Pizza with Professionals Fall 2017

Our final event this semester is Pizza with Professionals!

Join MSE as we welcome the following UH Mānoa Alumni:


Kathleen Rhoads Merriam

LSW Hawaii Adult Mental Health Division, Department of Health Program Support Services

Christopher Chow

Financial Representative Wealth Strategy Partners | WestPac Wealth Partners

Christopher Chow is a doctor of people’s financial health. Born and raised in Honolulu, Chris graduated from Punahou School in 2005 and obtained his Bachelors of Science in Biology at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in 2009. He pursued his medical doctorate at Loma Linda University in Southern California before making a professional transition to finances in 2014. Chris is very much involved in the community. He is a proud member of the National Association of Insurance and Finance Advisers, a board member of the Punahou Alumni Association, and an ordained leader of the Central Seventh-Day Adventist Church. Aside from his professional life, Chris likes to talk with his fiancé Erica, a resident physician in California, travel to new cities, and try new places to eat at.


Kapiʻolani Ching

Alumni Relations Communications Coordinator

Kapi‘olani Ching is a graduate of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s School of Communications where she received both her BA (2014) and MA (2016) in communications. She currently works for the University of Hawai‘i Foundation as Alumni Relations Communications Coordinator, where she helps provide alumni relations programming and communications to all alumni and friends of the 10 campuses of the University of Hawai‘i System. Originally from Kaua‘i, most of Kapi‘olani’s current work involves producing and implementing communication and marketing strategies to build UH’s alumni relations program.

FWF Recap Fall 2017

Thank you to our panelists!

Jason Kenji Higa

On his quest to obtain a degree in Biology, here at UH Mānoa, Jason learned that college is not meant to be a “cookie cutter experience.” He learned that being a full-time student for four years straight was not he approach that best fit him. Jason took a gap year. He encourages students to be productive through internships and jobs, while they take a break from school. Jason says that time management is the key to being a successful student and the reality of adulthood. Remember, no single path is right for every student.


Karyl Garland

As an English professor, Karyl strives to teach the importance of skillful writing. In every job writing is involved and what sets a job candidate apart from the rest continues to be writing. “If you can care about writing well, with precision, you’re beyond everyone else who cannot in your field.” Writing can certainly be a powerful tool when done well.


Pia Arboleda

Born and raised in the Philippines, Pia has learned a great deal about the importance of education. Pia learned, through the heartbreak and misdirection in the young adult years of her life, “education is the only thing people cannot take from you.” Substance will set you apart from those focused on their charm, Pia says. Though you have every right to celebrate the smallest accomplishments, be mindful of the areas in which you can grow.

Fraps With Faculty Fall 2017

Featured Panelists

Karyl Garland

Lecturer Department of English Shidler College of Business

“Being able to work with an amazing number of students through both our University of Hawai‘i English Department and the Shidler College of Business is an honor for me,” states Karyl Garland. She has been teaching for over 26 years, the most recent 7 of which have been at UH. Her commitment is to helping others learn to write with power and precision. The courses Garland consistently teaches are English 100/100A: Composition 1, English 408: Professional Editing, and Business 209: Written Communication in Business. Essentially, she understands how writing well is essential for success regardless of one’s major or chosen profession. In addition to her status as a UH lecturer, Garland is a freelance writer and editor with dozens of stories and articles in local publications including two cover stories for HILuxury magazine.

Pia Arboleda

Associate Professor and Coordinator Filipino and Philippine Literature Program

Recipient of the 2015 Regent’s Medal for Excellence in Teaching, Pia Arboleda is Associate Professor and coordinator of the Filipino and Philippine Literature Program. She holds a Doctor of Arts degree in Language and Literature (major in Literature), a master’s degree in Language in Literature (major in Filipino) and a Bachelor of Science in Commerce (major in Marketing) from De La Salle University.

Prior to joining UH, she served as Visiting Professor at Osaka University where she taught Southeast Asian Culture, Philippine Literature, Language and History for almost five years. At UH, she teaches Filipino Translation Theory and Practice, Philippine Folklore, Philippine Travelogue: People, Places and Practices, Rizal’s Life and Writing, Philippine Food, Music and Rituals, among others. In Spring 2018, she will also be joining the UHM Honors faculty.

Her research interests include sexism in Philippine language, gender and literature, Philippine folklore and traditional cultures. She produces multi-media instructional materials. Her latest project, Ub-Ufok Ad Fiallig: Tales of Enchantment from Barlig, is an online resource that includes digital comic books narrated in Filipino with English subtitles, teaching modules and library resources. This is hosted by the UH Manoa Center for Southeast Asian Studies with additional support from the UH Open Educational Resources Office.

Jason Kenji P. Higa

Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Dept. of Anatomy, Biochemistry, & Physiology

Born in Hawai’i and raised on the west side of Oahu in Ewa Beach and Makakilo, Dr. Jason Kenji Higa is a UH alumnus, former Regents Scholar, scientist, and “local boy” who is now an Assistant Professor of Physiology at the John A Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM). He first earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at UHM, earned his Master of Science degree in Biology (with diversification in artificial intelligence) at the University of San Francisco, and then returned to Hawai’i to earn his doctorate in Cell and Molecular Biology from JABSOM.

During his graduate and postdoctoral studies, Jason published in several scientific journals and received awards such as the ARCS Scholar of the Year award. After obtaining his doctorate, Jason started lecturing at the medical school, which further stoked his interest and passion in teaching future health professionals. Last year, he joined the faculty at the main UH Mānoa campus, and now enjoys teaching physiology to undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.

SWS Recap Fall 2017

Sundaes with Students Recap

Here is some advice our panelists shared at the event!

Tzana Saldania

After a series of life changing events, Tzana, decided to follow her passion for art and switched her Cognitive Science Major to English. Tzana encourages students to keep in mind that not everyone has the privilege to receive a college education; use this time in your life to do what you are most excited about.

“It’s okay to be afraid,” use that fear to propel you into your full potential.

Sam Calumpit

For the first two years of college, Sam treated college like high school. She had built her friend group around familiar people and then began to realize that she was not growing. Sam wanted grow her network and began to join multiple business clubs in Shidler. This allowed her to meet and build relationships with those outside of her major. Joining clubs brings many responsibilities and the key is finding your balance, knowing your capabilities in order to best serve yourself and your club.

Bryce Au

Bryce stressed the importance of creating opportunities for yourself, whether it is taking on leadership roles or trying something new. Bryce exemplified this in his reflection on Study Abroad here at UH Mānoa and wants others to do the same as it can be an opportunity to discover your strengths in and out of the classroom.

Kelli Sunabe

As this is her super senior year, Kelli, reflected on her years of being involved on campus. Joining clubs and taking advantage of the little opportunities that presented themselves, Kelli has been able to create a friendly atmosphere here at UH Mānoa. Kelli reminds us that creating opportunities for the following generation of students is important as well. Without the help she received from the generation before her, Kelli would not be where she is today. She encourages us to adopt this mentality in order to foster the next generation of leaders here at UH Mānoa.

Sundaes With Students Fall 2017

Our first event of Fall 2017!

We will be featuring a panel of students who will share about their experiences at UH Mānoa.
Come out and enjoy their stories and FREE ice cream sundaes!

Wednesday, September 27th
QLC 411/412


Tzana Saldania

Tzana Saldania is a junior of the Honors Program at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. She started her college career majoring in Cognitive Psychology. For two years, she worked under Dr. Scott Sinnett and Dr. Andrew Dewald as a research assistant in the Perception and Attention Lab of Manoa. She also served as a teaching assistant for Dr. Dewald in Spring of 2016.

As of Fall 2017, however, she declared her major in English. Her focus being literary studies and psychological critique. She has been awarded the Myrle Clarke Award in Creative Writing. As well as publications in Verse Versi for Italian poetry and Horizons; the undergraduate journal of student work for creative nonfiction.

A writer at Ka Leo, she is the founder and curator of the “American Identity Project” which is on its second publication cycle this term.
She hopes to be a professor in Literary Studies or Comparative Literature.

Samantha Calumpit

“My name is Sam and I am currently a junior, pursuing a degree in Accounting. I plan on applying in the Master of Accounting Program, as well as, become a Certified Public Accountant. I am currently a Manoa Peer Advisor, Student Interchanger and a member of a couple clubs at the Shidler College of Business. I love to paint my nails, play the guitar, and try out new places to eat! I’m also from Waipahu, Hawaii and a graduate of Maryknoll High School. “

Bryce Au

Hey everyone, I’m Bryce Au and this is my final semester at UH Manoa, pursuing a degree in International Business and Management. I currently intern for Culture and work as a Student Fellow with the Office of Admissions in trying to establish the Manoa Scholars Club. In the Shidler College of Business was a member of International Business Organization. Currently living in the Salt Lake side of Oahu and graduate of Moanalua High School. Ask me about different opportunities you’re interested in!


Kelli Sunabe

Aloha! My name is Kelli Sunabe, I am a Senior majoring in Fashion Merchandising, Human Resource Management and International Business. In the Shidler College of Business, I am currently a Shidler Global Leader, the President of the Inter-Business Council, and Co-Director of Fundraising for Delta Sigma Pi: Rho Chi professional fraternity. In the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources, I am currently a CTAHR Ambassador and a member in the honor society Phi Upsilon Omicron. I have assisted the Marketing Director of Pearlridge Center over the past year, but am currently focusing on my studies and organization positions this semester. This year I am excited to be the Captain of Shidler’s NU-CUIBE case study competition team, we compete to represent the college in Boston in November.

The biggest takeaway I have learned from college is that taking chances and being uncomfortable allows you to grow, will open up new opportunities for you, and will ultimately help you to maximize appreciation for your present experience. Don’t be afraid, try it!

Pizza With Professionals Spring 2017

Our panelists:

Jeanna Chi

Jeanna graduated with her B.A. magna cum laude in Psychology with honors from UH Manoa. She was a first generation college student, student leader, researcher, and peer advisor. Jeanna’s undergrad experiences as a student leader and love of fashion led her to pursue a Retail Management Internship at Nordstrom. During her internship, Jeanna became top salesperson in her department selling over $2,000 of merchandise per day while learning what it takes to manage a business. After graduating from her internship, Jeanna was recruited to open the new Nordstrom Rack in Waikiki where she became a salesperson in Shoes and Mens. Since store opening in September 2016, Jeanna has become a store leader in rewards by single handedly signing up over 300 customers for the Nordstrom rewards program. Most recently, Jeanna received a full ride graduate teaching assistantship to earn her M.A. in Communicology at UH Manoa where she will also be a Peer Advisor Leader.

Jordan Fahmie

Jordan Fahmie is a civil engineer with AECOM, a global engineering and technology firm. Jordan started with AECOM in 2010 after graduating from the University of Hawaii at Manoa with a degree in Civil Engineering. Most of Jordan’s work involves the planning and design of municipal wastewater treatment facilities on Oahu.

Christopher Nguyen

Chris graduated from UH Mānoa where he majored in microbiology and minored in Japanese. He was born and raised on Oahu and attended McKinley High School. Previous work history includes Business Development Manager at Woodmen Financial Services, Inc., President of Woodmen Non-profit Chapter (the company’s non-profit arm), and Financial Advisor / Managing Director – Ka Financial Advisors. In his current position, he provides holistic advice to individuals and households regarding personal finance issues, financial management, investing, taxes, estate planning and just overall living a better life.

Thank you to our panelists!

Recap: Sundaes With Students Spring 2017

Thank you for coming out to our first event of Spring 2017! We hope you enjoyed hearing from our panel and the ice cream sundaes!

Sara Samiano

She is a Sophomore, active within the UHM community by serving as American Marketing Association’s Vice President of Communications. Sara shared about her desire to pursue art at an institution away from Hawaiʻi, but found a family within AMA. She is now on track to obtain a double major in Marketing and Management at the Shidler College of Business with a minor in Art! Sara talked about the difficulty of balancing work, school and internships, but getting involved is important. Finding clubs and other places to put your time and energy exercise your ability to prioritize. College is your time to “put yourself out there and put yourself first; be selfish because this is about your future.”

Joanna Galingana

Joanna stressed the importance of over coming the challenges you face. Working three jobs since the age of 16 to fund her college education was tough, but she exemplifies that you can achieve what you work hard for. Being the first in her family to pursue college, Joanna learned all aspects of this venture on her own. She initially pursued a degree within the College of Education, however, she is now finishing her degree in Family Resources! Joanna wants students to be proactive within the UHM community by joining clubs early to gain experience and meet people. This is your time away from the classroom to make connections. Joanna leaves some advice, “Don’t be afraid, be positive, never give up; asking stupid questions will get you answers!”

Tasha Haili-Silva

Tasha has a huge passion for helping others; pursuing a double major in Hawaiian Studies and Family Resources. Throughout college she battled with deciding if college was sincerely the route she wanted to take. When Tasha began Hawaiian Studies courses at Kapiolani Community College, she found passion for Hawaiian Studies because Hawaiʻi is home. After her transfer to UHM, Tasha decided to take on her double major because Family Resources is more related to what she wants to do with her career. Tasha stresses the importance of making friends in your classes because those are the people you will graduate with. Without her friends, Tasha is convinced she would have dropped out of college; they held her accountable when it came to her education.

Pizza with Professionals Fall 2016


Clarence Bermajo
Clarence Bermejo was Born in the Philippines and moved to Hawaii when he was one. He is a proud Waipahu High School graduate. Received his Medical Technology degree from University of Hawaii at Manoa and his Masters in Public Health from George Washington University. Been in the medical field for roughly 10 years going; 5 years as a certified nurses’ aide and 5 years as a medical technologist. Currently Clarence is the Medical Technology Supervisor at Castle Medical Center.

-You want to know what kind of person you want to portray yourself as!
-Learn how to study! Learn how to learn!
-It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. START MAKING CONNECTIONS.
-Do not be a consumer of society, be a contributor!

Sarah Pitts
I graduated in 2006 from UHM, majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
During the summer of 2006, I interned at Spirent Communications, then started my long-term career as an engineer at Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard (PHNS) in the Nuclear Test Engineering Division.
The program that I was hired into had a rigorous training program where I became a fully qualified Shift Test Engineer (STE) after two years of employment.  From there I worked as an STE for a little over two years, then transferred to the technical writing branch within the same division.  I was assigned as lead for a first-time job at PHNS and saw it through successfully.  I stayed in the technical branch for about 3 years before taking a position as Branch Head of the Administrative Branch within the Nuclear Test Engineering Division where I oversee divisional workload vs. resources, metrics, self-assessments, staffing and hiring support, and any other additional administrative duties assigned that support the execution of work required of the division.

-Take a conflict resolution course!
-Be open to flexibility: things in life; things at work. Adjust to what life throws at you
-Humility! We all start with no experience and continually build our way up. Be okay with starting small!

Chris Chow

-What you put into college is what u get out of it. Get involved!
-You’ll find that when you get involved and try things you haven’t tried, you meet a lot of people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise.

Mahalo to our Panelists!

Sundaes with Students Fall 2016



Megan Tabata

Megan Tabata is currently a senior pursuing concurrent degrees in Marketing and Women’s Studies. She works on-campus as a communications assistant for Hawai‘i P-20 Partnerships for Education and recently completed a marketing internship with Nella Media Group. After transferring from a small liberal arts school in Washington, Megan decided to make the most of her college experience and become heavily involved both on campus and in her community. She formerly served as the 2016 Event Chairperson for Relay For Life of UH Mānoa and co-founded Planned Parenthood Generation Action. She currently serves as Vice President of Professional Development for the American Marketing Association and Public Relations Chairman for Phi Mu Fraternity. She is also a member of National Society of Collegiate Scholars as well as community organizations Ad 2 Honolulu, Bark For Life, and Planned Parenthood Young Leaders. In her free time, she enjoys reading, thrift shopping, and exploring unique and underrated events.

Panelist Advice:

  • Everything is going to work out in the end.
  • Joining clubs makes college enjoyable. Clubs help you to meet people, learn new things, and feel well-rounded.
  • Self and health first.
  • Do what you love. Find good people to motivate and challenge you.
  • Use your first two years to really explore and take GenEds to find your niche.
  • Get out there! Meet people, not just peers, but also professionals. It might end up in an internship.

Brianna Fujii

Aloha! My name is Brianna Fujii. I was born and raised in Ewa Beach, HI. I am a senior majoring in Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science: Health and Exercise Science in hopes of becoming a sports psychologist. I am a Peer Advisor Leader at the Manoa Advising Center. When I’m not on campus I’m also working at the Kroc Center of Hawaii in Kapolei (not the shoe store, it’s a health and wellness center). In my free time I enjoy hiking, doing yoga, gardening, and spending time with my two dogs. Watching Netflix and trying new yummy food are also some of my favorite hobbies!

Panelist Advice:

  • Stay balanced between school, personal life, and health.
  • Schedule some breaks between classes. Itʻs not like high school. 8:30 AM class will seem early.
  • Donʻt skip classes because sometimes instructors will mention things that are not in the powerpoint or textbook.
  • Join a club or get involved in your major. It helps you get to know people, which is really useful.
  • Surround yourself with motivated friends.
  • Itʻs okay if it takes you more than four years so long as you have a direction and passion for what you are studying.

Maximo (Tony) Mejia

My name is Maximo Mejia and I am a junior working towards my BS in Computer Science. I am also the General Manager for University of Hawaii Productions, the student-run media organization that creates videos promoting the University’s different clubs, sports, events, and much more. I was born in New York City, but spent a little under half of my life going to school in the Philippines. I graduated from high school here in Honolulu’s Roosevelt High School.

Panelist Advice:

  • Networking and talking to people, and not just the people in your major is important. For example, getting internships.
  • Look for a career then find a major that will help you get there.
  • Take a class that you find enjoyable if your other classes are stressing you out.
  • Time management is key. Use your time wisely, for example study in advance and do homework or something productive.
  • “Just because your class starts at noon, it doesnʻt mean your day has to start late. Start your day early.”

Pizza with Professionals Spring 2016

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Everett Ohta

Everett was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi.  He attended UH Mānoa for his undergraduate studies, graduating with a B.S. in Global Environmental Science and a B.A. in Economics.  Four days after submitting his GES undergraduate thesis, Everett began orientation at the William S. Richardson School of Law at UH Mānoa, later earning his J.D., with a Certificate in Environmental Law.  After serving as a law clerk following graduation, Everett now works as the Lead Compliance Specialist at the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, where he conducts advocacy work to protect the rights and practices of Native Hawaiians, as well as Hawaiʻi’s natural and cultural environment.  As money and scheduling allow, Everett loves to travel.  One of his favorite trips was a three-week barbecue road trip through the Mid-West and Southern U.S. that he and his wife took shortly after completing the Hawaiʻi bar exam.

– Understand yourself! Keep trying to develop as a person.
– Take advantages of opportunities that you have. Balance school, work, and social life while still keeping your eyes on your prize.
– Make sure you have a good foundation of experiences to draw on.


Blaine Namahana Tolentino

Blaine Namahana Tolentino grew up in Kailua on the east side of Oʻahu. She works at the University of Hawaiʻi Press and graduated from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in English. Blaine has worked as a writer for many publications in Hawaiʻi, including Flux, Mana, and Lei. Committed to the production and preservation of both scholarly and regional knowledge in Hawaiʻi, Blaine has worked as a Hawaiian cultural consultant, communications manager, bookseller, and legislative aid for the Hawaiʻi State Senate.

– Pursue your goals! You’ll have so many strange opportunities that will present itself without your intention. Realizing them and observing how it effects you positively or negatively is important.


Jenny Tanaka

Jenny Tanaka is a native to Hawaii, born and raised in Kailua, O’ahu, which is where she still resides with her husband and two children. She graduated from University Lab School, then followed her passion in the field of education. Jenny received her undergraduate degree in Elementary and Special Education from UH Manoa. Then pursued and achieved a Masters degree in Educational Technology from UH Manoa, College of Education. She currently works at Hawaii Gas, serving as the Learning & Development Manager. Jenny enjoys paricipating in ocean sports; surfing and canoe paddling. In fact, she had the privilege to cross the Kaiwi/Molokai channel three times in the Na Wahine O Kekai canoe race and Canoe sailed from O’ahu to Kauai.

– Do your work first, and then go out and have fun!
– Don’t wait until your fourth year in college to get experience. Teach out to your professors and resources the University offers to get those experiences.
– Everything is changing around us, we all have to change, adapt, and adjust in order to grow.

Past Panelists