Hawaii Community College student Edward Bufil has been named the 2014 Coca-Cola New Century Scholar for the state of Hawaii.
Bufil was one of 51 community college students from the United States, Canada and American Samoa to receive the award from a pool of more than 1,700 nominees.
Bufil, of Pepeekeo, is a student in HCC’s Tropical Forest Ecosystem and Agroforestry Management (Forest TEAM) program.
The New Century Scholars Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges.
New Century Scholars are the highest-scoring students in each state, plus one student from Canada and one additional student chosen from among one of the remaining seven sovereign nations where Phi Theta Kappa is represented internationally.
Each scholar will receive a $2,000 scholarship and be presented at the American Association of College Presidents (AACC) Convention in Washington, D.C. In naming the New Century Scholars, judges considered grades, leadership, activities, and the ways students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.
Bufil, who aspires to be a park ranger, has participated in many service-learning projects related to conservation and reforestation, including planting native species in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and Hakalau National Wildlife Refuge. He also obtained a student hire position with the U.S. Forest Service in which he assisted with research on biological control of invasive species. As a student hire with the Natural Resources Management Division of Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, he assisted with the propagation and planting of rare and common species of Hawai‘i.
Bufil has also held the position of vice president of the Forest TEAM Club and participated in beach clean-ups, nursery work, greenhouse construction, and has attended various conferences, workshops and festivals.
Bufil plans to graduate from HCC in May with his Associate in Science from the Forest TEAM program as well as an Environmental Studies Academic Subject Certificate. He plans to continue his education at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, majoring in Biology: Ecology, Evolution and Conservation track.