Meet the Team

Marina Karides, DPhil
PI & Professor

Dr. Karides is leading a research team of undergraduate, graduate, and professional consultants to conduct the institutional assessment of UHCC. Marina's broader research and teaching interests include intersectionality in higher education and globalization/development in island societies, global social movements, and recently, indigenous methodologies.

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Maria Bautista, PhD
CoPI and Professor

Dr. Bautista is the STEM Program Director and a Professor of Physics at Kapi'olani Community College. She has over ten years of direct experience managing NSF grants totaling over $10 million as a Project Director or Principal Investigator including the five-year institutional strengthening grant from the NSF Tribal Colleges & Universities Program.


Joshua Kaakua, EdD, MBA
CoPI & Acad Affairs Prog Officer (Interim)

Dr. Joshua Kaakua has spent the past 15 years at the University of Hawaiʻi focusing on improving college access, student success, and participation of underrepresented populations in the STEM fields. He currently serves as the Interim Academic Affairs Program Officer with the University of Hawaiʻi System, Office of the Vice President for Community Colleges tasked with strategic initiatives and cross-campus academic planning.

Program Team

Karen has been with BRIDGE project since 2018. She has worked in an academic environment for more than 20 years, with the last 18 years in research administration. She will be responsible for overall program facilitation, project activities, administrative and fiscal activities and prepares management reports. Organizes steering committee and advisory council, and monitors activities and feedback from individual campuses pertaining to all grant related matters.

Penn Pantumsincha

Penn received her Master’s and Doctorate in Sociology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her dissertation was on internet mob justice and the nature of fake news/alternative truths. After graduating, Penn became a lecturer within the University of Hawaiʻi system. She worked at various campuses teaching Sociology to undergraduates and high school students in the Early College program. Penn is originally from Bangkok, Thailand, but has settled down in Honolulu with her husband and rescue dog, Smokey.

Suzette Robinson, MEd, Former PI

Suzette Robinson retired from University of Hawaii system on July 1, 2019.  She had 41 years of services and accomplished much during those time. Her last position as Interim Chancellor at Leeward Community College beginning July 1, 2018. Prior to her work as Interim Chancellor she was the Director of Academic Programs for the UH Community Colleges system office and worked in collaboration with the Vice Chancellors of Academic Affairs for the seven community colleges. 

Nathalie Rita,
Lead Researcher

Nathalie is a graduate student in sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her research interests include migration and mobility studies, race, class and gender, and globalization. She is currently a lease research assistant on the NSF BRIDGE project. She has presented at various conferences including American Sociological Association, Society for the Study of Social Problems, and the Hawaii Sociological Association.

Loke Aloua, 
Assistant Researcher

Loke received a BA degree in Anthropology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and MA degree in Archaeology from Simon Fraser University. Loke is a community organizer and researcher focusing on Native Hawaiian land and water rights relating to protection of traditional and customary practices. As a mahiʻai (farmer) and kiaʻi loko (fishpond guardian) Loke perpetuates cultural knowledge through place-based learning. Loke has presented research to professional audiences, as well as, local communities who are connected to the places they serve

Noreen Kohl,
Assitant Researcher

Noreen is a graduate student in sociology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, with a Journalism B.A. She is studying issues at the intersections of racism, health and wellbeing, and the criminal legal system. Noreen is interested in making academic work more accessible through data-driven writing and analysis of social issues. She is currently a research assistant on the NSF BRIDGE project. Noreen dissertation looks at the long-term impact of police encounters on young adult lives.

Research Team