The Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) Department (formerly Educational Technology, ETEC) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa annually honors outstanding alumni with the LTEC Distinguished Alumni Award. This award recognizes remarkable LTEC alumni who contribute to their field through professional excellence, inspirational leadership, or innovative service benefiting their communities.

To nominate someone or yourself for this award, please sign up to be included in our LTEC Ohana contact list. An email will be sent out with the online nomination form, usually in early Fall. The winner(s) are typically honored during the LTEC Connections Fall event of that year.

This is an opportunity to recognize individuals that are graduates of any LTEC/ETEC graduate program. In selecting awardees, every effort will be made to appropriately recognize the various categories of alumni – K12 private; K12 public, higher ed, public sector, & private industry; MEd & PhD graduates. However, the basic criteria for the awards will be the prime consideration.

If you have any questions, please contact one of the LTEC Distinguished Alumni Award Chairs:

  • Dr. Ariana Eichelberger (
  • Leanne Riseley (
  • Helen Torigoe (

LTEC Distinguished Alumni Award Winners

Ariana Eichelberger is an Associate Specialist and Instructional Designer in the College of Education. Ari manages the Instructional Support Group of the College and coordinates the College’s faculty professional development program. As a faculty member of the Department of Learning Design and Technology, Ari teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in instructional design and technology integration. She is also an instructional designer with the COE’s Distance Course Design and Consulting group (DCDC).

Truc (pronounced like “truck”) conducts research in leveraging learning technologies for maximum influence and the World Wide Web’s impact on teaching and learning. She has two primary areas of research specialty: online learning communities for teachers and Internet safety issues for schools and families. She grounds her work in organizational change theory, inquiry science, communities of practice, TPACK, and most recently improvement science. She is fascinated by Clark and Kozma’s debates on the “media effects” in learning.

Renee Adams taught social studies in Hawaii public schools for 40 years+, both online and F2F. She recently served as a digital coach supporting Kalama intermediate transition to 1:1 iPads and is currently teaching digital media. A late-comer to graduate education, Renee was awarded the Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Award in 2011. She is currently a doctoral student in the LTEC program.

Dr. Tod Aeby, M.D. is the Associate Chair for Medical Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa John A. Burns School of Medicine. He is a member of the  Committee for Industrial Exhibit for the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

Leslie Arakaki has worked at St. Andrew’s Schools for the past 12 years as their Technology Coordinator. She advocated for robotics and engineering in grades K-12. As one of the STEAM coordinators for the school, she inspired students and educators to dream big and experience learning in context (project-based learning). She will soon begin another chapter in her life as the STEM teacher at Island Pacific Academy.

Stephanie Barry is the instructional designer for Google’s Security & Privacy Education team. She has just celebrated her 1-year “Googleversary”. According to Stephanie, “Yes, there really is free food, dogs, and heated toilet seats! Our team trains 70,000 people each year. I use my LTEC skills daily to improve in-person and online classes.”

Daniel Boulos is Associate Professor and Chair of the Academy for Creative Media at UH Mānoa. A professional animator for 25 years, Dan has taught animation for 20+ years. He is completing a digital textbook on animation techniques and will present at the CILECT Congress in Zurich, Switzerland this October.

Luisa F. Castro, Ph.D. is the Agriculture Farm Food Safety Program Manager for the Hawaii Department of Agriculture where she utilizes her expertise in program & organization management, learning design & technology, and food preservation & food safety training to provide outreach and education to agricultural professionals. She was recently certified as a Produce Safety Alliance Lead Trainer in the state to teach PSA Grower Training to agricultural professionals nationwide.

Kelvin Chun is a Math/technology elementary/secondary/district teacher, librarian, educational specialist, magician, and balloon/kite engineer. Kelvin was recognized by Honolulu District Teacher of the Year, Disney American Teacher Award, All-USA Today Teacher-Team, George Lucas Foundation, EdTech Leaders of the Year, Japan Fulbright Memorial, Moanalua High Kina’ole Award. He volunteers as Board of Director for HawaiiUSA FCU.

Leanne Chun Riseley is a Professor CC at Leeward CC where she serves as the Educational Media Center Coordinator. She has a bachelors of Engineering from the University of Colorado, Boulder and a masters in ETEC from UH, Manoa. She has taught both face-to-face and online. She has been working as an educational technologist for nearly 20 years. She has spearheaded initiatives such as Problem-Based Learning (PBL) and Open Educational Resources (OER) to enhance teaching and learning.

Sasily U’ilani Corr-Yorkman is a mother of three beautiful keiki and wife of Joshua Yorkman. She is a graduate of Kamehameha Schools. U’ilani taught for the Hawai’i Department of Education for 6 years prior to opening Haloalaunuiakea Early Learning Center. The center, in its 5th year of operations, prepares keiki for kindergarten so they may have a positive academic, social, and emotional start to their educational career.

David Cypriano is a Research Analyst at the Center for Alternative Dispute Resolution (CADR) for the Hawaii State Judiciary. He was honored with the Buddy Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Award in 2015 and is currently pursuing a doctoral degree in the LTEC PhD program at UHM.

Christian Ganne is a Professor of Digital Media at the University of Hawaii Leeward Community College (LCC). He designed the Associate of Science degree in Digital Media program, which was permanently approved by the Board of Regents in 2005. Between 2005 and 2012, he wrote three PCATT grants bringing more than $200,000 to the program. Christian was promoted to Professor in 2013 and was the Division Chair of the Professional Arts and Technology Division until 2015.

Ryan Garcia is a Sysadmin who manages computer systems at the Maui High-Performance Computing Center, a Department of Defense (DoD) Supercomputing Resource Center. He was involved in the configuration and implementation of the Center’s first hyper-converged infrastructure. Ryan previously worked as an IT Coordinator and computer technology lecturer at UH Maui College.

Dr. Edward Gose is an instructional designer for the Distance Course Design and Consulting group (DCDC) in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  He assists both UH faculty and staff as well as external entities with program and course redesign for online environments.  His research interests involve the gamification of education.

Dr. Kelli Goya is an Assistant Professor & Title III Project Director at the University of Hawai‘I Kapi‘olani Community College (KCC). She has served in various positions at KCC in the areas of distance learning, strategic planning, and grant management. She oversees a multi-million dollar U.S. D.O.E. Title III Native Hawaiian-serving institution grant to improve student success through learning center innovations, ‘āina-based education and community-based research.

Dr. Lisa Hasler-Waters is teaching at George Mason University, College of Education & Human Development Masters in Blended & Online Learning. She continues publishing on the same subjects and was recently a guest editor for JOLR. She also teaches digital literacy, coding, and technology integration for Flint Hill School, Northern Virginia.

A native of Guam, Mary Therese Perez Hattori holds a BEd, PD, MEd, and EdD. She serves as Outreach Director for the Center for Pacific Islands Studies at UHM and is affiliated with the Doctorate in Professional
Education Practice, the Indigenous Politics Program, and the Learning Design & Technology Program.

Dr. Mark Hines is the Chair of Mid-Pacific Exploratory and Academic Technology at Mid-Pacific Institute. Mark is a PBL STEM teacher and former Tech Coordinator. He frequently plans conferences, runs professional development across the state, and presents nationally on Teaching, Learning, and Technology. He was awarded the “Teacher of the Future” award from HAIS in 2016.

Brent Hirata is an Educational Technologist at Leeward Community College. Brent regularly presents at the annual Leeward CC Tech-It Out Day, Pacific Region Learning Summit and Geek Day events to share insights into the latest educational technology hardware and software for campus or online instruction.

Dr. Dorothy Hirata (maiden name So) graduated from the UH Mānoa College of Education programs (ETEC MEd in 2002, Curriculum & Instruction PhD in 2014). She currently works at Kamehameha Schools providing strategic support for online and blending learning initiatives in a K-12 environment. Dorothy is the Educational Technology Services, eLearn Manager.

Clinton Iwami is a 2003 LTEC graduate and former staff. He is currently a Sr. Instructional Designer at Kamehameha Schools who most recently led a cross-functional team to successfully design, develop, implement and evaluate an online Hawaiian language course for 300 KS Preschool staff

Dr. Susan Jaworowski is a proud member of the first ETEC doctoral program cohort. She is the Paralegal program director at Kapi‘olani Community College, where she was recently promoted to the rank of professor. She credits the ETEC program for her success and for inspiring her 500+ YouTube educational videos.

Greg Kent is the Technology Coordinator at Kailua Elementary School and an Ultimaker Education Pioneer. He has been an educator for 17 years. He is passionate about growing the “maker mindset” and Design Thinking by focusing on effective technology management and on a meaningful integration of technology into school curriculum with support from faculty, staff, and community. He recently presented at the first
Construct3D conference hosted by Duke University and Ultimaker.

Wendy Laros was the Director of Education at Jack’s Diving Locker in Kona where she has worked for 25 years. She co-founded the Manta Pacific Research Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to research, education, and conservation concerning manta rays and the marine environment. Wendy was recently named the Kona-Kohala Chamber of Commerce’s new executive director.

Dr. Victoria L. Lowell is an Assistant Professor in Learning Design and Technology at Purdue University, Indiana. She has worked in the field of education for twenty years teaching, researching, advising students and serving in various higher education administration roles. She is currently the President-elect for the Division of Distance Learning of the Association for Educational Communications & Technology. Victoria is widely published in the ID field and she is co-editor of the book: Leading and Managing e-Learning: What the e-Learning Leader Needs to Know (2017).

Dr. Kimble McCann is originally a Georgia boy, who drove cross-country to join bands and become a special education teacher in LA. After receiving his masters, he packed his dogs and music gear and headed to Hawaiʻi to join the LTEC doctoral program. His recent projects accomplishments include implementing a tri-campus, cloud-based library system and the development of a research project on digital signatures for Kamehameha Schools.

Dr. Rebecca Meeder has worked at various companies and organizations in Washington State including Nintendo, Seattle University, and the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Northwest University’s College of Education and manages the scheduling and design of its online courses.

Billy Meinke is an instructional designer and open education advocate, currently serving as the OER Technologist for the University of Hawaii-Manoa Outreach College. He formerly worked at Creative Commons, supporting stakeholders in the world’s largest OER project. Billy now manages UHM’s implementation of OER technology and supports faculty adopting OER textbooks for their courses.

The 2016 Burniske Outstanding Master’s project award winner, Koran Munafo, is currently a lecturer at Hawaii Community College teaching her award-winning  Learning design. In her free time, Koran has been busy building a professional brand, designing for the American Red Cross, and working on another degree in healthcare administration.

Patrick Nakamura began working in eGovernment in 2010. Since then, he helped create 50+ web applications. He was a co-designer on the team that reimagined Hawaii’s official website, taking it from obscurity to national recognition in 2013. Patrick is most proud of mentoring his creative team and nurturing their professional growth.

Shellie Note-Gressard works as a school administrator at Parker School, with a focusing on technology (curricular and educational) and athletics. She established a 1:1 program (now 1-12), and her proposal for a technology curriculum strand and design lab was funded and realized. She coaches cross-country and is five years into her competitive high school powerlifting team because she can, and it’s fun. Shellie invites everyone to visit her little school on the Big Island.

Dr. Michael-Brian (MB) Ogawa is an Associate Faculty Specialist in the Department of Information and Computer Sciences where he develops programs, teaches, and conducts research. In 2016, he co-authored an instructional textbook for McGraw-Hill, Outlook 2016: In Practice. His current research interests include information ethics and approaches to continuous authentication.

Craig Okumura is a learning systems manager for the University of Southern California. He oversees its learning management system, which delivers 6,000+ training titles to faculty, staff and students. Prior to USC, he worked for ten years at the University of Hawaii. He, his wife and two sons live in Honolulu.

Dr. Hana Omar is an engagement and fundraising consultant at Bureau of External Relations and Advocacy at United Nations Development Program HQ in New York. Prior to that, she was a diplomat and served in the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and participated in different development projects. She is a reviewer for different  international journals and an international public relation advisor for Global Deaf Muslim Organization in Virginia.

Dr. Tracie Ortiz is an Instructional Designer at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. Having an interest in accessibility and online learning, she was invited to present at the AHEAD conference in Virginia, as well as other platforms, to share the concept of accessible course design in online learning environments.

Michael H. Pecsok recently retired from the position of Vice Chancellor for Academic  affairs at Leeward Community College.

Jim Petersen is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley in Anthropology
and Biochemistry. After having been a Police Crime Scene Investigator, he began his studies at UH Manoa in Secondary Education and subsequently, Educational Administration. Jim recently retired as a School Administrator from the HIDOE. He is now an aspiring author of Mystery novels and an avid SCUBA diver.

Dr. Polly Quigley is currently an Educational Specialist in the Hawaii Department of Education’s Community Engagement Office. She served as Technology Coordinator at Kalaheo High School for 12 years and as an online instructor at Waipahu Community School for Adults for 7 years. Polly recently presented at the 2017 Educational Leadership Institute on the value of the School Community voice in decision-making in
Hawaii’s public schools.

Meilene Roco, an associate professor with the Defense Language Institute, loves people, languages, culture, and lifelong learning. In 2012, she was honored with the Burniske Outstanding Master’s Project Award. Meilene’s most recent  accomplishments center around advocating sensible and effective use of technology in teaching Chinese and imparting systematic strategies that help both teachers and students keep learning ongoing via technology.

Dr. Catherine M. Roma has been a consultant in the field of Performance Technology for over 30 years and has worked for numerous clients throughout North America on a variety of projects. She has been a visionary in the use of technology for training delivery and change initiatives, and has created enterprise-wide technology solutions that have had significant impact on the organization’s bottom line. Catherine has been a keynote speaker at a variety of national and international conferences.

Dr. Meagan Rothschild is the Director of Design Research at Age of Learning, Inc. ( in Glendale, California. Prior to that, Meagan served as Associate Researcher (Assessment & Design Specialist) with WIDA Consortium in Madison, Wisconsin. Meagan’s role at WIDA was to promote the design of tools for teaching and learning that facilitate meaningful participation for users.

Dr. Andrea Shea teaches in the Computer Science department at Sierra College in northern California. Previously, Andrea worked as an instructional designer and technology consultant at CSU, Sacramento. She holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science, master’s degrees in computer science and educational technology, and a doctorate in learning technology.

Chris Stark works as the IT Team Leader and Senior Linux Systems administrator for Gemini Observatory in Hilo. Outside of working at Gemini, he released his second album of instrumental guitar music “Juxtaposition” in July, and he is active in Hawaii Island grassroots advocacy for STEM education and astronomy.

Kimberly Suwa is the current Director of the Radiologic Technology Program at Kapiolani Community College and is dedicated to developing and advancing the only x-ray tech training program in Hawaii. She received her Master’s degree in LTEC in 2015 and is currently a Ph.D. student in the LTEC Department.

Dr. Hery Yanto The teaches in Zhejiang Yuexiu University of Foreign Languages. For his excellent in designing training module and teaching Indonesian Language to Chinese students, he was awarded the outstanding international teacher in 2015 and 2016. Hery is also an active planning committee member for the AACE conferences, SITE, and E-Learn.

Beth Tillinghast is a librarian at the University of Hawaii-Manoa Libraries, managing the university’s institutional repositories and working on scholarly communication projects. As part of her work in promoting Open Access, she helped guide the adoption of the UHM Open Access Policy. Currently, Beth is working to support the UH Open Educational Resources Initiative through committee work and research.

Dr. Dean Tomita began his career teaching at Makalapa Elementary School. He received his M.Ed. in 1994, and his Ph.D. in 2014. Today, Dean serves as the IT Director at Kamehameha Schools. He is married to his beautiful wife Wendy and has three wonderful boys, Aaron, Kylan, and Colby.

Dr. Mike Travis teaches Mathematics and Technology classes at Assets School. He is also an Adjunct Professor at Argosy University teaching online graduate education classes. Recently, he authored two books, “Faded Jeans to Army Greens” and “Cooper’s Destiny.” Mike served on the Hawaii Society for Technology in Education Board from its inception in 2009 until 2016 and was the President in 2014.

Masaru Uchino is a third grade teacher at Momilani Elementary School. Masa was recognized as one of two Hawaii teachers to receive the 2016-2017 Milken Educator Award. He was also recognized as one of five State Finalists for the 2016 Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Math Teaching for Science (PAEMST). In 2014, Masa was honored with the Leeward District Teacher of the Year award.

Dr. Angela F. L. Wong, an associate professor with the Learning Sciences and Technologies Academic Group, National Institute of Education (NIE), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, obtained her MEd at the University of Hawaii and her PhD from Curtin University of Technology, Australia. She was an Associate Dean at NIE from 2000 to 2009. She teaches and researches in “instructional technology” and “classroom

Dr. Lilinoe Yong works with the Hauula Hawaiian Immersion School.