For Seabury alum Nathan Withers, following his passions led him to success

Owen Meadows, Staff Writer

As a Seabury Hall graduate, Nathan Withers has used his education as a guide to becoming one of Maui’s most important electrical engineers and biologists.

Withers grew up on the island of Maui and attended Emmanuel Lutheran for elementary school and began his journey at Seabury Hall as a middle schooler. He continued this journey all the way through high school until he graduated in 1992.

Back in the early 1990s, Seabury Hall was a much different school. For one, the drama department used the cafeteria for plays and performances. However, the biggest difference is the fact that students stayed at the school during the week and boarded in the now unused dorms. “I remember the late night view of Kahului from the soccer field. It was really cool to see all of the lights spread out below you,” said Withers.

While attending Seabury Hall, Withers was influenced by his technology teacher Harold Miller. “He had two masters and a PhD, and was the mad scientist of Makawao,” said Withers. “He was a maker before maker was even a word.”

Inspired by Miller’s teaching, Withers would go on to study science and engineering in his later years. “Engineering is difficult but very rewarding. Once you get past the math it allows you to do things and predict things you wouldn’t be able to otherwise,” said Withers.

After graduating from Seabury Hall, Withers first attended the Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. “I was there for five years. I actually got two degrees, one in Biology and one is computer science.” After that, Withers spent some time working as a computer programmer in Austin, Texas. He then returned to school at the University of Houston, getting a degree in electrical engineering.

Wishing to continue his education, Withers then attended the University of New Mexico where he earned his Masters and PhD in electrical engineering. “Its funny, my PhD dissertation had nothing to do with electrical engineering. It was nanotechnology based, but it also dealt with radiation biology and treating cancer.”

While writing his dissertation, Withers returned to the island of Maui for his brother’s wedding. “I was gone for fifteen years and when I came back I thought, ‘Oh my god, I have to get back here,’” said Withers.

Since returning to the island, Withers first found work at HNu, a maui photonics energy company. “I actually just showed up at their door with a resume,” said Withers. He specifically works for HNu-Nanopoint a division of HNu that specializes in live cell imaging systems. “We are able to look at cell’s over long periods of time. We are actually able to make time lapse movies of cell’s moving around and dividing and things like that,” said Withers. His work at HNu mainly draws upon Withers’ expertise in biology.

Alongside his work at HNu, Withers is also a lecturer at the University of Hawaii Maui Campus. “I teach classes in microbiology and optoelectronics,” said Withers. His work at the university also gave him a chance to work alongside Seabury Hall by providing the school with various tools and information not readily available.

“Dr. Withers, essentially out of the goodness of his heart, helped foster scientific curiosity in the students. We were able to use a machine from HNu that helped us to test and monitor effects on the cells we were studying,” said Seabury Hall biology teacher Cameron Craig.

Outside of work, Withers found a passion for paddling. “I used to bike a lot in New Mexico, so when
I came back I needed something else. I ended up joining Hawaiian Canoe Club.” Paddling has since become one of Withers’s passions. “I spent some time in the Novice B, and I’m actually now steersman for Novice A,” he said.

Following his time at Seabury Hall, Withers has made a name for himself. He pursued his passions and found work in something he enjoys. He has pursued this passion to its full extent and is truly successful in his endeavors.