Devan Rostorfer is the Outstanding Hogan Entrepreneur of the Year


I’ve changed from being a curious young woman to maturing into an individual driven with a passion to make a difference in this world. Devan Rostorfer

Senior Devan Rostorfer, a Biology major, was awarded the “Outstanding Hogan Entrepreneur of the Year” award for 2013. Devan’s experiences in the Hogan program helped her define a passionate direction for her life.

The Hogan Entrepreneurs program is a certificate program in very practical business studies. Open to all majors and undergraduates as well as graduate students, (not just business majors), the program recognizes that any graduate has the potential to start something new. New ideas that contribute to society and the well-being of communities benefit everyone, but also can make for successful, thriving businesses. The Hogan motto is Doing business things that make social sense. Doing social things that make business sense.”

This spring, Devan will graduate with a  degree in Biology and will receive an entrepreneurial studies certificate from the Hogan Program. At Chaminade, she has worked in the lab of Dr. Helen Turner, Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, studying immunology, and also conducted pharmaceutical research with Dr. Joel Kawakami, Associate Professor of Chemistry. Devan has been involved in numerous service projects.

Devan says the Immersion Program in India with the Hogan Program was a life changing experience. In all, she was in India over two months, spending her first five weeks working with the poor and another two weeks experiencing the various cultural and historical sites. The two-week Hogan Program followed afterward and saw her delve into the business side of India and look into how the country was coming along economically.

Devan in India

Devan in India


“Traveling to India had a huge impact on my studies, direction, and perspective,” she noted. “I know now I want to do something in water sanitation, waste management, and food security, which are desperate areas of need for parts of India and other developing countries.”

Devan’s immediate plan after graduation is to attend graduate school at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. She has been accepted into a master’s program to study Environmental Planning and Policy, with a unique emphasis on resource management, industrial ecology, water sanitation and urban development.

Her dream is to create an environmentally-sound community development plan, which can be tailored and used in countries everywhere, starting with India. The essence of this plan would be to use local residents to clean up their own communities, which she feels would generate jobs, improve public health, and enhance social development and education.

Lofty goals for sure, but Rostorfer believes her Hogan Program studies have begun to prepare her for success. “I’ve changed from being a curious young woman to maturing into an individual driven with a passion to make a difference in this world,” she said. “The Hogan Program allowed me to blossom and grow, changing my life and making me a better person.”

Devan and classmates at Chaminade clubfest

8 Student-Entrepreneurs Receive Awards at Hogan Program Ceremonies


Left to right: MKruse, Devan Rostorfer, Dominique Bocanegra, Lianne McComie, Claudia Chan, Manceras, Cassin Muramoto, Sam Galloway

Thirty-three student-entrepreneurs graduated today from Chaminade University’s prestigious Hogan Entrepreneurs program. Eight outstanding students received awards in ceremonies held at the Mystical Rose Oratory.

The eight Chaminade student-entrepreneurs receiving 2013 Hogan Student Awards included: Outstanding Hogan Entrepreneur – Devan Rostorfer from Eaton Rapids, Michigan (majoring Biology); Outstanding Senior – Matilda Kruse from Leone, American Samoa (majoring International Trade); Outstanding Junior Co-Awardees Cassin Muramoto from Kailua-Kona, Hawaii (majoring Business Administration) and Samuel Galloway from Copley, Ohio (majoring Business Administration); Community Service -Dominique Bocanegra from San Francisco, California (majoring Criminal Justice); and three Aloha Awards given to Liana McComie from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (majoring Forensic Science), Kristeme Manceras from Honolulu (majoring International Trade) and Claudia Chan from Hong Kong (majoring Communication-Marketing).

Bill Spencer, president of Hawaii Venture Capital Association and co-founder and CEO of Hawaii Oceanic Technology, Inc, was also honored by the program with its Lifetime Entrepreneurial Achievement Award. This is only the third time that this prestigious award has been given out in 12 years. The event held in the Mystical Rose Oratory at Chaminade University was also  an opportunity to welcome 23 new Hogan inductees. Dr. Hank Wuh, CEO of Skai Ventures, was keynote speaker.

Chaminade University’s Hogan Entrepreneurs program is designed to equip students to hit the ground running when they leave Chaminade, with new skills, extensive connections, and the mind set to start new things wherever their careers may lead them. Open to all majors and undergraduates as well as graduate students, (not just business majors), the Hogan Entrepreneurs program recognizes that any graduate has the potential to start something new. New ideas that contribute to society and the well-being of communities benefit everyone, but also can make for successful, thriving businesses. The unique entrepreneurial program encourages students to use their entrepreneurial passion and academic achievements as a means to contribute to their communities and has been in existence for 12 years, thanks to the generous support of the Hogan Family Foundation. The entrepreneurial spirit cultivated in the program is captured in its motto of “Doing business things that make social sense. Doing social things that make business sense.”

Sophina Taitano Receives Academic Prize, Accepted to Doctoral Program in Immunology

Senior Sophina Taitano, a Forensic Sciences Major with minors in Chemistry and Biology, was recently awarded Chaminade’s highest academic honor, the President Sue Wesselkamper Prize. She was one of two recipients in 2013.

Sophina will graduate Magna Cum Laude this May. A native Chamoritta from Guam, Sophina has been accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Michigan and will study immunology.

In 2011 she was accepted into the Endocrine Society’s Minority Access Program. This gave her the opportunity to complete two summers of research at mainland universities. Sophina gives a short description of the her areas of research in this clip:

Sophina has worked with mentors on the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus researching cancer cell biology, and the University of California, San Diego researching hormones & the pituitary gland. Sophina has presented her work from both summers at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in 2011 and 2012.  She received the Presentation Award in the Cancer Biology category for an exemplary poster presentation at the 2011 conference.  She has also presented at the Endocrine Society’s meeting in 2012 and will present her latest research work there this June.

Sophina and other students in the life sciences receive assistance with research internships from professor Jolene Cogbill, Coordinator, Academic Enrichment and Outreach Programs in the Division of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.

After completing her Ph.D., Sophina plans to eventually return to Guam to enrich the science programs at the University of Guam to give the students greater opportunities for expanding their horizons.

Sophina is the daughter of Elizabeth Horne and Joseph Taitano and the youngest of six siblings.

The Sue Wesselkamper prize is made possible by the generous support of Henry and Charlotte Clark and is given annually to recognize and encourage student scholarship and build the tradition of the annual Na Liko Na’auao student scholarship day.

Jessica Vork Receives International Study Abroad Award

Student profile

Jessica Vork, a Senior majoring in Biology, spent a semester immersed in the culture and language of Denmark. She received the Platinum Award Certificate for Intercultural Leadership from the Danish Institute for Study Abroad.

I chose to take risks, knowing they may very well be out of my comfort zone, accepting that I would be known as “the American.” To this day, I have yet to regret any of my choices. –Jessica Vork

Jessica Vork writes:

Upon my arrival in Denmark, I chose to strongly channel Eleanor Roosevelt’s famous words “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do.” While I should apply this mantra to my life as a whole, I saw the DIS study abroad program as an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I will never get a chance to redo and I refuse to have moments where I will wonder “what if” or “I should have.”

Fortunately, my study abroad experience was quite the opposite of being filled with terrifying moments. However, I do believe I have confronted fear in the face in a different sense. I consider myself to have a fairly passive personality and can be considered one who avoids confrontation. While I do still believe I possess some of those characteristics, I believe being in Denmark has made me a stronger, more courageous and confident women. For that, I couldn’t be more grateful.

I chose to take risks, knowing they may very well be out of my comfort zone, accepting that I would be known as ‘the American.’ To this day, I have yet to regret any of my choices. Each experience, whether it be living with a host family, volunteering at various events, or attending seminars I normally wouldn’t, has molded me into a person I have always wanted to become. I feel fearless, confident in my own skin and more active in pursuing my dreams whether it is to find my way to the nearest Lagkagehuset, to do better on my exam, or to take in every bit of Danish culture that time allows. It would have been much easier to take part in activities I was already accustomed to and comfortable with, while simultaneously immersing myself in the Danish culture. For example, at my home institution of Chaminade University, I was the captain of my soccer team before I chose to study in Denmark. Instead of relying on activities I was already extremely familiar with, I chose to immerse myself in those completely out of my realm, such as the Creative Painting Workshop with Anna Birk. I found these types of decisions to be very important in initiating my own cultural immersion.

Find out about Study Abroad opportunities at Chaminade.

Chaminade Projects Stand Out In National Research


Five Student Biology Researchers Honored at ABRCMS Conference
The awards just kept coming for Chaminade University student researchers at a gala dinner held this fall in San Jose, California. All told, 5 Chaminade students (out of 14 Chaminade students attending) were honored with a prize for their research efforts at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS) national conference. The five accepted prizes in front of 1,600 undergraduate and graduate researchers from colleges across the nation.

Chaminade Students Mata’uitafa Faiai (Biology major), Mary DeVita (Biology major), Anthony Junker (Biology major), Alyssa Dixon (Biology major), and Katie Shewbart (Forensic Sciences major),were honored at the conference.

This gathering of over 1600 young STEM undergraduates, as well as prestigious graduate school and nationally-recognized researchers, sets the standard in recognition and resumé-building for those students who intend to enter PhD programs or medical school following their graduation.

Chaminade biosciences majors work with faculty mentors on projects at the university or with mentors at prestigious research institutions on the mainland, serving as interns in the summer.

“Research is such an integral part of our curriculum and enrichment experience for Chaminade majors in biology, biochemistry and forensics,” explained Helen Turner, Ph.D., Dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at Chaminade, “and to see their hard work recognized at the national level is fantastic.”

Their awards energize the program. Biology undergraduate Christina Linares said that now it’s time to get back to work: “I can’t wait to get back in the lab, get back on the microscope and start working towards next year’s conference.”

Fourteen Chaminade University student scientists attended the event, held in San Jose, Calif.

More about Biology and Biochemistry degrees at Chaminade

Endocrine Society Recognizes Biology Majors Alyssa Dixon, Maia Corpuz for Research


“Is this for real?”
was the first question in an email from Chaminade biology senior Maia Corpuz to her faculty mentor Dr. Jolene Cogbill.

Is this for real? – Maia Corpuz, Biology major and researcher

Corpuz received an email this week from The Endocrine Society, the nation’s premier scientific society for the study of endocrine disease (such as diabetes, reproduction, infertility, osteoporosis, thyroid disease, and obesity). She and Chaminade colleague, biology major Alyssa Dixon, were selected for the Society’s prestigious National Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.

Every year more than 20 Chaminade undergraduate science students (majoring in Biology, Biochemistry, and Forensic Sciences) participate in fully-funded summer research experiences at prestigious mainland institutions. Student researchers also perform research in Chaminade’s own program, which focuses on Pacific health disparities such as obesity, cardiovascular disease, pre-term birth and liver cancer. Our cutting-edge laboratory and research facilities and a sophisticated biomedical curriculum help to prepare students for future careers in the biosciences, forensic sciences, and medicine.

Alyssa Dixon, Maia Corpuz

Alyssa Dixon (left), Maia Corpuz (right) explain their research

Alyssa Dixon (left), Maia Corpuz (right) explain their research.

Awardees, topics, mentors, laboratories:

Alyssa spent last summer at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, and Maia travelled to University of California-San Diego Medical School.

Alyssa Dixon, Biology Major
Targeting Scr through drug combination therapy in Anaplastic and papillary thyroid cancer
Mentor/Project Lead: Rebecca Schweppe, Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Diabetes at University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

Maia Corpuz, Biology Major
The Effect of Hypothalamic SirT1 Over-expression on Feeding and Reproductive Genes
Mentor/Project Lead: Nicholas J. Webster, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research Facilities, professor of Medicine, and interim chief of Endocrinology at University of California-San Diego, Medical School

More about Biology and Biochemistry degrees at Chaminade