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Graduate Research Assistants

Pua is from Honomakaʻu, Kohala and is currently pursuing a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. She is a graduate of Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge, where she received her Bachelor's degree in Hawaiian Studies. Pua also holds a Master's degree in Social Work from Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work. Her research focuses on centering conceptualizations of ʻŌiwi relationality and positionality within the context of ʻŌiwi agency as a means to assert instructional philosophies that promote practices of aloha ʻāina and relational well-being.
Mahina is from Koʻolaupoko, Oʻahu and is currently pursuing a PhD in Indigenous Politics at UH Mānoa. She is a graduate of the William S. Richardson School of Law, with certificates in Environmental and Native Hawaiian Law. She has worked at several non-profit, state, and federal agencies and currently serves on the State Environmental Council. In addition to her work in the research lab, Mahina is a Post-Juris Doctor Research & Teaching Fellow at Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law, where she coordinates legal trainings for state and county decision-makers, facilitates water law workshops for ʻŌiwi communities, and assists with various scholarship projects aimed at evolving the law and advancing justice for Kānaka Maoli and other Indigenous Peoples.
Born and raised in Windward Oʻahu, Kawena is a third-year PhD student in the Department of Geography and Environment. In her studies, Kawena focuses on indigenous economic development issues in Hawaiʻi. This interest stems from an overall goal of engaging with economic activity from a Kanaka ʻŌiwi perspective to build capacity and install generational sustainability. She received a BA in Indigenous Resource Management, and an MA in Hawaiian Studies from UH Mānoa.