Palani Akana, a resident of Koloa, was offered admission to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Columbia University in New York City.
He will begin in September as a candidate for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Environmental Biology.
As a Dean’s Fellow, Akana will receive a full-ride for the five-year doctoral program, including full tuition, health services and facilities fees and a stipend. The fellowship includes participation in the department’s professional apprenticeship, which includes teaching and research responsibilities.
Akana, 24, has already earned two degrees from Stanford University with a bachelor’s degree in earth systems and a master’s in Mmanagement science and engineering.
At Stanford, Akana participated in the Wrigley Field Program, a 12-week intensive field course for Stanford students conducted on the islands of Hawaii and Kauai.
Since graduating Stanford, he has interned for the Liko Na Pilina forest restoration project near Hilo and served as the course assistant for the Wrigley Field Program.
The scholar graduated as valedictorian from Sequoia High School in Redwood City, Calif., where he played viola in the school orchestra and was the top player on the varsity tennis team.