University of Hawaii at Hilo

Natural Sciences Division

Department of Physics & Astronomy

Kristen Laguaña

B.S. Astronomy, Minor in Physics and Japanese Studies (Class of 2016)


Clubs organizations:
  • University Astrophysics Club Secretary (SP13-SP14) and President (SP15), Japanese Student Association
Where you are now and what you're doing: 
  • I'm currently residing on the Big Island working full-time at Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory as an operator for the Submillimeter Array.
Places you have worked, interned or traveled to for your career: 
  • Academia Sinica for Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics
    - Student/Office Assistant (Oct 2015 - Mar 2017, Feb - June 2019)
    - Telescope Operator for Y. T. Lee Array (Mar 2017- Oct 2018)
  • Subaru Telescope
    - Laser Spotter (Sept 2015 - May 2016)
  • UH Hilo
  • - ASTR110 Teaching Assistant (SP15)
    - ASTR110L Lab Assistant (SP14-SP15)
Brief Bio:
  • My name is Kristen Laguana. I'm Chamorro, born and raised on the island of Guam. As a kid, I was interested in astronomy but didn't really think about pursuing it until I took a general astronomy course at the University of Guam. I then transferred to UH Hilo in 2011 to major in astronomy, and graduated in Spring 2016. Since then, I've been working in the astronomy field full-time. When I'm not working, I'm probably playing rhythm games on my PC or Splatoon 2 on my Nintendo Switch!
What attracted you to UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy?
  • At the time I transferred to UH Hilo it was the closest astronomy program to home. I also figured that, being from Guam, living on another island would make it easier for me to culturally adjust.
Advice for prospective/current students of UH Hilo Physics & Astronomy:
  • You’ll have an easier time in your courses if you start out with a strong math and physics background (I didn’t, and struggled a lot as a result). Get comfortable working with Linux/Windows/Mac OSs. Learn how to use the command line. Picking up a programming language (such as C, Python, Matlab, IDL, etc.) will be extremely useful down the line. Remember that no connection is too small. Lastly, don’t be afraid to ask questions or to ask for help in general! The faculty and staff in this department want you to succeed and are there to help you. Email: klaguana[at]hawaii[dot]edu

  • Kristen Laguana alumni
  • (Updated August 9, 2019)

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