Ms. Bernadette “Bernie” B. Frank works as the primary support staff for the program director and staff of the Pacific Regional Comprehensive Center (PRCC). She collaborates with PREL Service Center staff, PRCC partners, monitors project timelines and deliverables, and manages website content and database updates. Ms. Frank also coordinates and provides quality assurance services to PREL’s Communications Department. Prior to joining PREL, Ms. Frank worked for Central Pacific Bank for over 15 years.
Ms. Corrin Barros is a Senior Research Specialist at PREL, manages and implements place-based STEM programs. She currently serves as the Principal Investigator for Phase II of the Pacific islands Climate Change Education Partnership (PCEP), a K-14 climate education initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. Corrin pursues and supports projects related to teacher professional learning, strategic planning, policy, food and nutrition, and traditional ecological knowledge in science education. She holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Linfield College and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Corrin’s work at PREL inspires and is inspired by the joy she finds in nature. She enjoys experimenting in her garden and is finding a new love in paddle boarding.
Ms. Denise Perdue advances the work of PREL’s Business Development office and coordinates the Pacific islands Climate Change Education Partnership Phase II programs. She maintains the proposal development and submittal calendar and prepares proposals for submission to federal and state agencies, nonprofit organizations, and private funders, ensuring quality and successful submission. In addition, Ms. Perdue maintains collaborative systems and provides comprehensive support for the National Science Foundation-funded PCEP-II staff and project partners in Hawai‘i, the Pacific region, and continental United States. Prior to joining PREL, she worked with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s School of Public Health and the Hawai‘i State Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
Dr. Emerson Lopez Odango serves as a Senior Specialist in Languages and Literacies at Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL). His major projects at PREL are with the Pacific Regional Comprehensive Center, the Pacific islands Climate Change Education Partnership, and Geo-literacy Education in Micronesia—the latter two being multi-year projects funded by the National Science Foundation. His work focuses on supporting multilingualism and multiculturalism, and exploring theconnections between Local Indigenous/Traditional Knowledge and Science-
Technology-Engineering- Mathematics (STEM).
Dr. Odango completed both his Ph.D. (2015) and his M.A. (2013) in Linguistics at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, and his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies with a focus on Linguistics at the College of William and Mary (2005). He has experience teaching at both elementary and tertiary levels. He is the son of an Ilokano-speaking mother and Cebuano-speaking father, whereby Tagalog is the language of his upbringing.
At Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL), Dr, Ethan Allen oversees the
development and growth of PREL’s STEM education programs throughout Hawaii and the other
U.S.-affiliated Pacific islands.
He is Principal Investigator of the National Science Foundation (NSF) funded Water for Life:
Community Education for Water Conservation and Rainwater Harvesting in the United States
Affiliated Pacific Islands program that is improving access to potable water for residents of
Palau, the Marshall Islands, and Chuuk and Yap States in Micronesia. As part of this work,
Ethan has co-authored a 280-page book, Water for Life: A pacific Island Handbook for
Education, Health, and community Resilience.
Ethan also heads up the external evaluation for the University of Hawaii’s ‘Ike Wai project – a
five-year, $20M grant from NSF’s EPSCoR – and leads other evaluation services.
Outside of PREL, Ethan hosts a weekly Internet TV show, Likable Science, on ThinkTech
Hawaii, promoting science and STEM as accessible and fascinating parts of all of our lives. He
also currently serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Hawaii Public Health
Ethan previously directed diverse science education improvement programs at the University of
Washington’s Center for Nanotechnology and Department of Molecular Biotechnology, Institute
for Systems Biology (Washington), and at the Teachers Academy for Math and Science. Earlier
in his career, he served as Exhibit Developer for the Museum of Science and Industry in
He received his undergraduate degree in biology from the State University of New York at
Binghamton, his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Oregon, and did postdoctoral
research both there and at the University of Texas at Austin.
Kathy Jetñil-Kijiner is a poet of Marshallese ancestry. She received international acclaim through her performance at the opening of the United Nations Climate Summit in New York in 2014. Her writing and performances have been featured by CNN, Democracy Now, Huffington Post, National Geographic, Nobel Women’s Initiative, and more. In February 2017, the University of Arizona Press published her first collection of poetry, Iep Jāltok: Poems from a Marshallese Daughter.
Kathy also co-founded the non-profit Jo-Jikum, dedicated to empowering Marshallese youth to seek solutions to climate change and other environmental impacts threatening their home island. She has been selected as one of 13 Climate Warriors by Vogue in 2015 and the Impact Hero of the Year by Earth Company in 2016. She received her Master’s in Pacific Island Studies from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
- LaWanna Jensen is from Eugene, Oregon.
- She has lived in Hawaii for most of her adult life.
- Her role at PREL is to assist in all accounting aspects as well as HR Coordinator.
- As HR Coordinator, she administers benefits and prepares payroll
- She reviews all AP, prepares journal entries, reconciles programs to budgets, works with
auditors, reconcile GL accounts and prepares contracts for subawards.
- She has been an accountant for 33 years working in Oregon and Hawaii in the private sector.
- She enjoys hiking, scuba diving, reading and doing marathons.
Lori Phillips has been a loyal staff member for 20 years. Her love is teaching and the visual world.
She often says, “Language is not my first language.” Lori strives to enhance learning through visual research and the language of the arts. She believes that critical and creative thinking within structure can be taught.
Lori holds a Masters in Arts Education and a Doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction but her real background in education came from teaching in both elementary and secondary classrooms and coaching and supervising close to 300 student teachers in colleges of education.
She currently serves as Director for the Pacific Territorial Grants for the National Endowment for the Arts and works with Hawaii Schools in PREL’s School Professional Development Program.
Maria Loida Roca was born in the Philippines a Southeast Asian country in the Western Pacific , comprising of 7,641 islands of which only 2,000 are inhabited. She grew with her family from its capital city, Manila, where it is famous for its waterfront promenade and centuries-old Chinatown, Binondo. Intramuros, a walled city in colonial times in the heart of “Old Manila”. Also, home to the baroque 17th Century San Agustin Church and the oldest University in the country, the University of Santo Tomas where her mother graduated from college.
Inspired by her parents, who both worked in a local Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Company in the Philippines she graduated a Bachelor’s Degree in Science Major in Pharmacy.
Before coming to Honolulu, she and her husband worked as full time Industrial Manufacturing Pharmacist in Singapore and in the Philippines. Though new to the industry, Maria supports PREL’s Finance, HR functions and other PREL Programs in the Honolulu Office by providing research, filing organization, data compilation and organizational expertise.
Dr. Melly Wilson currently serves as Director of the Pacific Regional Comprehensive Center (PRCC), a technical assistance center funded by the U.S. Department of Education (ED) to help Pacific region state educational agencies connect rigorous research, policy and practice to support and improve education.
Dr. Wilson represents PREL at the state, regional, and national levels, keeping members of the U.S. Congress and other policy leaders informed of Pacific region priorities and developments in research and practice. In her additional role as Business Development Lead at PREL, she is responsible for authoring or leading the development of major proposals, coordinating PREL’s quality assurance processes, strengthening relationships with funders, and building new partnerships.
Dr. Wilson’s academic background is in public policy, international relations, and disaster management. She has served as a Lecturer for the University of Hawai‘i’s Political Science Department and as a Research and Policy Analyst for the Hawai‘i State Legislature and United Nations Relief and Works Agency. Her professional experience includes university-level instruction, project management, planning policy formulation and implementation, research design, and fiscal management. She earned her doctoral degree in political science and international relations from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.
Koh Ming Wei, who has a PhD. in Sustainability Education, is interested in how different cultures and indigenous communities work with nature to resolve ecological and social challenges through community partnerships, agriculture, music and art, and place-and project based learning. Her work and research includes how the school learning garden experience is a context conducive to teaching core subjects, STEM, and foundational life skills, and has created the Pedagogy of Food to frame the kind of education she believes in and shares. Ming Wei calls the Island of Hawaiʻi her home and is passionate about working with teachers.
Mr. Paul A. Hadik serves as President and CEO at PREL, providing leadership and direction to for operational functions and programmatic work. Hadik previously served as a Consultant with Graduate School USA, strengthening Chuuk Department of Education’s reform processes, Principal at Chuuk High School, Director of the Kosrae Department of Education, and Principal of Kosrae High School. For the past 20 years, he has led or advised numerous quality-setting, and school improvement initiatives.
Roxina Filrang is from the island of Kosrae in the
Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Her healthy
spirit of resilience, integrity and loyalty have been
woven into her work ethic from observing elders
around her model the traditions and cultures of her
She has devoted herself to the Pacific Resources of
Education and Learning (PREL) team, for over four
years, with a vision to preserve language and culture,
especially as related to health and education in the
-Bachelor of Science degree in Botany—University
of Hawai`i – Manoa (U.H.) 2007
-Master of Education in Educational Technology—
University of Hawai`i – Manoa (U.H.) 2011
Ms. Sonja Evensen serves as Senior Evaluation Specialist at PREL. She has worked with programs throughout the Pacific Region and Hawaii and specializes in considering culture and context while
creating evaluation design. Her approach/ philosophy includes participatory and utilization-based evaluation. Ms. Evensen also assists with program monitoring, training, and capacity building in program
management and evaluation. Ms. Evensen has worked in public health and education for 20 years. Her professional experience includes university-level instruction, program management, planning, research, and evaluation. Ms. Evensen earned a Master’s degree in Social Pedagogy at the University of Oslo, Norway; a Masters in Public Health from the University of Hawai‘i, and an Advanced Certificate in Program Evaluation from Claremont Graduate University.
Ms. Diana Manuel serves as Administrative Assistant at PREL. She joined PREL in 2000 and has been working in the administrative field for over 10 years at PREL’s Chuuk Service Center. Ms. Manuel manages the Service Center and supports the Mathematics and Culture in Micronesia: Integrating Societal Experiences project, the Pacific Regional Comprehensive Center, and works to advance the priorities of the Chuuk State School System (CSSS). Ms. Manuel previously assisted with the implementation of the Parental Information and Resource Centers (PIRC) Cluster Model in schools and the community, which helps promote student achievement and parent involvement.
Ms. Pam Legdesog serves as Senior Specialist at PREL. She provides technical assistance to state education agencies and serves as liaison to the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), Guam, and Yap. Ms. Legdesog is currently based at the PREL Guam Service Center. She joined PREL in 1992 as a Program Specialist, providing technical assistance and training throughout the region and spending the majority of her service in the Yap and Guam field offices. Prior to joining PREL, Ms. Legdesog taught secondary- and college-level science and health courses in some of the most remote islands in the Pacific. She served as Yap State’s Science and Health Education Specialist for more than 10 years. Ms. Legdesog holds a master’s degree in instructional technology and telecommunications and has extensive experience in science and health education and service delivery.
Canita Rilometo originated from Jaluit, Marshall Islands. She grew up in a family of educations who taught daily lessons (in and out of the classrooms) in four languages: Marshallese, Pohnpeian, Kosreaen and English.
After graduating from Marshall Islands High School, she completed a sting in the US Army, stationed in Germany and Bosnia from 1995-1998. Then immersed herself in American life on several states, culminating with 5 years working amongst a Pohnpeian dispora in the hospitality industry around South Carolina and Georgia. Having spent more years abroad than on the islands, she has been rediscovering and sharing life amongst Micronesia societies since moving back to the region in 2011. Before making the shift to PREL, Canita dedicated 5 years at an inter-governmental organization as a trainer on a project implemented across the North Pacific region, advocating resilience in communities and schools by educating about trafficking in persons, climate change, disaster risk reduction.
Ms. Juanita S.R. Lawrence serves as Program Specialist at PREL, working as educational equity trainer, PREL Pohnpei Service Center liaison, field coordinator, and school technical assistant for the Pacific Regional Comprehensive Center. With a background in curriculum development and teacher training, Ms. Lawrence has over 30 years’ experience in the field of education. Her professional experience includes high school and college-level instruction, curriculum development and training, mobilizing parent and community involvement in schools, planning, and policy review. She previously served as Adjunct Instructor in the Education Department at the College of the Marshall Islands.
Ms. Evelyn Joseph currently serves as Family and Community Engagement Specialist and liaison for the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) PREL Service Center in Majuro. She coordinates PREL partnership work with the RMI Ministry of Education (MOE) and various partner agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). Previously, she directed the PREL PIRC work with schools and parents in the RMI. Ms. Joseph has also worked for the RMI Ministry of Education in a variety of capacities, as Teacher Training Director, Field Supervisor, and Family Life Curriculum Specialist. Ms. Joseph focuses on early childhood education, school improvement, and community education issues.