position.
While my own knowledge may be passed on through published papers and manuscripts, teaching is the gift that keeps on giving. Students take what they learn, make it their own, perpetuate their own teaching into the future, and never cease to amaze me with their intellect, artistic abilities, and accomplishments. My mission in teaching is to share my love for the natural world, science, art, and investigation of the unknown. I encourage students to pursue collaboration within and across disciplines.