BELL: Hawai'i Faculty
Kisa Jo Takesue, Director of Leadership Programs in Continuing Education has also served as a dean in the Office of Student Life and Director of The Campus Center and Student Activities Office at Brown University. Ms. Takesue has extensive experience developing and exploring leadership skills with teens and young adults and has been a long-time volunteer and board member for Youth in Action, a non-profit organization in Providence, RI that fosters partnerships between youth, adults, and community members to create positive social change. She has an A.B in American Civilization, specializing in Asian American Studies from Brown University and a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin. Ms. Takesue grew up in Hawai’i and Massachusetts and looks forward to spending an exciting week on the Big Island with engaged and curious learners.
Erica Perez is the Expeditionary Learning Coordinator for The Kohala Center. She has been involved in scientific education and research for seven years, has participated in fisheries studies in both Oregon and Hawai’i, and is a certified research diver. Erica currently facilitates all field-based school and college educational programs for The Kohala Center. Erica holds a bachelor’s degree in Marine Science and minor in Conservation Biology from University of Hawai’i Hilo.
Timo Sullivan was raised on a coffee farm in Hawaii by a fisherman father and pre-school teaching mother. After moving to NYC to receive a BA in liberal arts from Eugene Lang University, he pursued a career as an audio engineer and starving artist. Through the generous support of the Hau`oli Mau Loa Foundation Graduate Fellowship, he has returned home to earn a graduate degree in Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science from the University of Hawaii. His work is focused in wet forest restoration and invasive species management, specifically regarding community outreach programs and how we all can lend a hand in protecting our natural resources. This is Timo's second year with the BELL: Hawaii program.
Mahina Patterson is the Cultural Specialist for the BELL HI Program. Born and raised on Hawai’i Island, she has been immersed in both Hawai’i’s natural landscape and indigenous culture from a young age. She specializes in bridging environmental ecology and Hawaiian culture both in her work, as a field assistant with the Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance, as well as in her personal passions, as a five year hula student under Halau o Kekuhi. Mahina holds a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies and Geography as well as a minor in Agriculture from University of Hawai’i Hilo.
Lauren Watka graduated from Brown University with a Master's in Environmental Studies in 2012 and continues to explore the natural, and specifically marine, world at every opportunity. She received a B.S. in biology and has conducted research at Brown University, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Dartmouth College in subjects from micro- and molecular biology to ecology. In addition to research, Lauren has worked as a fisheries scientist on a few New Bedford commercial fishing boats and as an educator with the New England Aquarium in Boston. Now back at Brown, as a Program Manager, she enjoys the opportunity to learn alongside seasoned environmental education veterans and students new to the field. As a Providence resident, Lauren supports local food and fishery initiatives, bikes as a means of transportation, and serves with her church in the city.