President / Co-Founder
Michelle Crisostomo is the owner of GU Hydro, a hydroponic systems and supplies company serving the local community by providing customers the tools and support they need to start their own hydroponic gardens. She also plants with her father Dave, owner of Village Micro-Farm, Guam’s leading producer of Microgreens. She is serving her third year on the Board of Directors for the Guam Women’s Chamber of Commerce currently as their Treasurer and chair of the Finance Committee. Her passion for progressive growth of household food security for her family and our communities, and empowering women with the knowledge and skill set to be self-reliant and operate their own self-sustaining farms was what planted the seed for Guåhan Sustainable Culture.
Vice President / Co-Founder
Love of gardening runs in her family. Marlyn’s family were farmers in the Philippines. After they migrated to Guam, her mom grew ornamental plants while her dad cultivated vegetables in their back yard. Her dad grew enough vegetables for personal consumption and for sale to roadside vendors to supplement their income. One of her favorite memories growing up was helping her Dad pick tomatoes and red hot peppers “donne”.
She has two grown children who started taking an interest in growing plants after she gave them as gifts. Kevin, 22, is nurturing his first cactus. Kristin, 24, also received a cactus for her birthday. Marlyn figured that cacti were the best plants to see if her children had inherited the “green thumb genes” that seem to run in her family. Kristin began experimenting with hydroponics with the roots of onions she used for garnish and has met with success.
Marlyn worked at Ernst and Young for 25 years and while there she helped organizations obtain nonprofit status with Guam Department of Revenue and Taxation and the Internal Revenue Service. She served as an officer with several 501(c)(3) organizations including KPRG Public Radio, Guam Basketball Confederation and Guam National Golf Federation. Most notably she continues to be on the board of the Guam Junior Golf League after more than 18 years serving in various capacities. She worked at St. John’s School, also a 501(c)(3) organization, as Director of Finance and Operations.
Her work with nonprofits inspired Marlyn to set up Oceanic Ascent Education as a 501(c)(3) organization. It was dormant, until recently when she was speaking with her good friend, Michelle, who is as passionate about gardening as she. They started talking about their love of gardening to make a difference on the island- the result- Guahan Sustainable Culture.
If not working in her garden, Marlyn is lounging with a book or on her iPad reading and listening to podcasts in her favorite genres – personal finance, philosophy and self help books – especially on gardening. One of her favorite quotes is from the Roman philosopher Cicero – “If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.”
Kristin Oberiano is a history PhD student at Harvard University, studying in the history
United States in the Pacific, with specific attention to Guam and the Philippines. Kristin is writing her dissertation on relationship between Filipino migration and indigenous Chamorro self-determination on Guam in the 20 th century. She will examine the development and change over time of the intimate connections between militarization, settler colonialism, racial capitalism, and indigeneity in United States Pacific empire.
Born and raised to Filipino parents on the island of Guam, Oberiano became aware of the lack of Guam history in American textbooks in her primary and secondary school education. Determined to contribute to Guam history, she earned a BA with honors and distinction in History and American studies at Occidental College. She published her American Studies senior thesis, “Addressing American Empire in the Pacific: Chamorro-American Identity and Filipino Settler Colonialism in 20 th Century Guam,” in the Undergraduate Journal of Micronesia with the University of Guam. At Harvard, Oberiano is a graduate student coordinator of the Asian American Studies Working Group and the co-chair of the coordinating committee of the Harvard Graduate Student Conference on International History (Con-IH), for the themes “The Pacific in the World” and “Militarization: Methods, Approaches, & New Directions.” Her research has been supported by the Ford Research Fellow Grant at Occidental College, Harvard Asia Center Philippines Fund, the Harvard History Department, the Harvard University Native American Program, and the Harvard Weatherhead Center Initiative on Global History.