News & Events


April 14, 2014

Keawe ̔aimoku Kaholokula, PhD, visits the UW

Keawe ̔aimoku Kaholokula, PhD

Keawe ̔aimoku Kaholokula, PhD

When I first saw the announcement that Keawe was going to speak at UW, I got excited. It was the same kind of excitement that people get when their favorite music group is coming to town and they can’t wait to see the show. I know…I know…I’m a nerd like that. I suppose it is also important to let you know that I am not a part of the UW community, but I am a part of the IWRI family, by way of the Indigenous Substance Abuse, Medicines, and Addictions Research Training program (Principal Investigators Karina Walters and Tessa Evans-Campbell). I’m a PhD candidate in the Department of Sociology at Portland State University.


Though I attended Keawe’s presentation at Kane Hall on February 12, 2014, and the student Question and Answer luncheon on February 13, I was also fortunate to have had the opportunity to speak with him one-on-one. We discussed our research interests, upcoming projects, what I was intending on doing after my program, people we know in Hawai’i and Portland, and we “talked story.” What I took away from these interactions with Keawe was more than networking or relationship development, but rather that Keawe is a good role model—a good indigenous role model within the academy.  Though he might see it differently, his research appears to balance his involvement within the Native Hawaiian community as well as within the academy. I thought his mentorship, which was highlighted over the student Question and Answer luncheon, was candid and direct, while at the same time, supportive and practical. I was honored to have had the opportunity to meet Keawe, to “talk story,” and know that he and I are connected by way of our IWRI family. Keawe, if you are reading this, I look forward to meeting again and collaborating on a project together.


—Matthew Town graduated from Black Hills State University with a Bachelor’s in Sociology and Oregon State University with a Master’s in Public Health with an emphasis in Global Health. Matthew is pursuing his Ph.D. at Portland State University in Sociology and Social Inequality.MatthewTown