Dr. Jerelyn Watanabe is the Community Engagement and Development Officer for the Pacific Islands Development Program (PIDP). Her role supports events and programs in collaboration with Pacific Island communities locally, regionally, and throughout the diaspora, including the Celebrate Micronesia Festival and the Resilient Pacific Island Leaders (RPIL) Fellowship. Jerelyn also engages with researchers on community-based projects.
As a consultant, Jerelyn has worked as an external evaluator to develop values-based, culturally sustaining evaluation tools and processes for PIDP. She has also worked as an Educational Specialist at Myron B. Thompson Academy, the first Hawaiʻi school to adopt teaching and learning online in order to provide access to public education to students with health or other family needs. Her educational, professional, research, and community service experiences have focused on promoting equitable access to resources such as education and elevating the voices and stories of those who are silenced or not often heard.
Jerelyn is Affiliate Graduate Faculty of the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa and Adjunct Faculty at Chaminade University. She earned an EdD in Professional Educational Practice and an MA in Mathematics from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in addition to SB degrees in Physics and Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Generations of her family are tied to Mānoa, Kaka’ako, and Cleveland, Ohio as immigrants from Japan and Germany. She feels most at home swimming in the warm Pacific Ocean.