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.

Brian Walsh Receives Academic Prize, Recognition for Research in Criminal Justice

Junior Brian Walsh, a Criminal Justice and Criminology Major, was recently awarded Chaminade’s highest academic honor, the President Sue Wesselkamper Prize, one of two recipients in 2013.

Last summer, Brian participated in a ten-week internship with mentors at Harvard University. His research involved reviewing the effectiveness of educational programs in state prisons. The project was presented at the Leadership Alliance National Symposium in Hartford, Connecticut and was well received by fellow scholars.

This spring he will present the results of his research in a poster displayed in Washington, D.C. at the Council on Undergraduate Research’s “Posters on the Hill” event. Presenters are selected in a nationwide competition.

Brian presented his research at the Na Liko student scholarship showcase at Chaminade recently. This short clip from his presentation gives an idea of his study:

This semester, Brian has been active as a teaching assistant for Professor Christopher McNally (International Studies) and as an intern at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Advocacy Division. He is involved in the Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society where he holds the position of treasurer. During days off from school, Brian enjoys volunteering in the outreach ministry at his local church parish, Our Lady of Good Counsel in Pearl City, Hawaii.

This summer, he will again take part in the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, this time at Yale University.
His mentor at Chaminade, Professor Janet Davidson (Criminal Justice and Criminology), was instrumental in assisting Brian to apply to the Summer Research Early Identification Program which led to his acceptance to summer internships at Harvard and Yale. Brian recommends fellow students ask their faculty about internship ideas. “Go talk to them! They are connected,” says Brian.

Brian is the son of John and Theresa Walsh and the oldest of three 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.