Marco Leon | Staff Writer

Keanu Rochette-Yu Tsuen is a 20-year-old bio-engineering major from Faaʻa, Tahiti, French Polynesia. In Fall 2018, Rochette-Yu Tsuen began to conduct his own research project. 

“It was my first time doing research that was my own,” Rochette-Yu Tsuen said. “It was supposed to be a botany-based project that was to be a semester long, but it turned out to be a year and a half.”

Rochette-Yu Tsuen’s research project involves the use of the Naupaka Kahakai plant by extracting a compound that could be used in sunscreen. His hope is to reduce the damage to coral reefs caused by current sunscreens on the market. What he has found to be enjoyable was that the project applied microbiology, chemistry and marine biology concepts and skills.

Rochette-Yu Tsuen has attended three conferences: the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) in Arizona, National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Georgia, and the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference (HCC) in Honolulu. All of which he presented a poster showcasing his data. He won the “Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation” award at HCC. Rochette-Yu Tsuen will be presenting at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Honolulu on Oct. 31.