NSF Guam EPSCoR graduate research assistantship now accepting applicants

Epscor GRA 1
Epscor GRA 1

Are you a prospective graduate student interested in ensuring the sustainability of coral reefs and the marine environment? If you’re self-motivated, well-organized, and have a Bachelor of Science in Biology, Environmental Science, or related field, NSF Guam EPSCOR has a valuable graduate student research experience for you — and it’s paid!

The Graduate Research Assistantship is a three-year long program designed to train graduates in scientific research. Selected students will benefit from a tuition waiver of up to 3 years or 36 credits for the pursuit of a master’s degree, research training, faculty mentorship, potential travel opportunities, a Guam Green Growth Circular Economy Makerspace and Innovation Hub membership and an $18,000 annual stipend ($1,500 per month).

Selected applicants will participate in Marine ecology, genomics, and oceanography in the field and lab. Depending on chosen specialization, students may learn about DNA extraction and sequencing and/or how to read and analyze data to characterize marine environments. The program may involve hands-on fieldwork to investigate coral reefs or to deploy and retrieve oceanographic instruments while working at the UOG Marine Laboratory or biorepository. Graduate students will also receive support for their individual thesis defenses.

The program seeks to increase the number and diversity of students who choose careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics). All qualified students are encouraged to apply, in particular Pacific islanders, LGBTQIA+, women, minorities, and students with disabilities.

The deadline to apply is 12 a.m. CHST on February 10, 2023. Late applications may be considered until the UOG Masters Application Deadline, pending availability of positions. For more information and to apply, visit https://guamepscor.uog.edu/gra/

About NSF Guam EPSCOR

The NSF Guam EPSCoR program at the University of Guam is funded by a five-year, $20 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Established Program for the Stimulation of Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The program aims to broaden the participation of underrepresented students in STEM fields through developing a research program that helps ensure the sustainability of coral reef ecosystems in the face of environmental change. NSF Guam EPSCoR aims to situate Guam as a premier research and STEM education hub bolstering sustainability, economic development, and informed decision-making by engaging communities in 21st-century science.

UOG students make waves, broaden connections at SACNAS  

DSC04729

More than the experience of attending a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) event off-island, the University of Guam delegation, which included Guam NSF EPSCoR student researchers, also earned accolades, learned more about diversity and expanded their network at the National Diversity in STEM (NDiSTEM) conference in Puerto Rico. 

The Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) organized the event from October 27 through October 29. The conference drew thousands of college-levels through professional attendees from historically excluded communities throughout the states and territories.  

The conference seeks to equip, empower, and energize participants for their academic and professional paths in STEM.   

Austin Shelton, Ph.D. UOG Sea Grant and Center for Island Sustainability director, Education Workforce and Development coordinator for Guam NSF EPSCoR and SACNAS board member said the conference is the perfect place to expose students to opportunities in STEM. “This is really an important event for our students at the University of Guam. It is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary STEM diversity conference in the nation. This year, it is the biggest that the conference has ever been. Over half of that are students and over half of them are professionals, and as important, exhibitors who are bringing in opportunities to students in the areas of graduate school or employment in agencies, in nonprofits, in nongovernmental organizations.” 

According to Shelton, 51 students and faculty from UOG took advantage of these tremendous opportunities at the conference. Aside from immersing participants in STEM research and professional development sessions, the conference also encouraged engagement in and the sharing of multicultural celebrations and traditions. 

Cheryl R. Sangueza, Ph.D. assistant professor of secondary education said attending the conference was a success not only for academic and research opportunities, but also because the Guam delegation left a positive footprint for the island and the university. She believes that the experience “possibly changed life trajectories for the UOG students. 

 “Our students were engaged in professional networking and found exciting academic and research opportunities, they met new friends and explored new places and cultures, and they were successfully immersed in a culture of scientific research. “Seeing and feeling like they belong at a STEM conference combined with connecting with graduate school and research opportunities illuminated new options and choices for many,” she said. 

Sangueza is also the co-principal investigator for the National Science Foundation’s INCLUDES SEAS Islands Alliance Guam Hub and oversees student experience for NSF Guam EPSCoR.  

More than 10 UOG students took part in the poster presentations at the conference. One of the students, Michael Fernandez, received recognition for his undergraduate poster presentation on “Host Tree and Mycorrhizal Diversity of Epiphytic Orchids Native to Guam.” 

Alyssa Calalo, an NSF INCLUDES student researcher, also presented a poster on “Assessing the Use of Pre-germinated and Soaked Seed of Native Plant Species for Badland Restoration: Lab and Field Trials.” 

The UOGundergraduate in biology described her SACNAS experience as inspirational. “It was eye opening meeting scientists with the same culture and values, and it made me feel seen and motivated to keep going! My presentation revolved all around using native plants important to the CHamoru culture to restore badlands that have been affected by erosion. I conducted my research project at Ugum Watersheds. My presentation was a great experience for me, and I was able to connect with people from different labs and cultures – network and share ideas on how to keep the project going!”    

SACNAS fosters the success of underrepresented Americans – from college students to professionals – in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and leadership positions in science, technology engineering, and mathematics, otherwise known as STEM. It is the largest multicultural and multidisciplinary STEM diversity organization in the United States, serving more than 20,000 students and professionals. 

 

 

Graduate student studies box jellyfish at Tohoku University 

Colin Anthony Photo 1

Guam NSF EPSCoR Graduate Research Assistant Colin Anthony is a Special Research Student in the Graduate School of Agricultural Studies at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan. 

As a Special Research Student, Anthony is receiving mentorship from Cheryl Ames, Ph.D., a leading expert in marine biology whose research focuses on jellyfish systematics, genomics, and using environmental DNA to understand marine biodiversity.  

“Many of the leaders in my field are Japanese, so [Dr. Ames and I] thought it would be a good idea for me to do some research, network, teach, and present in Japan,” said Anthony.  

During his time at Tohoku University, Anthony will study the protein differences across different structures in box jellyfish (Alatina alata) along with Ames. Box jellyfish get their name from the cube-like shape of their bell and can be found in the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean.  

“We have these [jellyfish] in Guam, but my samples are from the Netherlands,” said Anthony. “It is the only species found all the way around the world. To do this we pair genomic (DNA), transcriptomic (RNA), and proteomic (amino acids) data using various bioinformatic techniques. We hope this provides novel insight into how box jellyfish produce venom-related proteins.”  

During his time at Tohoku University, Anthony has led an introductory coding workshop for the university’s undergraduate and graduate researchers, presented at a joint conference with the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, as well as given a guest lecture on the role of presentation design in effective science communication.  

“The food and people are the best, but my language skills are not very good,” said Anthony.  “So, I look forward to improving my Japanese in order to eat more great food and meet new people.” 

Guam NSF EPSCoR talks Near Peer Mentorship at EOD conference 

Emily EOD Conference 2022 1
Emily EOD Conference 2022 1
This year, NSF EPSCoR welcomed representatives from its various jurisdictions nationwide to its first Education, Outreach, and Diversity Conference to learn more about EOD and science communication. Emily Wendte represented Guam NSF EPSCoR at the event as its education and workforce development program associate.

From mentorship opportunities to training programs, Education, Outreach, and Diversity (EOD) is one of the central aspects to any NSF EPSCoR project. This year, NSF EPSCoR welcomed representatives from its various jurisdictions nationwide to its first Education, Outreach, and Diversity Conference to learn more about EOD and science communication.  

The conference took place in South Carolina from September 11 to September 14, 2022.  

Emily Wendte represented Guam NSF EPSCoR at the event as its education and workforce development program associate. As part of Wendte’s responsibilities, she coordinates activities between students, faculty, and project partners.  

Along with Cheryl Sangueza, Ph.D., the student program coordinator for Guam NSF EPSCoR, Wendte presented a slideshow entitled, “Communicating Science Through the Lens of Culture and Identity,” which focused on the Near-Peer Mentorship model that Guam NSF EPSCoR uses to encourage its student researchers to think about science communication and the importance of their work. 

Once a month, graduate students and postdoctoral researchers from Guam NSF EPSCoR connect with the program’s undergraduate student researchers as well as those from the NSF INCLUDES: SEAS Islands Alliance Guam Hub to talk about their personal experiences as they develop their careers in STEM, advice, as well as better ways to make their research more accessible to the local populace.  

“What’s unique for us is that we’re talking about culture and identity through science communication without losing the integrity of their research,” said Wendte. “They’re thinking about how their work not only makes an impact on a global perspective, but also how it’s important locally and how they’re influencing their local environment and community.”  

For these researchers, talking to each other allows them to be more reflective of their projects as well as support each other.  

“The reception to the presentation was phenomenal,” said Wendte. “The students’ work and what they did really shone through. I talked about how our Near Peer sessions worked and the prompts we would give them to encourage them to talk to each other and relate their experiences to things outside science, within science, and their experiences.”  

Wendte said that after the presentation, representatives from other NSF EPSCoR jurisdictions came up to her to talk about ways they could better serve their students.  

“Guam is in a great position to show the world what we are doing and how it can be done,” said Wendte. “When I was just starting off in education, someone shared with me this important motto: the responsibility of knowing is sharing. I always took that to heart, and I feel that is what Dr. Sangueza and I did with this presentation. We were able to make people think about their programs and what they can do for their students.” 

 

2022 GRA: Meet our new graduate research assistants!  

Xavier De Ramos

This year, Guam NSF EPSCoR welcomed six new members of its Graduate Research Assistantship program. Over the next three years, these graduate students will receive mentorship, training, and fieldwork experience as they pursue their master’s degree.   

Grace Jackson 

Having grown up in a small beach town in Southern California, Grace Jackson has lived her life surrounded by water.  

“This instilled in me the love for the ocean and later my scientific curiosity,” said Jackson. “I applied to this program to increase my scientific proficiency where I could learn about a different ecosystem and culture that I have not experienced before. I am so glad to be a part of this program.”  

Under the guidance of Tom Schils, Ph.D., Jackson will study crustose coralline red algae, specifically of the genus Lithophyllum.  

CCRA is a group of marine seaweeds that deposits limestone like stony corals. They serve several important ecological functions on reefs, such as building and cementing reefs together or serving as the preferred settlement substrates for coral larvae, which then further develop into adult colonies. 

Lauren Kallen  

Lauren Kallen applied to the Guam NSF EPSCoR GRA program due to the benefits and support that the program provides to its students. Kallen was born and raised in Illinois and earned her bachelor’s degree in marine biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz.  

Kallen’s advisor is Sarah Lemer, Ph.D., whose work focuses on the study of marine invertebrates. Over the course of the program, Kallen will conduct research on Drupella snails, carnivorous marine snails that feed on coral. Her research will focus on outbreaks of these snails on coral reefs because in high densities, these snails can quickly decimate a reef.  

I am very excited and grateful to be in this program, it is an amazing opportunity. I am very interested in outreach and giving back to the beautiful community in Guam,” said Kallen.   

Garret O’Donnell  

While looking for potential graduate programs, Garret O’Donnell found out about the Guam NSF EPSCoR program through his mentors from the University of Florida. 

Under the guidance of David Combosch, Ph.D., O’Donnell will study Leptoria, a genus of brain coral. O’Donnell said that he is interested in Leptoria’s population genetics, spawning behavior, and abiotic stress responses to factors such as heat and low oxygen.  

Since coming to Guam, O’Donnell said that he appreciates the UOG Marine Laboratory community.  

“I think everyone there has been super welcoming and super cohesive as a unit and that’s been really cool to see,” said O’Donnell. “Everyone seems to know what everybody else is doing and that’s not something you always see in science. A lot of the time, labs are kind of isolated from each other. I like to see that there’s a lot of camaraderie amongst the students and the faculty.”   

Andrew O’Neill  

Throughout his life, Andrew O’Neill found a love for the ocean. As he pursued his undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he wanted to specialize in ecology and conservation. Once he learned about the Guam NSF EPSCoR GRA program, he saw it as a unique opportunity to do research and help the environment.  

During the program, O’Neill will be advised by Atsushi Fujimura, Ph.D., and plans to focus on research the effects of sedimentation on Guam’s reef fish assemblages.  

“In my first semester here, I did some instructing with some of the undergraduate biology sections and through that, I learned the Guam has a huge sedimentation problem,” said O’Neill. “Lots of silt gets washed away from all the rains and the rivers and flows down to the coastal waters. I want to figure out what would be the worst-case scenario if we don’t fix this problem.”  

Xavier De Ramos  

Knowing that he wanted to find ways to help the island, De Ramos earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology at the University of Hawai’i, Manoa. 

“Towards the halfway point of my time in college, I started thinking about Guam – my home,” said De Ramos. “I remember having a lasting impression after I went snorkeling and I was just blown away about what I saw down there. That got me thinking about what kind of issues Guam is facing or if there was anything I could do to contribute to research regarding its coral reefs.”  

De Ramos will be advised by Ciemon Caballes, Ph.D., whose research focuses on ecophysiology as well as coral and echinoderm ecology.  

“I feel very excited about learning more through this program and my graduate courses because I want to give back to the island,” said De Ramos. “At the end of the day, giving back to the island is all that matters to me.”  

Groundbreaking delegation of UOG students set to present at largest diversity in science conference in the country

Alyssa Calalo 1

Over 30 Tritons will represent the University of Guam at the largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the country next week as the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) presents the National Diversity in STEM conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Student researchers funded under the National Science Foundation Guam Established Programs to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) and the Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science Supporting Emerging and Aquatic Sciences (INCLUDES SEAS) programs will take the stage to present the findings of their recent research projects.

“UOG is taking big steps to make STEM careers more accessible to our local students,” explained principal investigator Austin Shelton, Ph.D. “Supported by grants, our students will present their research at the national level and get exposure to hundreds of new career and scholarship opportunities.”

A total of five students from EPSCoR and four students from INCLUDES SEAS were selected from student submissions from all over the country to present their research, which is the largest number of student researchers ever accepted from UOG.

Through the grant-funded trip, students like Antoni Badowski, an undergraduate biology major at UOG and a Guam NSF EPSCoR student researcher, will have the opportunity to meet with students, mentors and teachers from around the world.

“I am very excited to go to SACNAS and present my research,” said Badowski. “This will be my first off-island conference and I look forward to gaining experience and networking with others in my field of interest.”

Badowski will present his research regarding the genetic barcoding of amphidromous shrimp species native to Guam. Amphidromous shrimps migrate between freshwater and saltwater. Once the barcoding is complete, photo documentation along with preserved specimens, tissue biopsies, and genomic DNA extracts will be entered into the UOG Biorepository. This study will allow more extensive genetic analyses to be conducted in the future and serve as a guide for effective conservation efforts. He is under the mentorship of Daniel Lindstrom, Ph.D.

Along with grant-provided funding and local scholarships from the Research Corporation of the University of Guam, about half of the student researchers were awarded travel scholarships by the SACNAS organization.

The SACNAS conference will be held from October 27 through October 29 and will be held in-person for the first time since 2019. The conference was held virtually in 2020 and 2021 due to pandemic restrictions.

Five students gain valuable experience through summer research program  

2022 PSU Photo 1

Over the course of eight weeks, five undergraduate students gained valuable scientific experience, discovered more about themselves, and explored different research areas through the NSF INCLUDES: SEAS Bridge to Ph.D. Program held at Pennsylvania State University.  

These student researchers include Louise Pascua, Gabriella Prelosky, Anela Duenas, Anna Aguirre, and Merry Remetira.  

For these student researchers, it was their first time participating in an off-island research program. The program was held from June to August 2022.  

“My experience during the summer was so much fun! I was able to do research on something I had zero experience in which was terrifying but also very enjoyable,” said Louise Pascua, a biology major and a 2022 Guam NSF EPSCoR student researcher. “It’s a little cliche to say, however I do believe that my love for science has been re-ignited. I made many life-long friends and built many professional relationships, while also finding myself.”  

During the program, Pascua was placed under the mentorship of Jason Rasgon, an entomology professor at PSU. For her independent research project, she focused on genetically modifying eye color in Culex tarsalis mosquitoes using ReMOT Control. ReMOT Control is similar to CRISPR technology however ReMOT Control injects the adults to send the gene cutting complex to the embryos rather than injecting the embryos directly, according to Pascua.  

Anela Duenas, a biology major and 2021 NSF SEAS research fellow, experienced some culture shock when it came to conducting research in a new environment.  

“This program made me realize that I am more interested in the ecological aspects of research after working with more hands-on activities in the greenhouse for my project,” said Duenas. “I also experienced a culture shock when first arriving to the United States as it was my first time. A culture shock not only because of a new location but also in science. It was incredible to witness the laboratories and equipment available to students at Pennsylvania State University. Overall, it was very eye opening and made me excited to be in this field.”  
 
Under the mentorship of Francesco Di Gioia, an assistant professor at PSU, Duenas studied alternative growing media for the production of microgreens.  

Over the course of the program, the student researchers faced challenges and research areas they were not familiar with all while gaining the skills and knowledge to become confident in their ability to adapt and persevere.  

“There was definitely a learning curve with certain aspects of my research just because there were procedures or techniques that I haven’t done beforehand,” said Anna Aguirre, a biology student and a 2021 NSF SEAS research fellow. “However, I did my part with taking notes and trying to be as proactive in learning as I can be and suddenly the learning curve was not so intimidating.”  

Aguirre studied plant pathology and environmental microbiology under Sharifa Crandall, an assistant professor at PSU. For her project, she looked at how soil steaming and later final beneficial and pathogenic amendments might affect plant growth.  

For one student, this experience helped them learn how to speak up when they need help. 

“My main challenge is that I have insecurities when it comes to what I know and what I can offer,” said Merry Remetira, a civil engineering student and a 2021 NSF SEAS research fellow. “This in turn can make me fear reaching out to a mentor and explaining what I really feel. I tend to just accept what is instructed of me and try not to question anything. I was also advised to stop apologizing so much, that to only apologize when responsibility is due. That was a truly enlightening experience and I will work on that challenge.”   

Remetira was mentored by Margaret Byron, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at PSU. For her project, she studied how oil-particle aggregates formed using a roller tank to simulate how particles would interact in the environment.  

For Gabriella Prelosky, a biology student and a 2021 NSF SEAS research fellow, being in the program helped renew her excitement for science and her future. 
  
Prelosky studied under Natalie Boyle, an assistant research professor at PSU. Her research project involved calculating the lethal dose curve of 50% of alfalfa leaf cutting bees using an insecticide compound known as acetamiprid in varying doses.  

“This experience most definitely has affected my goals. Before participating in the bridge program, I was almost certain I did not want to pursue a master’s degree after graduating next spring due to extreme burnout, but this program showed me both the highs and lows in a positive light. I now know that after a break, I am definitely going for a master’s,” said Prelosky. “My advice for this program, but also others, be confident in yourself. Things may not go how you want it the first time, but the more you fall, the more you learn!” 
 

Multi-agency ocean cleanup removes blue green algae 

DSC00570

The University of Guam Marine Laboratory led a multi-agency volunteer effort on July 7 to successfully remove blue green algae at the USO Beach in Piti.  

That day, volunteer divers and snorkelers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Park Services (NPS) joined the team from the Marine Lab in manually removing the algal blooms from the coral colonies in the area. 

Meanwhile, Guam Green Growth Conservation Corps and UOG Sea Grant and Center for Island Sustainability interns provided onshore assistance by sorting and sifting through the material collected from the ocean. 

Laurie Raymundo, director of the UOG Marine Laboratory and biology professor, said environmental conditions encourage the excessive growth of these long, hair-like algal blooms, “We’ve noticed years ago that seasonally, we got these blooms of blue-green algae of the genus Lyngbya and it tends to come into the water as soon as it gets warmer. Most blue green algae respond to high nutrient waters, which is most of Guam.” She added that the algae blooms smother the corals and cause tissue loss. 

The G3 Conservation Corps and CIS/SG interns separated fish and other marine creatures from the piles and squeezed seawater from the algae. The team collected the piles in buckets and then taken back to UOG to be used as plant and tree mulch. In total, the cleanup team collected and processed three 27-gallon buckets of algae. 

While hard at work, G3 Conservation Corps member Dulce Imbo described the task assigned to the onshore volunteers, “We are trying to remove the algae from channel under the water so that we can have the corals breathe a little easier because these algae are the ones that suffocate the corals. For the Guam Green Growth Conservation Corps, there’s about nine of us here today, accompanied by our interns in our work.” 

G3, is a public-private partnership created to achieve a sustainable future. Aligned with the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, G3’s efforts are designed to cultivate an ecosystem for transformative action to achieve a sustainable, prosperous, and equitable future for Guam. 

Bridge to Bachelor’s interns cap summer experience with poster presentation   

DSC04279
DSC04279

The Micronesia Summer Bridge to Bachelor’s Program culminated its 2022 cycle with a poster presentation by its summer interns in July at the University of Guam Microscopy Teaching & Research Laboratory. The presentations highlighted new species found in the Micronesia region.  

The four students were the first batch of program interns to participate on-campus as the University eases its COVID-19 restrictions. Yuji Chibana and Rhiden Moreno from Palau Community College presented a poster on “Palau Mangrove and Coral Reef Diatoms with Emphasis on Gyrosigma Regional Diversity.” Meanwhile, Jemalynn Iguel and Angel Santos from the Northern Marianas College presented on “Saipan Diatoms with Emphasis on Plagiotropis Regional Diversity.”  

Diatoms are single-celled algae found in oceans, lakes, and rivers. These microorganisms thrive in marine and freshwater habitats and produce 20 percent of the breathable oxygen on earth each year.  

Chibana and Moreno worked on several samples taken from mangrove and coastal areas in Palau and Yap.  Moreno said, “We found three species, two of which are new. This extends Palau’s library of Gyrosigmas from eight to ten.” The two species identified were the Gyrosigma variistriatum v2 and Gyrosigma bowtie. 

Meanwhile, the Saipan team found 12 Plagiotropis species from specimens collected in Saipan and 17 species collected from Palau. According to Iguel, samples extracted from the same site revealed diatom species that share similar characteristics, which supported the theory of regional endemicity.  

The students started their internship in June by gathering diatom and algae samples in several mangrove and coastal sites on Guam. The collected samples contributed to an ongoing diatom research supported by the National Science Foundation’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR).

Professor Emeritus of Biology Dr. Christopher Lobban and his team of EPSCoR and NSF INCLUDES SEAS Islands Alliance supported student researchers/mentors worked closely with the interns in analyzing the samples at the EPSCoR-funded lab. NSF EPSCoR Student Research Experience and NSF INCLUDES: SEAS Islands Alliance undergraduate student researchers Khazmyne Kawamoto and Monita Paul served as student mentors to the Saipan and Palau teams, respectively. 

The overall research project seeks to determine and document the native diatom species in the region, especially on Guam, CNMI, Palau, FSM, and the Marshall Islands. “Basically, what we are trying to look for is to look for a signal for regional endemicity. So, we are looking at species that occur here but not in other places,” Dr. Lobban said in an earlier interview about the overall project. 

The Micronesia Summer Bridge to Bachelor’s program offers opportunities to students from the Micronesian region who are interested in Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) research. Participants of the program receive a $3,000 stipend; comprehensive research training; faculty and near-peer mentorship; and travel, lodging, and food accommodations for those traveling to Guam.   

The UOG Center for Island Sustainability and UOG Sea Grant in partnership with the UOG School of Education oversees the program. It is funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation through UOG’s Inclusion Across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) Supporting Emerging Aquatic Scientists (SEAS) Islands Alliance Guam Hub.   

 

Musicians connect with community at G3 Makerspace  

G3 Workshop 2

Two Guam-grown musicians talked story about their roots and culture as part of the second installment of the Guam Green Growth Makerspace’s “Seed Talk Sessions,” a series of developmental opportunities offered by the facility in which industry professionals engage island community members to stimulate creativity and encourage local entrepreneurship. The event took place at the facility’s innovation hub in the CHamoru Village on July 1, 2022.  

Born and raised in Guam, Peter “Håle’” Cruz grew up listening to classic rock and eventually transitioned into creating reggae music. For five years, he played with local island band Table for Five. Upon moving stateside, Cruz joined Tribal Theory, a reggae group, and toured the United States, Guam, and Hawai’i. After departing Tribal Theory in 2019, he formed Håle, which focuses on Marianas reggae music and draws inspiration from the CHamoru culture and Guam.  

Shiabe “Bok” Pangelinan grew up in Yigo in a musically talented family. The son of the late Frank “Bokonggo” Pangelinan, a traditional CHamoru musician, Pangelinan played the local music scene with D.U.B. and Soul Vibes. Much of his music is inspired by his CHamoru heritage and culture.  

During their presentation at the G3 innovation hub, Cruz and Pangelinan shared guidance on how to be a successful musician on Guam. They discussed earning royalties, distribution, and general tips about the music industry.  

“I wanted to talk about the life and the struggle of being someone who left Guam and trying to make it happen for themselves,” said Cruz. “I think that’s really important. If it wasn’t for that part of my life and being with the CHamoru community here, I don’t think I would be here.”  

When asked about what advice they would give to aspiring musicians, Cruz and Pangelinan said to be driven and take risks when you can.  

“Whenever you play, keep in mind that you don’t know who’s going to be in that crowd,” said Pangelinan. “It can be the worst gig, but you shouldn’t dismiss them. I’d play in random bars and people would ask me for my number and I’d have a better gig set up. A lot of the times people are scared, but when you push yourself to a point where you know what’s going to happen, it’s going to happen. You can’t second guess yourself.”  

Skip to content