Recieving a warm aloha (hello) and e komo mai (welcome) to Hawai’i!

View from plane to Hawai’i; photo by MyLynn Phan.

Most people travel to Hawai’i to tan on beaches and have the best experiences of their lives. My journey here is similar, except that I’m tanning from long hikes across old lava flows and the volcanic caldera floor.

MyLynn Phan, MIS Intern 2019;
photo by MyLynn Phan

My name is MyLynn Phan and I am a student at UC Davis, pursuing a B.S. degree in Community and Regional Development with minors in Education and Religious Studies. I am passionate about promoting education on sustainability and environmental justice, as well as issues on social inequities and inequality. This summer, I am thrilled to be working at Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park as a Science Communication Assistant, where I am developing new K-12 curricula on Kīlauea’s 2018 volcanic eruption.  

Flying across the Pacific Ocean from sunny California to rainforest Hawai’i was a dramatic change. When I arrived, I was greeted by my future supervisor, Jody Anastasio, who received me with a beautiful lei. The air was extremely humid and sticky in the outdoor airport and even moreso the further I got from AC. Luckily for me, Jody informed me that the park was located at 4,000 ft altitude — high enough to escape the humidity.

Price of Fresh Nectarine; photo from USDA 2016.

My first shock came when we decided to grocery shop before driving back to the park. I guess living on an isolated island in the ocean has pros and cons, and one of those cons is outrageous grocery prices. I almost booked my flight back home when I saw that white nectarines (my favorite fruit ever) were listed at $4.99/lb. Did you know that the average price of nectarines in America was $1.88 per pound in 2016, according to USDA? Well, Jody convinced me to stay and ever since then, my journey has been relatively stable.

After arriving home late at night, I was finally able to rest and unpack. In the future, I would soon meet my housemates, John and Susan, meet the rest of the park rangers, and also fall in love with Hawai’i. Stick around to read more on my paradise adventure!


MyLynn is currently pursuing a B.S. in Community and Regional Development and minors in Education and Religious Studies from the University of California, Davis. When she is not getting hopelessly lost in the wilderness during her backcountry excursions, MyLynn can be found flameworking reusable glass straws at her University Craft Center or picking flowers bouquets at the Student Farm. She is passionate about sustainability and environmental justice, and hopes to become an advocate for environmental protection through future involvement in governmental policy and legislation. Currently, she works as a Resident Advisor in the student dormitories, where she mentors and guides incoming first year students at UC Davis. MyLynn’s experiences gained from working with and serving the community around her has encouraged her to continue a career path centered around people and the natural environment.

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