Lava Fields & More…

Aloha!

I wanted to write a post about how amazing field work can be….especially when in Hawaiʻi. Iʻve lived here my whole life, and still, I am ALWAYS amazed at how beautiful this place is. Every work day in the office, following field work, is the worst day ever. The white walls, the fluorescent light, the cold A/C with the thermostats that donʻt work. Miserable!

But field work. Oh my gosh, field work. The beauty! Donʻt believe me?

img_5978
Thoughtful Mauna… June 2017

On my last round of field work, I drove to the NOAA Mauna Loa Observatory, which is at about 11,000 feet above sea level on the slope of Mauna Loa. We were scouting the drive up to the observatory, looking for viable locations to put a rain collector!

img_5878
Mauna Kea – Sacred Piko March 2017

In March 2017, I participated in a geophysical survey on Mauna Kea. Here, I am taking a reading from a gravimeter.  We were surveying on the Eastern slope of Mauna Kea, along Mana Road.

img_5991
The view of the summit from Hakalau Wildlife Refuge April 2012

Five years ago (Wow! Five years?!) I had the privilege of doing some community service at the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge (Fish & Wildlife Services). This picture was taken from the porch of the cabin I stayed in! It was so incredible to wake up, the clouds a few hundred yards below us allowing a clear view of the summit, with the sun lighting up the pu’u and leaving the forest in the shade… There are so many native birds up there that will sing to you until you wake up. So beautiful!

img_5992
View of the beautiful night sky from the cabins at Hakalau Wildlife Refuge. April 2012 (B. Shimabukuro)

In the evenings, after we finished our work for the day, we hung out at the cabins. We had the most excellent view of the sky above!

So there. Now that you believe me, letʻs continue.

Iʻve been very fortunate in my academic career to travel around Hawaiʻi and do some fun field work. After working for the USGS (and doing all of the trainings and online workshops) and attending an internship on the mainland, I’ve come to realize that field work in Hawai’i is relatively safe…of animals. True, the terrain can be pretty tough, but at least you don’t have to constantly be aware of your surroundings for bears, snakes, etc.

Also, others have done some pretty amazing work here in Hawai’i. My co-worker, Aida, and I had the opportunity to take a picture with the Keeling Curve!

img_5990
Aida (left) and myself (right) at the Keeling Building, for Professor Keeling of the Keeling Curve! June 2017

It’s great being a scientist here in Hawai’i. There are so many great opportunities to study the amazing-ness that is our island Earth, and to do it in such a wonderful place is just indescribable. So much to do, so little time!

I guess my pitch here is, if you’re an aspiring scientist and are looking for schools to attend, try looking into the University of Hawai’i! If any of you are interested, don’t hesitate to email me!

A hui hou…

Diamond

A big mahalo…

On April 17th & 18th, 2017 Dr. Becky Packard visited the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She’s a great speaker, and an incredible inspiration to all of us kids who felt like we grew up without much, but still found a way to make it all work. She gave a great workshop to students and faculty, and she said something that really triggered something inside of me. She said, “never forget to thank those teachers that never gave up on you.” 

I’ve had so many teachers and mentors over the years. And I realize that I may have forgotten to say thank you, and I feel so terrible for not realizing sooner! I hope that you know my appreciation, even if I have forgotten to mention it aloud. I hope I can make up for it here…

To all of the amazing role models who have inspired me, especially to the wonderful women who have shown me that you don’t have to give up your career to have a family, I want to share a big mahalo. Many of us, the women in STEM who are just beginning our academic careers, would have given up years ago if it weren’t for the perseverance and drive of those of you who have made it your own. We are constantly learning how to carve our names into the stones that will be seen by future generations. 

Every where I go, I meet someone amazing who reminds me that I should be doing more, working harder, aiming for the moon. You know those people I’m talking about right? The ones who make you second guess your use of time, because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get things done! But somehow, these guys do it, and they do it well! Some of the best kept secrets: how to get enough sleep when you’ve got a big deadline; and how to not schedule so many meetings in a day. 

I talk a lot about how I’m grateful for the women scientists who are role models, but I haven’t forgotten those who I looked up to (and still look up to) from my childhood. I grew up in musical theatre, where you are free to express yourself. No judgement. It was the amazing people I met along my “dramatic” journey that helped me to build my confidence, to learn to believe in myself…to get over the stage fright. All of the stage moms who helped raise all of the kids; all of the times that we would carpool to shows and take naps and eat lunch on the go; all of the growing pains of love, loss and in between. Being apart of that family has always been such a blessing and I miss it every single day. At night, when (I think) there’s no one left on the floor, I belt out some of my favorite show tunes in my office and reminisce of the amazing adventures I’ve had in the theatre. 

And of course, I can’t forget the UH Lab ʻohana. Being a lifer, I’ve literally grown up in that school. Those teachers and staff at Lab School became family; other families became family. Such a tight-knit group of kids from a small island, just trying to make it to lunch. Those were the good old days. I never really appreciated my education at Lab School until after I graduated, when I realized that all of the classes we had to take, all of the extra curricular activities we had to do, served a purpose. To teach us morals, to help us grow into citizens of our communities, to teach us to have a voice and know how to use it. 

I’m just so grateful for all of the amazing opportunities I have had in my life: dancing, singing, acting, science, all of it. And the greatest role models of them all have been my parents who have always stood beside me and pushed me to follow my dreams. You never let me give up, and you always let me have my melt downs and knew just what to say to get me to pick myself up off the ground. Mahalo, mom and dad, for bringing me into this world and showing me how much I can learn from it; how much we can change it for the better. 
Mahalo nui,

Diamond 

P.S. it took me so long to write this because I cried from all of the amazing memories. Sorry! 

Welina Mai!

Aloha mai kakou!

My name is Diamond Tachera. I was born and raised on the island of Oahu, Hawai’i. I am a proud alum of the University Laboratory School (c/o 2010). I attended the University of Hawai’i at Manoa for my undergraduate, and received my B.S. in Geology and Geophysics in 2016.

I am currently a first-year graduate student at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, pursuing an M.S. in Geology and Geophysics. I am studying groundwater geochemistry as a graduate research assistant on the ‘Ike Wai Project (Hawai’i EPSCoR), a 5-year NSF EPSCoR project aimed at studying water sustainability in Hawai’i. We are incorporating science and culture, with a great collaboration between scientists and Hawaiian language/culture research.

I think the work we are, and will be, doing on the ‘Ike Wai project is so interesting, and that it would be great for folks in the community to be apart of. I also wanted to have a way to document my work and progress through all of my research endeavors, so I’ve decided to start this wordpress blog!

Mahalo for following my journey!