Helen Turner

  • Vice President of Innovation, Chaminade University

Dr. Helen Turner is Vice President for Strategy and Innovation, and Professor of Biology at Chaminade University, She is also an affiliate faculty of the John A. Burns School of Medicine. Dr. Turner is a biology researcher and former (2007-19) Dean of Natural Sciences at Chaminade. She has been the primary architect of Chaminade’s decade-long STEM transformation into a center of excellence for undergraduate science preparation, especially in fostering pipelines for students who have been historically disenfranchised from STEM or who face significant socioeconomic or cultural barriers to inclusion.

As of 2018, 52% of Chaminade’s STEM graduates enter graduate school and 80% retain in STEM jobs. Native Hawaiian retention at Chaminade has attained 90.5% under Dr. Turner’s tenure, and the Native Hawaiian STEM Scholar program she developed (The Ho’oulu Program) is associated with 96% retention and a 100% graduation rate.  Most recently she initiated Chaminade’s Data Science Center, including Hawaii’s first Data Science undergraduate degree, associated Certificate programs, a vibrant Summer Immersion course, recruitment of new faculty and renovation of a state of the art 2000 sq. ft Data Science facility on the Chaminade campus that offers decision support for partner organizations.

Dr. Turner has an extensive portfolio of NSF, NIH, DoD and Foundation funding, notably including an NSF INCLUDES on Data Science, co-PI status on the Hawaii EPSCoR, and NSF S-STEM and AISL scholarship and community engagement grants, respectively. She is also the PI of Chaminade’s prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Inclusive Excellence program. Chaminade’s Data Science Center and the HDSI are close partners, and Dr. Turner will serve as an Advisory Board member for HDSI.