About C-Hub


The Center for Professional Development and Inclusive Excellence (C-Hub) provides the OIST community with a centralized place where:

  • faculty, students, postdocs, research staff, administrative staff, and administrative leaders can explore opportunities for personal and career growth;
  • evidence-based practices and research are applied toward professional development to support all careers in a diverse, equitable, and inclusive climate;
  • connections and collaborations can be created across and beyond the university.

C-Hub enacts its mission by engaging the diverse experiences, perspectives, and contributions amongst the broader OIST community to foster productive dialogue and exploration, and ultimately support OIST’s mission toward scientific and educational excellence.

Vision and Values

As a uniquely positioned professional development center committed to fostering inclusive excellence in a scientific graduate university, C-Hub serves an international community of faculty, students, postdocs, research and administrative staff, administrative leaders, and alumni. C-Hub enacts its mission through meaningful dialogue and synthesis with a community of colleagues and students across the university to create:

  • Interdisciplinary, inclusive, and collaborative environments that foster high impact outcomes for all, during and beyond their time at OIST.
  • Opportunities for exploration and experimentation informed by research and evidence-based practice.
  • Opportunities for intersections across the research units, administrative divisions, and the graduate school.
  • An appreciation for and focus on concepts and ideas— when initiating production- or outcomes-oriented work, we start by considering the intellectual and empathetic significance rather than the product.
  • Inclusive “design thinking” and “systems thinking” as methods and processes for approaching complex problems to support initiatives across the institution.


The logo for the Center for Professional Development and Inclusive Excellence is inspired by the seed pod of the indigenous sannin (muuchiigaasa) plant, or shell ginger. The seeds of the sannin plant are encased in a bright orange shell. Okinawans use sannin in traditional cuisine.

The C-Hub logo draws inspiration from the individual seeds encased in the sannin pod to represent the potential of every individual. Yet, seeds require nourishment and cultivation to grow and flourish. It is in this spirit that C-Hub aspires to bring our community together to create inclusive, productive environments for the ongoing development of all individuals. In so doing, we can foster the growth of future generations across our global community.

C-Hub is grateful for the collaboration and generous guidance of our OIST Eedee* Group colleagues for the inspiration of our logo. The Eedee Initiative engages the OIST community to further embrace local Okinawan culture and become an integrated part of the local society.

*Eedee means ‘working together’ in Uchinaaguchi, the Okinawan language. For further information about Uchinaaguchi, please visit this website.

Sannin seed pods

Sannin plant

C-Hub Team


Kathy Takayama (she/her)

Executive Director for Professional Development and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion



Kathy has over 20 years of experience in creating and leading innovations to develop engaging, inclusive, and productive educational environments for a wide range of universities across the world. She has collaborated with organizations including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Academies Fellowship of the US National Research Council, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and the International Society for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning on initiatives to build capacity for diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and has served as external advisor to governments and organizations nationally and internationally. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Kathy was previously executive director of professional development centers and professor of molecular biology at Brown University and Columbia University, and was also a faculty member at the University of New South Wales in Australia.

As the executive director of C-Hub, she leads the strategy and development of programs, services, and projects on pedagogy and course design, career development, DEI, mentorship & leadership, and collaboration & communication in partnership with her colleagues at the center and across OIST. As the executive director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she provides strategic leadership for promoting and supporting DEI at OIST, and developing the infrastructure needed to sustain DEI. In this role, Kathy leads institutional capacity-building for creating equitable and inclusive environments where all members are valued and provided with opportunities to thrive.

In addition to these key roles, Kathy also chairs the OIST Alumni and Associates Network (OAAN) initiative, and collaborates with administrative leaders, Divisions and units across OIST, the Faculty Council, the ORC, and the Student Council to support OIST’s academic and research mission. Kathy originally hails from New York City (and she misses her bagels) but her favorite state is Rhode Island. She lived in Sydney, Australia for half of her career, where she learned to appreciate Tim Tams and lamingtons (but still hasn’t learned the rules of cricket).


Ayumi Nagai (she/her)

Professional & Culture Development Specialist



With over 10 years of human resources experience in global financial institutions in Tokyo and the Asia Pacific, Ayumi has specialized in dynamic and engaging talent development expertise for professionals from diverse backgrounds in international, cross-cultural environments. After shifting her career to academia, Ayumi is enthusiastic about applying her background to facilitate exchanges across diverse members of the OIST community toward the enhancement of an inclusive and equitable culture at OIST. She works expansively across the university to support the professional development needs of administrative staff, and also collaborates with her C-Hub colleagues to develop cross-divisional programs and initiatives. Originally from Kyoto, Ayumi has heritage in Okinawa and enjoys traveling, reading, cooking, and outdoor activities with family and friends. 


Oksana Burduzhan (she/her)

Administrative Staff Assistant



Oksana joined OIST in September 2019, with previous corporate accounting experiences in the Ukraine and England. She has a degree in economics and holds a great passion for art. When she came to Okinawa with her family, she was curious to further develop her professional skills and has been providing a broad range of administrative support initially for the Postdoctoral Development section in the Faculty Affairs office followed by her transition to C-Hub. Her current role spans collaborative support for C-Hub’s professional development activities and administrative support for the Executive Director, as well as key coordination across OIST to support the development of the OIST Alumni and Associates Network (OAAN) to connect OISTers across the globe. Oksana loves making new connections and bringing people together, as she values the potential of positivity and the beauty of creative projects. Her artistic interests led to her curation of OIST’s inaugural community art exhibition, “Synergy”, which showcased the artistic and scientific talents of the OIST community to the Okinawan community and overseas visitors. Oksana appreciates Okinawa and spends most weekends by the sea or engaged in art-related activities.


Brandon Conlon (he/him)

Assistant Director for Faculty and Postdoctoral Professional Development 



Brandon completed his undergraduate education at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, in linguistics and philosophy, and while working as a lecturer at the University of Liverpool’s joint-venture university partnership with Xi’an-Jiaotong University in China, completed his MA in applied linguistics. Brandon served last year as Director of the Center for Teaching Innovation at D’Youville University in Buffalo, New York, an historically women’s college that is now a university specialized in applied health sciences. Prior to that, he was the head of the English for Academic Purposes Program and a senior lecturer at New York University’s joint-venture university campus, NYU Shanghai, a partnership with East China Normal University and the Shanghai Municipal Government. He started at NYU Shanghai as a founding faculty member in 2013. He has nearly 20 years of rich teaching experiences in international higher education environments. 

Brandon holds an EdD in higher education from the University of Liverpool, where he researched the Chinese students' conceptualization of liberal arts education at NYU Shanghai. His interests in professional development start with an eye to the way different stakeholders, while pursuing their own personal development, contribute to the overall learning of the organization, especially organizational identity dynamics in relation to organizational mission and values. He is also the founding editor of the website Liberal Arts Global Lens, which is currently in a partnership with the Pacific Alliance of Liberal Arts Colleges. Brandon is a member of the Professional and Organizational Development Network, Human Development and Capabilities Association, and the World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence. 

At OIST, Brandon will be working alongside the director to review professional development needs of faculty and postdocs, developing training curricula and providing consultations to meet these identified needs.  

Annual Reports


Inaugural Report, December 2021-February 2023