Science and finance studies prepare students to conserve Hawaii’s resources

Woman analyzes samples
Tehani analyzes water samples from the Sumida farm for sewage tracers. (Image credit: Henrietta Dulai)

Born and raised in Maunalua on the island Oahu, Tehani Malterre attended the Kamehameha schools and began to reconnect with Hawaiian culture ʻāina (land, that which nourishes). With passion for environmental protection in Hawaii, She learned during her senior year of high school that the University of Hawaii at the Mānoa School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) offers a program that fits their interests very well – the Global Environmental Science (TOTAL) Bachelor’s degree.

woman by a lake
Tehani assists with seagrass biomonitoring in South Slough Estuary, Charleston, OR.

Now in her senior year of TOTAL Malterre said: “I enjoy learning the science behind the environmental issues that affect us here Hawaii while also being able to stay connected to my home.”

Malterre is enrolled in the Bachelor and Masters Pathway program where she is pursuing a Masters of Science in Finance alongside her degree TOTAL Degree.

“Understanding the financial implications of climate change while having a background in environmental science is very important to understanding the human dimensions of planning and adapting to our future,” Malterre said. “In addition to improving my own financial literacy and understanding of the systems we live in, this degree can be applied to a variety of important topics such as: B. To improve understanding of the cost of coastal infrastructure as a result of climate change and to support local businesses in the protection and sustainability of island food, or even to work with community organizations to fund restoration and conservation projects.”

environmental sciences, food security and local businesses

Woman looking at leaves
Tehani looks at bear grass in South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Coos Bay, OR.

For her thesis in the TOTAL Program that Malterre works with Henrietta Dulaiprofessor SOESTof the Department of Earth Sciences. They search for pharmaceutical wastewater tracers in the water at Sumida Farm, a popular watercress farm “Aea. The farm is mainly fed by freshwater springs and is unique as it is located in a heavily urbanized area. They want to determine if the surrounding urbanization has affected the farm by analyzing water samples for substances like caffeine and ibuprofen, indicators of sewage. They will also compare these results to rainfall patterns to determine if rainfall is contributing to wastewater runoff that can affect water quality.

“Something that really interests me about this research is that it offers an opportunity to better understand potential threats affecting our food sources and food sustainability, which is incredibly important Hawaii and that we should try to expand,” said Malterre. “This project also has the potential to help a local business, which I’m really excited about.”

What’s next?

Malterre graduates with a bachelor’s degree TOTAL Late Spring 2023. After that, she is well on the way to completing her Masters in Finance in Spring 2024. She is interested in continuing school to study ecosystem ecology or conservation biology and possibly a PhD.

“After all, I want to be able to live and work there Hawaii and contribute to the conservation and preservation of our natural resources, culture and native species, especially in the face of climate change,” said Malterre. “I also want to be able to give back to the country and communities that raised me.”

For more information, see SOEST‘s site.