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 of Hawai’i working full-time for Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA), Hawaii Operations as an operator for the Y. T. Lee Array Telescope.
Places you have worked, interned or traveled to for your career: 
  • On-campus: ASTR110 Teaching Assistant (SP15) and ASTR110L Lab Assistant (SP14-SP15) Off-campus: Laser Spotter, Subaru Telescope (Sept. 15 - May 16), Student/Office Assistant (Oct. 15 - Mar. 17) and YTLA Operator (Mar. 17 - Present), ASIAA Hawaii Operations
Brief Bio:
  • My name is Kristen Laguaña and I'm full Chamorro, born and raised on the island of Guam. I took an interest in astronomy at a young age; to me, the concepts were overwhelming but the bigger picture was fascinating. In 2011, I transferred from University of Guam to UH Hilo to study astronomy after realizing that I wasn’t really interested in any of the other subjects I took. I graduated in Spring 2016 and now work full-time for ASIAA as a telescope operator on Mauna Loa. When I’m not working you can find me watching anime, listening to Chon, or singing in a band called 82 Penn!
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 16, 2017)