Fraps with Faculty Spring 2015

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The Spring 2015 Fraps with Faculty event was well-attended with over 70 students, advisors and faculty in attendance. Attendees checked in, helped themselves to MSE logo items, and then visited the buffet of sweet treats. Frappuccinos were available in four flavors, along with shamrock-shaped sugar, M&M, and red velvet cookies.

Each faculty panelist spoke for 15 minutes about their personal experiences, highlights of their time as undergraduates, and life post-graduation. A few highlights are below each speaker’s bio.


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Gerald Lau

Gerald Lau is an Assistant Faculty Specialist at the Department of Information and Computer Sciences, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mathematics in 1976 and a Master of Science degree in Information and Computer Sciences in 1978 from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. After graduation he worked 13 years in industry before making a career change to education. He has been with the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa for the past 23 years.

Words of Advice:

– Be challenged to see what you really like to do.

– Keep moving forward even if there are setbacks and try new things that might interest you.

– Don’t make money your priority when it comes to what you want to pursue.

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Kathryn Hoffman

Kathryn Hoffmann (PhD Johns Hopkins U.) is Professor of French and creator of the Freaks and Monsters courses at UHM. She does interdisciplinary work in literature, history, and the history of medicine. She has a Regents’ Medal for Excellence in Teaching, and involves undergraduates in teaching and research through internships. Her book Society of Pleasures won the Modern Language Association’s Scaglione Prize and she has held fellowships from the Camargo Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and others. Research and lectures have taken her to over a dozen countries. She particularly enjoys taking students to Europe to experience museums, art, and life abroad.

Words of Advice:

– “Life becomes a tissue of relationships.” Find professors that share the same interests as you and let them guide you towards the route you’d like to pursue. Take the initiative to get to know your professors.

– College is the only time in your life to allow you to decide and explore what you would like to do. After college, you won’t have that same flexibility in your life.

– In order to succeed, you must fail at times. Don’t give up and keep trying towards your goals.

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Mandy Westfall-Senda

Mandy Westfall-Senda currently serves as the Coordinator for New Student Orientation and Leadership Development Services, a faculty specialist position, in the Office of Student Life and Development (SLD).  Prior to joining SLD in 2011, she spent 4 years at Hawaii P-20 Partnerships for Education, a UH System initiative that seeks to strengthen the education pipeline from birth to college.  Serving as the Operations Manager for the P-3 Initiative, a $10 million grant that focused on literacy by grade three, Mandy learned much about educational policy and institutions of learning at different levels in Hawaii and on the Continent.  In addition to her years with University of Hawaii, Mandy was an adjunct faculty member at Hawaii Tokai International College where she taught American Studies courses, the Programs Director at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and the Exhibitor Coordinator and Comptroller for the annual Made in Hawaii Festival.  Mandy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Asian and Asian American Studies from Scripps College in Claremont, California, a Master of Arts degree in American Studies from UHM, and has completed all the required coursework for her PhD in American Studies, also from UHM.

Words of Advice:

– Get involved–find similarities/connections between your academics and co-curriculars that you could get involved in. Be able to balance between academics and co-curriculars.

– Be willing to put yourself out there. Take risks to be more involved.

– When you have the opportunity to talk to your professors, take it and get to know them.

Thank you to the faculty panelists, MSE committee volunteers and everyone who attended this event. Thank you to the Student Activity and Program Fee Board (SAPFB) for funding the Spring 2015 Panel Series!