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Welcoming Our Members to Fall 2023

Aloha UHPA Members:

Welcome back! I hope you all enjoyed a well-deserved summer break and are ready for the fall semester.

Our Hearts Go Out For Maui

I’m sure the Maui wildfires are top of mind for many of you. Over the past three weeks, we have seen the tremendous devastation to Lahaina and cannot help but feel a deep sense of loss. Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or have suddenly become houseless as a result of being displaced or because their homes have been burnt to the ground.

Crises like these stir a range of emotions. We have witnessed expressions of sorrow, despair, anger, and blame. It is no doubt a trying time for everyone. But crises can also bring out the best in people.

Supporting Our Maui ‘Ohana Affected By The Fires

When we learned about UH Maui College faculty who were impacted by the fire, the UHPA wanted to offer support. Without hesitation, the executive committee of the UHPA board of directors unanimously voted in favor of providing support for them. I’m pleased to let you know that UH, through the UH Foundation, partnered with UHPA to support the impacted faculty members.

Michael Young

It is this kind of lōkahi that is vitally needed now as those on Maui start their journey toward recovery. We were able to provide financial support for Michael Young, an instructor and apprentice program coordinator, who offers UH Maui College students a range of on-the-job training options to prepare them for meaningful careers, from architecture to culinary, from healthcare to construction trades. He received the 2021 Volunteer Award from Habitat for Humanity Maui for leading students in helping renovate substandard housing to address homelessness in Lahaina. We are glad we are able to support Young, who has invested so much into Maui and Valley Isle youth. 

Velma Panlasigui

We were also able to provide financial support for Velma Panlasigui, who attended Lahainaluna High School, UH Maui College, and UH-Mānoa, earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in speech. She was able to return to her home island and give back to the Maui community as the coordinator and student advisor for the UH-Mānoa outreach program, serving Maui students in distance degree programs.

Laureen Ampong Kodani

UHPA and the UH Foundation were also able to provide financial assistance to Laureen Ampong Kodani, assistant professor and educational, communications and technology developer for instructional design at UH Maui College. Kodani has been a part of the UH Maui College ‘ohana for more than a decade, starting as a lecturer before being named to her current position. Kodani received degrees in accounting as well as applied business and technology from UH Maui College before earning a master’s degree in education focusing on educational technology from UH-Mānoa. 

Happy To Have Helped

These faculty have contributed so much to Maui and the next generation of leaders. UHPA is glad to have a small role in helping them through this challenging time. While many of us have not had time to reflect on the tragic events and process all that has happened, we know that aloha shines through in the darkest moments. 

Join Us and Help All Faculty

As always, UHPA is committed to helping all of our faculty and empowering them so they can remain true to their calling for conducting research, instructing, supporting students, and serving the community. Please consider joining our ‘ohana and letting other faculty know about the UHPA. There is power in unity. Now is the time to embrace others and welcome them.


Christian L. Fern