Last Updated April 2020




Ilana has gone by the nickname Nimz for just as long as she's been interested in nature. Nimz grew up in Waimanalo on Oahu with arborist parents that love to dive. Subsequently nature has been at the forefront of her life and an inspiration to learn and travel.

Marine Biology had always been a career goal, so Nimz stayed on Oahu to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She designed her own major in Conservation Biology and Marine Science for a more tailored education of courses specific to her interests. Taking advantage of her love for unique wildlife and activities such as skiing and hiking, Nimz participated in a year-long international exchange to the University of Otago on the South Island of New Zealand, selecting courses in phycology and marine vertebrates. To figure out what awesome area of marine science she wanted to focus on, Nimz explored many pathways through jobs and internships during college. She became a scientific diver, worked at the Kewalo marine lab rearing nudibranchs, and interned at NOAA's Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program. Before her final semester, she volunteered for a summer on Kure Atoll in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands with the State of Hawaii.

The experience of biological research, active conservation and remote living was the perfect combination of science and adventure, and Nimz was completely hooked on the Bio-Tech lifestyle. Following her final semester at UH Manoa, she returned to Kure Atoll for a season with the Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program's Assessment and Recovery Camp.

Over the last seven years, Nimz has completed numerous research seasons in beautiful corners of the Pacific studying both seabirds and seals. She participated in seabird monitoring projects on South East Farallon Island off of California and on tiny Aiktak Island in Alaska's Aleutian Chain. Nimz worked with seabirds in the Main Hawaiian Islands as a technician for the Kauai Endangered Seabird Recovery Project, Oahu Offshore Islets Restoration Program and Oikonos Ecosystem Knowledge. For the last several seasons, she has led Monk Seal research field camps on Kure Atoll and Lisianski Island in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.

Nimz transitioned from just liking birds in to loving them- her appreciation for their incredible lives has grown through working and living amongst these fascinating and amusing animals. The understudied Christmas Shearwaters (Puffinus nativitatus) on Kure Atoll especially captured her interest and have become the focus of her Master's program research. She aims to further understand the foraging habits of this species while developing skills involved with data analysis and scientific writing to become a well-rounded research biologist.

In her free time, Nimz enjoys being under water and on the water, climbing trees, and painting all the animals she photographs from her field seasons.

Nimz won two awards at the 2020 Pacific Seabird Group Conference, in Portland (Oregon):

best student oral paper & people's choice award

Nimz defended her MSMS thesis in April 16, 2020.

After graduating Nimz plans to continue integrating her passion for art and science in a variety of ways.

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