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Maunakea Observatories Names 2019 Hokuala Scholarship Awardee

July 6, 2019, 12:00 PM HST (Updated July 7, 2019, 5:32 AM)
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Waipahu High School senior Jean Claude (JC) Dumaslan with Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope Outreach Manager Mary-Beth Laychak. Courtesy photo.

Waipahu High School senior Jean Claude (JC) Dumaslan has been named the second-ever recipient of the $10,000 Hokuala Scholarship Award.

The announcement came during Dumaslanʻs July Maunakea Speaker Series presentation at ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center while sharing his research in the Maunakea Scholars Program. The scholarship funds will go toward Damaslanʻs UH Mānoa tuition as he pursues an astronomy degree.

“I have reviewed hundreds of scholarship applications over the years and know the great impact scholarships like this can have on students,” said Doug Simons, executive director, Canada-France-Hawaiʻi Telescope. “It’s amazing to see how positively this can impact their lives.”

The $10,000 Hokuala—meaning “rising star” in Hawaiian—Scholarship is the latest addition to the Maunakea Scholars program, awarded annually to one or more top performing seniors in the program who will study astronomy in college. For students attending the University of Hawai’i, the scholarship  includes mentorship by a leader in Maunakea astronomy throughout each recipient’s undergraduate education. JC’s mentor will be Christian Flores Gonzalez, a UH Institute for Astronomy graduate student. Gonzalez has mentored JC as part of the Maunakea Scholars program during the last two years.

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“Being a part of the Maunakea Scholars program for two years was an amazing experience that helped me realize my passion for astronomy,” said Dumaslan. “Receiving this scholarship goes beyond anything I ever imagined, and I am so grateful to the Maunakea Observatories for supporting my astronomy dreams.”

Dumaslan received an observing run at the Canada-France-Hawai’i Telescope last year and will receive time this summer at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility to continue his work. Only the second double winner of Maunakea Scholars telescope time in the program’s four-year history, Dumaslan studied the spectra of Wolf-Rayet stars and will enter UH armed with observational data from two Maunakea Observatories—a rare position for a college freshman.

“As soon as JC received his first observations, he immediately realized that to continue on his project he needed more data in another wavelength of light,” said Mary Beth Laychak, outreach manager at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. “That leap to wanting to know more is what sets JC apart and will serve him well in Mānoa’s astronomy department.”

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“We want local high school students to be inspired, as well as equipped with the skills needed to pursue their dreams,” said Simons. “The Hokuala Scholarship helps students bridge between high school and that critical first year of college.”

For more information about the Maunakea Scholars program and astronomy opportunities for students, visit www.maunakeascholars.com.

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