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.
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.
Dr. Joakim Jojo Peter is a Senior Specialist in family and school engagement for migrant families of children with significant disabilities in Hawaii. He came to PREL with over a decade of experience in education and advocacy for individuals and families of children with disabilities in Micronesia and Hawaii. His new projects include development of culturally appropriate reading materials through storytelling and multimedia.
JoJo is from Ettal Island in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. He graduated with two masters degrees in Pacific Islands Studies (1994) and History (1997) from University of Hawaii at Manoa. He returned to Chuuk where he served at the College of Micronesia—FSM as an instructor and a Campus Director for 15 years. He returned to UH-Manoa in 2011 to pursue a Ph.D. program in and graduated in December 2017. JoJo is involved in several community action organizations to promote and advocate for the rights of COFA citizens in Hawaii and throughout the state. JoJo is the co-founder of COFA—Community Advocacy Network (COFA—CAN), We Are Oceania (WAO) and COFA—Community Leadership and Advocacy Network.
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.
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.
Doctor of Education (Ed.D)
University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Hawaiʻi, 2017
Professional Educational Practice, Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society
Master of Arts (M.A)
University of San Francisco, California, 1998
Private School Administration
Bachelor of Arts (B.A)
University of Guam, Agana, 1987
Senior Consultant, Education Policy 04/2017 – Present
Pacific Resource for Education and Learning (PREL), Honolulu, HI
• Supporting Pacific-focused education and equity innovations for a variety of clients
including Micronesians United – Big Island (MU-BI), We Are Oceania (WAO),
Unified School District (NUSD), Chuuk Department of Education (CDOE), Fanapi Foundation,
Chaminade University of Hawaii (CUH), Caroline College & Pastoral Institute (CCPI),
University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).
Project Coordinator 11/2016 – 08/2017
Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Islands of Opportunity Alliance
(IOA), Research Corporation of University of Hawaii, HI
• Manage the NSF-funded LSAMP Islands of Opportunity Alliance program at University
of Hawaiʻi at Hilo.
• Support STEM education program for underrepresented, first-generation minority
• Supervise and provide technical supports for remote faculty & staff teams on partner campuses
throughout the Pacific region and Hawaii.
• Coordinate STEM pipeline opportunities from community colleges throughout the US-affiliated
Pacific Island nations and territories to 4-year institutions.
• Plan, implement, evaluate all activities, staffing, and budget for the 10-year old alliance.
Project Coordinator 8/2016 – 8/2017
Students of Hawaiʻi Advanced Research Program (SHARP), Research Corporation of
University of Hawaii, Hawaii
• Launched the recruitment, hiring, and advising of underrepresented, first generation,
minority students in Ph.D-tracked biomedical research programs for the NIH-funded
Minority Biomedical Research Support (MBRS) program at University of Hawaiʻi at
• Co-facilitate SHARP Research Seminar for participants addressing various needs and
goals of the program including indigenous research methodologies, ethics in research,
biomedical careers, graduate school preparation, academic support, etc.
• Plan and implement the SHARP Scholars Symposium enabling our students to present
their research projects to the general public.
• Develop and monitor student research placement opportunities with faculty with high
impact biomedical / behavioral research.
• Coordinated the state and federal compliance for research certification protocol.
• Designed and launched the program website (www.uhhilo-sharp.org)
Director 3/2012 – 8/2016
Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Programs, University of Hawaii at Hilo,
• Managed the delivery of U.S. Department of Education-sponsored grant for Asian
American Native American Pacific Islander Institution (AANAPISI) at University of
Hawaii at Hilo.
• Launched the first year experiences, summer bridge programs, student employment,
academic advising, community outreach, research engagement, tutoring, peer mentoring,
faculty workshops, and college experience course to improve the retention and graduation
of target population from US-affiliated Pacific Island entities at UH Hilo
• Founded the Pacific Students Media project (www.pacificstudents.org) to combat
negative stereotypes through digital stories.
• Created the Navigating Success: Annual Pacific Youth Empowerment for Success
(PacYES!) conference (www.navigatingsuccess.org) for high school students of Pacific
• Created the Highly Engaged Learning Placement (www.help.pacificstudents.org)
experiential learning student internship / employment program for Pacific Islander
Assistant Director of Study Abroad 7/2005 – 2/2012
International Programs Office, Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, CA
• Coordinated outbound student recruitment, advising of students about study abroad
programs, cultural immersion, academic regulations, and financial policies at Santa Clara
• Planned, created, and managed online study abroad program portfolio, software updates,
• Streamlined outbound study abroad program application, selection, pre-departure & reentry
• Served as liaison with appropriate campus representatives in Student Records,
Admissions, University Housing, Financial Aid, Conference Center, Center for Student
Leadership, Career Center, and Dining Services to continually evaluate procedures
involving outbound and inbound exchange students.
• Led on-campus marketing initiatives including classroom presentations, Study Abroad
Fair, International Ambassadors, Open House, New Student Orientation outreach, New
Faculty Orientation outreach, Study Abroad Photo Contest
• Created quarterly orientation, online blog posts, social media, workshops, and
• Recruited, trained, supervised Graduate Assistants, Interns, International Ambassadors,
Bronco Abroad Ambassadors, Peer Advisors to support study abroad students
• Planned and managed study abroad programming budget
Associate Director 2/2000 – 8/2004
Center for Multicultural Learning, Santa Clara, CA
• Supervised 6 professional staff, 4 student staff at Santa Clara Universityʻs Center for
• Managed the Center’s over $1.2 million Irvine Foundation grant budget
• Served on the President’s Administrative Leadership Team
• Promoted multicultural learning experiences for students, faculty, and staff
• Managed multicultural programming at Santa Clara University
• Developed partnerships with other programs and departments on campus
• Conducted diversity training opportunities with student groups
• Participated in leadership training programs for students
• Designed & managed program website
• Awarded the annual Staff Award for Individual Excellence
Site Coordinator 2/1999 – 2/2000
Youth Together Project, Oakland, CA
• Provided leadership, supervision, and training for a multicultural team of student
organizers at 5 East Bay public high schools
• Assisted schools to better serve diverse learners and underprivileged students
• Helped to improve ethnic and race relations among high school students
• Created opportunities for youth and community empowerment
• Recruited and trained team leaders in high school
• Collaborated with school administrators, parents, community based organizations to
provide school change campaigns
• Designed & maintained program website
Assistant Director 1/1998 – 6/1998
International Student Resources, Santa Clara, CA
• Coordinated services for international students such as quarterly orientation, newsletter,
workshops, hospitality programs, and intervention.
• Collaborated with university services to provide assistance to international students
• Supervised graduate assistants and interns
• Recruited and trained student advisers for international student orientation
• Liaised between Student Resource Center and the multicultural clubs on campus
• Collaborated with local families to provide host families for international students
Cultural Education Specialist 1/1995 – 8/1995
Compact Impact Office for Micronesian Affairs, Guam
• Developed curriculum for k-12 and adult education programs
• Organized cultural education programs for adult immigrants
• Planned lessons & conducted weekly town meetings with migrant communities
• Liaised with Office of the Governor
• Engaged in community organizing efforts of Chuukese migrant population
Teacher & Assistant Director 1991 – 1994, 2004 - 2005
Xavier High School, Chuuk, Micronesia
• Prepared and taught lesson plans for various courses
• Implemented a community service aspect of the morality course
• Implemented a student-run radio show on the local public radio station
• Recruitment, training, and supervision for all student leaders and team members
• Developed a structure of student involvement in local community issues
• Initiated faculty and staff involvement with student retreat programs
• Supervised 25 professional staff
• Managed all resources including facilities, personnel, fundraising
• Liaison with community organizations, businesses, media, alumni, and partners
• Designed and maintained school’s first website (www.xaviermicronesia.org)
Select Consulting Experience
Consultant, Student Achievement & Equity Innovations (www.ucsc.edu)
Consultant, Hawaiʻi P-20 Partnerships for Education (http://www.p20hawaii.org/)
Consultant, Micronesians United – Big Island (www.mu-bi.org)
Consultant, Partners in Development Foundation (www.pidfoundation.org)
Consultant, Fanapi Foundation (www.fanapi.org)
Consultant, Northwest Unified Schools (www.northwestunifiedschools.org)
Consultant, Chuuk Department of Education (CDOE)
Select Publications & Presentations
Co-author, “Perceptions of Pacific Islander Students in Higher Education at University of Hawaii
at Hilo,” Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, 2017
Co-author, “A Portrait of Pacific Islander Students in Higher Education: Defining the PI in AAPI
First Year Students,” Heritage Language Journal, 2016
Co-presenter / Facilitator, “Community Consultancy: A model for transformative learning in the
UH Manoa Professional Practice EdD,” Schools of the Future Conference, October, 2016
Co-presenter / Facilitator, “Creating culturally-sustaining learning environments for Micronesian
students,” Schools of the Future Conference, October, 2016
Co-presenter / Facilitator, “Pacific Islander Students Navigating Success in College,” P-20
Hawaii Island College Access Network (HICAN) Summit, September, 2015
Co-presenter, “Identifying and Teaching Micronesian Values to Support Student Success,”
Pacific Educational Conference, Majuro, Marshall Islands, July 2015
Co-presenter, “Kumu Honua Mauli Ola: A Framework for Indigenous Education,” Pacific
Educational Conference, Majuro, Marshall Islands, July 2015
Co-presenter, “Pacific Islander Students Navigating Success at UH Hilo,” Pacific Educational
Conference, July 2015
Presenter, “Planning Our Common Journey Together,” Navigating Success: Micronesian College
Student Leadership Summit, 2015
Co-presenter, “Growing Pono Schools: Understanding Island Cultures and Culture Based
Education,” Kealakehe High School, Professional Development, 2014
Presenter, “Micronesians in Hawaii: What’s Our Story?” Waimea Middle School, 2013
Presenter, “Teaching Pacific Islanders” Waiakea High School Development Day, 2013
Co-Presenter, “Pacific Islanders in Higher Education at the University of Hawaii at Hilo:
Defining the PI in AAPI” Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Conference,
St. Louis, MO, November 2013
Presenter, “Chuuk State School System Leadership Institute.” Chuuk State Department of
Education, March 2012
Presenter, “Educating the Next Generation of College Educated Women Leaders,” at National
Women’s Conference, Chuuk, FSM, 2012
Presenter, “Region XII Highlight: Expanding Your Study Abroad Staff Through Peer Advising
Programs. “NAFSA Annual Conference, Vancouver, BC., 2011
Presenter, “Expanding Your Study Abroad Staff with Limited Resources Through Peer Advising
Programs. “NAFSA Region XII Conference, Reno, NV., 2010
Presenter, “Global Student: Preparing the Pacific Student for a Global Education in College.”
Pacific Educational Conference (PEC), University of Guam, Guam. 2009
Presenter, “Building, Creating, and Maintaining Partnerships for Diversity,” National
Conference on Race and Ethnicity (NCORE) in New Orleans, LA., 2002
Presenter, “Diversity Training for Community Facilitators,” Resident Assistants Training, Santa
Clara University. 2002-2003
Presenter, “Diversity Training for Orientation Leaders,” Orientation Leaders Training, Santa
Clara University. 2002-2003
Honors, Awards, Associations
Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society
Hawaii-Pacific Evaluation Association (H-PEA)
Staff Recognition for Inclusive Excellence Award, Santa Clara University, 2001
University Committee Appointments
Member, Student Affairs Leadership Committee (SALC)
University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo, 2012 – 2016
Member, University Diversity Committee
University of Hawaii at Hilo, 2012 - 2014
Member, Study Abroad Operations Group
Santa Clara University, 2009 - 2012
Member, University Website Administrators Team
Santa Clara University, 2006 – 2012
Member, New Student Orientation Leaders Search Committee
Santa Clara University, 2002 - 2004
Co-Chair, Irvine Grant Steering Committee (CML Advisory Board)
Santa Clara University, 2000 – 2004
Member, President’s Administrative Leadership Team
Santa Clara University, 2001 - 2004
Member, University Communicators Team
Santa Clara University, 2000 - 2004
Vice Chair, University Diversity Dialogue Council
Santa Clara University, 2000 - 2001
Member, Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Planning Committee
Santa Clara University, 2001 - 2004
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.