Jim's Open Road
U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaiian Volcano Observatory (HVO)
My heart would always beat a little faster when we’d come across some sort of lava flow.
- In high school, he was interested in science; the “popular” field at the time was oceanography, so he decided to study that.
- He went to the University of Southern California, where the introductory oceanography course plan included a geography class.
- Right away, he was hooked on geography; he loved being able to study a rock formation and see what it’d been through.
- While he was in California, he realized how lucky he’d been to grow up in Hawaii, such a geographically unique spot.
- After interning with the U.S. Geological Survey in Denver, he returned to Hawaii.
- He earned his Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa, then joined the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory.
- In 2004, he was named the 19th scientist-in-charge of the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory—the first of Hawaiian ancestry.
- After serving as scientist-in-charge for ten years, he transitioned back into a research position as a geophysicist.