Helen Whippy, provost, Joel Kawakami, Chemistry professor & 2014 Outstanding Mentor, and Bro. Bernard Ploeger, SM, Chaminade president, seen with portrait with Sue Wesselkamper, former Chaminade president.

Helen Whippy, provost, Joel Kawakami, Chemistry professor & 2014 Outstanding Mentor, and Bro. Bernard Ploeger, SM, Chaminade president, seen with portrait with Sue Wesselkamper, former Chaminade president.

Chaminade University honored Chemistry professor, Joel Kawakami, with its 2014 Outstanding Mentor Award at Na Liko today.  Kawakami, who has a PhD in Organic Synthetic Chemistry, was nominated by students for the award.  In order for nominated faculty members to be considered, they must display:

• A history of undergraduate student project mentoring that surpasses normal expectations;

• An ongoing commitment to providing students with research and/or creative experiences that go above and beyond the classroom experience;

• The promotion of the value of active student involvement in research or the creative process;

• Support of faculty-student and/or faculty-student-community collaborations;

•A contribution to the professional development of students.

In nominating Kawakami, Kenneth Huang, a senior majoring in Biology, wrote:
“Dr. Kawakami is a professional of the highest caliber who has worked in the pharmaceutical industry prior to his professorship at Chaminade University. His real world experiences and insights have been invaluable to his students’ professional development. His sense of humor is uplifting at the most unexpected of circumstances. His down-to-earth attitude allows for easy discussions on complicated to simple topics on class material or current events. He has been my mentor on numerous occasions outside of research, such as providing advice on how ‘best to train’ for the Honolulu Marathon.” Huang added that he considered Professor Kawakami responsible for sparking his passion in cancer biology and cancer research.

Chaminade president, Bro. Bernard Ploeger, SM, said, “At this Na Liko Na’auao event, you will see amazing displays of student work, none of which would be possible without the support and guidance of faculty members who act as mentors to our students. We are privileged to be able to honor the commitment to excellence and the ability to inspire our students in our faculty that can be readily seen in Dr. Kawakami.”