Joseph Bariyanga

Office Location: E216 | Phone: 808.689.2359

Science Department  | pdf icon Bariyanga CV

Dr. Joseph Bariyanga was born in Rwanda and attended the National University of Rwanda where he graduated with a Bachelor degree in biology, chemistry and agriculture. He obtained a Masters degree in Biology and Chemistry from the same institution. He taught one year as Junior Lecturer of chemistry at his alma mater before heading to Canada where he successively earned a Masters degree in chemistry from the University of Quebec at Montreal and a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Montreal, Canada. Back home, he worked as Senior Lecturer at National University of Rwanda for seven years and had to flee his country during the 1994-Rwandan genocide. After two years of exile in Congo and...Read more...

Zambia, under extreme hardship, he moved to South Africa in 1996 where he completed one-year postdoctoral fellowship at Wits University. He then went to the University of the North –Qwaqwa Campus (a historical black institution in South Africa) where he acted as Vice-Dean for the Faculty of Natural and Applied Sciences and Associate Professor of chemistry.  In 2001, he accepted a visiting professorship at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and also acted as Associate Director of American Chemistry Society- Exam Institute. In 2004 he joined Lane College (a historically black college in Tennessee) where he was Chair of the Division of Natural and Physical Sciences. His legacy at Lane College was the implementation of an undergraduate research program in chemistry for underprivileged students.


Dr. Joseph Bariyanga was appointed as an assistant professor of chemistry at the University of Hawaii-West O’ahu in August 2007. Since joining UH-West O’ahu, he has been teaching chemistry and physics for non science majors, and chemistry for science majors. In addition to his research on anticancer drugs and antioxidants, Dr. Joseph Bariyanga is a dedicated runner and regularly participates in races in USA, Japan and Africa to promote healthy living style.


Carole Brown

Office Location: E128B | Phone: 808.689.2368

Science Department

Hello everyone! I am Carole Brown, originally from Lebanon, where I gained my undergraduate degree in Biology at the American University of Beirut. I later moved to Tallahassee, FL to pursue my PhD in Neuroscience at Florida State University. I started developing my teaching style during graduate school, where I taught Anatomy and Physiology labs, and assisted in teaching various Biology and Pre-Health courses. My doctoral research focused on studying the neurodegenerative diseases of the eye that cause irreversible blindness. Through using fluorescently-labeled cells in the zebrafish retina and imaging techniques such as the confocal microscope, I studied how dying neurons affect ...Read more...

their surrounding, and explored ways to restore the integrity of the neuronal network in an attempt to restore vision.

Currently at UHWO, I teach Anatomy and Physiology and hope to introduce several courses that can cater to the young scientists interested in pursuing pre-health professions.


Michael Furuto

Office Location: D224 | Phone: 808.689.2358

Math Department

I was raised on the North Shore of O‘ahu, and completed my Ph.D. at Oregon State University, Master’s degree at the University of California Riverside, and Bachelor’s degree at Brigham Young University Hawaii.

My research interests include examining various mathematical pedagogical strategies to foster student learning, enhancing students’ mathematics self-efficacy, and performing quantitative Read more...

and statistical analysis on sports. I have been invited to present my research at conferences from Hawai‘i to Boston to Seattle to Athens, Greece. My teaching motto is: “Students don’t care how much teachers know, until they know how much teachers care.” As an educator, I am very passionate about my students, their learning, and how to work together to achieve our overarching goals. Someone once said, “Give a man a fish; you have fed him for today. Teach a man to fish; and you have fed him for a lifetime.” When I first heard this quote, I was fresh out of high school trying my best to not fail my undergraduate math class. However, thanks to fantastic professors, I was able to learn so many things. To those professors I will always be grateful. Now, as a learner and teacher myself, one of my goals is to teach students to fish, and in doing so, to perpetuate knowledge and inspire learning so students can maximize their abilities. I would like to spend my career instilling the same sense of excitement and discovery to my students at UHWO. My research interests and teaching philosophy are intricately intertwined. I am always happy to perform research opportunities with UHWO students.

In addition to my academic endeavors, my hobbies include spending time with my wife and children at the beach, participating in fantasy football and basketball, and playing in basketball leagues and Turkey Bowl football games.


Olivia George

Office Location: E128A | Phone: 808.689.2352

Science Department


Yá' át' ééh, Aloha, Hello, I am Dr. Olivia George. Originally, I am from Beclabito, NM, a small community on the Navajo reservation. I am a first generation college student where I received my PhD in Molecular Biology from New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM. A majority of my background in science has been in biomedical research. As a graduate student, I studied the effects of Bisphenol-A on embryonic and somatic cells using both sea urchins and human tissue cell cultures. I then moved to Memphis, TN for a post doctoral position at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for two and half years studying epigenetics of DNA sequences using yeast. I thought my career would always be at the bench but as I started to mentor undergraduates and graduate students, I started to explore my future as a... Read more...

teacher. I then joined the Academic Science Education and Research Training program or (ASERT) at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. This program incorporated both teaching and research as components for a post doctoral fellowship. My research in this program involved some stem cell work studying a transcription factor, c-Myb, which regulates the expression of lineage-specific genes in differentiating blood stem cells. For the teaching component, I co- taught introductory biology at Southwest Indian Polytechnic Institute (SIPI) , a national tribal college located in Albuquerque. My philosophy is to engage students and get them excited about what is going on in the scientific community. I am also hoping that I can bring some undergraduate research opportunities and I would also like to mentor students interested in biology, biomedical research, and medicine. I am the first in my family to achieve a higher degree, and I understand the importance of how teaching and mentoring can affect a student's success but I also know that biology may not be for everyone but I still would like to share my enthusiasm for it with students of all ages here at West O'ahu.


Laurie James

Office Location: E117 | Phone: 808.689.2364

Education Department

I was raised in the northern Idaho where I had a fantastic childhood growing up in the country. I rode thoroughbred horses and played many sports. I was fortunate enough to earn a full ride basketball scholarship to attend college. After graduating from Eastern Washington University, I moved to the Seattle, Washington area and taught elementary school for 25 years. I earned my Doctor of Education degree from Seattle Argosy University in 2006 and began teaching mathematics and assessment courses in the Teacher Education Program for Western Washington University. In August 2016, I moved to O’ahu and joined the Division of Education teaching the Math Methods courses at UHWO. Read more...

My research interests are creating ways that mathematics can be fun and engaging for all learners. I enjoy learning and understanding how others process mathematics. If you want to have fun talking about math, please come by my office in E-117 to visit with me.

Richard Jones

Richard Jones

Office Location: E215 | Phone: 808.689.2340

Education Department

First off, I’m Rick (or Dr. Jones or Dr. J). I began my education career as a Geology Lab Instructor at the University of Wyoming as an undergraduate student back in 1983. After earning my BS in Geology, I eventually found myself in the Sudan in the mid 80’s as part of a NGO working to develop safe and stable drinking water in several refugee camps. By default, I became the health and sanitation instructor, understanding for the first time how a little education can have life changing impacts on someone…myself included. This experience changed my course and I went back to school and picked up an education degree, a BS in Secondary Science Education, as well as a Masters in Natural Science.     Read more...

While engaged in my masters, I worked for the State of Wyoming as an Assistant Water Commissioner, measuring water quality and quantity on the Laramie drainage and in the "off season" I managed a science-teaching lab and was responsible for science outreach to local elementary schools as well as developing science challenge centers and science trunks for elementary schools around the state of Wyoming. I got my very own classroom for the first time in 1990 when I was hired as a middle school teacher in Lihue, Hawaii where I taught Health, and four levels of Earth Science. Sadly I had to leave Kauai after my first year when my Mother-in-law became very ill and my wife needed to be closer to provide care. So in 1991 I moved to Billings Montana where I taught At Riverside Middle School, teaching life science and physical science. After moving to Senior High School in 1993, I gained experience teaching Earth Science, Honors Earth Science, Biology, Honors Biology, Physics I, Honors Physics I and Physics II. In 2005 and 2006 I was honored to serve as the science department at Crossroads, the alternative high school in Billings, which sadly closed due to district budget problems. My most recent public school teaching was at the Senior Freshman Academy where I taught Honors Earth Science and Earth Science. In addition to my regular teaching job, I also taught university courses in Earth Science, Environmental Education, and Integrating Technology into Math and Science, both undergraduate and graduate level elementary science methods, and I have spent the last 17 years working with the internationally known Maury Project, acting as the Montana Peer Coach for this Standards Based Oceanography program and for the last 12 years facilitating three online courses DataSterme Oceans, DataStreme Atmosphere, and DataStreme Climate. These experiences lead me to continue my own education and in 2009 I graduated from a Doctoral Fellowship funded by NSF in the CLT-West (MSU-Bozeman) program.

In my 25 years of teaching I have been very fortunate to work with fantastic peers and students, which has made the job a joy and allowed me to do some pretty wonderful things like sit on Boards of Director (HaSTA, NSTA, MSTA, NESTA, MLC, APAST) journey to Antarctica and the South Pole as a NSF-TEA, where I researched trends in global warming, actively participating in El Nino Research in the South Pacific in 1998 and 2010 as a NOAA Teacher at Sea, received his National Board Certification in Adolescence and Young Adulthood Science, was the “Science Guy” for the local CBS affiliate for five years, and was an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow with the United States Department of Energy in Washington, D.C. where I was one of the lead developers of the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car Challenge portion of the National Science Bowl. I have been lucky enough to be honored with several prestigious awards for teaching excellence. Including the 1996 National Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Science for Montana, in 1997 a Tandy Technology Scholar, and in 2002 as a Shell Teaching Award semi-finalist.

In addition to all of these professional, educational, and associated endeavors, I have a vintage Volkswagen convertible that I drive everyday to the beautiful new University of Hawaii West Oahu campus where I teach Science Methods courses as well as Geology and Meteorology. I also sponsor a community education course in Applied Geometry once a month on Saturday at UHWO, were I can follow my artistic dreams as a quilter and when I get the chance I dabble in kitchen chemistry (I like to cook) and investigate ways to brew the ultimate chocolate honey nut-brown ale and Pineapple Honey summer ale. Occasionally I even have the time to do a few “Honey Do’s” for my very understanding and long suffering wife MaryAnn, and go and scuba diving with my 20 year old son Casey when he is home from University of Hawaii Hilo where he is majoring in Astronomy and Physics.

Veny Liu

Office Location: D131 | Phone: 808.689.2383

Math Department

I am a third-generation Chinese-Indonesian born Jakarta resident and a first generation college graduate. I spent my high school years in Indonesia and Taiwan; after graduation, I moved back to Indonesia and worked as a Chinese-Mandarin teacher, but I realized that I wasn’t finished with my education. I headed on to Alabama to go to Jefferson State Community College and then transferred to the University of Montevallo for a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics. It was there that my professors encouraged me to attend graduate school. Before finding my academic home here at UHWO, I went to The University of Alabama (Roll Tide!) for my Master and Ph.D. in Mathematics. Read more...

I’m so excited to be working at UHWO! I love the small classes, students-professors relationships, and all the wonderful people I have met. I love teaching all levels of mathematics, and I particularly enjoy doing so as a member of such a dedicated and supportive environment.

For me, Mathematics is a language. I love the culture and the beauty of it. My main interest is Algebra, where I focus on Inverse Semigroups and Inverse Semigroupoids. I am also passionate about Mathematics Education. Outside of academic life, I enjoy exploring the outdoors, watching TV shows and movies, cooking and eating food, and travelling. Since I moved to Hawai’i, I picked up new hobbies: gardening and paddle boarding, and I hope to enjoy other exciting experiences.

When I started my college career, I was placed in College Algebra and planned to only get my associate degree, but who knew that knowledge could be so addictive! So don’t limit yourself and go for it! I look forward to meeting you and working with you toward academic success.


Esther R. Widiasih

Office Location: E217 | Phone 808.689.2388

Math Department

I was born and raised in Central Java, Indonesia, in a city of 3 million people before moving to Middlebury, Vermont, a town of 2000 people, for high school. From there, I went to Minnesota for undergraduate at Saint Cloud State University and the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for my master and phd, then to Tucson Arizona for a postdoctoral position, before I accepted my current appointment at UHWO. Being born and raised in Java, I feel right at home in Hawai'i as our culture of respect, humility and gratitude is very similar. And I am certainly grateful to be a faculty member of UHWO. Read more...

My research in math can be described as the applications of dynamical systems to problems in real world. Dynamical systems is a subfield of math, and it is a fascinating study about how a system evolves throughout time. The study especially pays attention to the effects of parameter changes. You probably have heard some of the things we study like periodic orbitschaos, or, the butterfly effects. Some of the topics I am currently studying through the lens of dynamical systems include El Nino and Southern Oscillations (ENSO), glacial cycles, snowball earth, and bee population. Indeed, Dynamical systems is a very useful tool to study systems in the real world with applications anywhere from fish population to the Target stores stock policy.

When I am not at school teaching and service or at home doing research, you can probably find me on the waters paddling. I am usually steering the Lokahi Canoe Club's competitive women's crew. Being a steersman has taught me so much humility and respect for other paddlers, for the canoe culture, and most importantly, for the awesome power of the ocean.

My office, E-217, is always open to all you curious minds. Please come and talk story. Aloha!


Kamuela Yong

Office Location: D131 | Phone 808.689.2498

Math Department

I was born and raised in Waimānalo. I am the first Native Hawaiian to receive a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics. I received a Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics and a Masters in Mathematics from the University of Iowa and a Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering and a Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics at Loyola Marymount University. Prior to joining UHWO, I was a postdoc at Arizona State University.

My research interests are related to mathematical modeling of ecological and epidemiological systems using partial differential equations and numerical analysis.