Nancy D. Lewis
Year Graduated: 

Psychology Takes You Places!

After graduating from the Psychology Dept. in 1968, I spent several years as the Registrar at the College of the Holy Names in Oakland.  In 1972, soon after the birth of my son, Daren, I returned to UC Berkeley for graduate school, earning a MA in Geography in 1974, a MS in interdisciplinary Health and Medical Sciences in 1976 and my PhD in Geography in 1981.  The extended period between '76 and '81 was due (in part) to the fact that we built a 32' sailboat and spent 2.5 years sailing across the Pacific while I explored the human ecology of fish poisoning on a Fulbright Doctoral Dissertation Award.  Ciguatera is caused by a neurotoxin that accumulates in the flesh of tropical fish species - and my undergrad work in biological psychology was a great preparation for my doctoral and work.  

In 1981, I was recruited to the Geography Department at the University of Hawaii at Manoa - where I was the only woman on the Geography Faculty for 8 years.  I also spent 7 years as the Associate Dean of the College of Social Sciences and am now an Emeritus Professor of Geography at UH.  In 2001 I left UH, to become the Director of the Research Program at the East-West Center ( where I still lead the Program.  I have spent the last 30 plus years in the field in the Pacific Islands and more recently East and Southeast Asia looking at human ecology, health and development, gender, "healthy womanhood", climate change and health, and science for public policy.  

I was a Kellogg National Leadership Fellow in the mid- 1980's, served on the Fulbright Committee for Geography, a number of Editorial and other Boards (including of the UC Berkeley Alumni Chapter in Honolulu - where I met my current husband, Mike Herb, UCB Class of 1958).  I am currently president of a regional, interdisciplinary science organization, the Pacific Science Association (, am an elected member of the Society of Women Geographers, and have just been appointed to the new State of Hawaii Committee on Climate Change and Health.

When I retire, we plan a move back to the Bay Area where I hope to spend more time exploring my early California roots - I am an 7th generation San Franciscan.  Our wonderful combined family includes 4 children and 9 grandchildren.  All of my educational experiences at UC Berkeley prepared me for a wonderful professional and personal journey - one that continues!!!

An afterthought - the first time my name appeared on a publlished paper was after I had worked as an undergraduate research assistant with Psych Professor Irv Zucker on a project on sperm transport and fertility in rats!  His acknowledging an undergrad (unusual in those days) influenced my engagement with my grad students.