UH West Oʻahu honors 11 graduates for outstanding achievement

University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu
Julie Funasaki Yuen, (808) 454-4870
Public Information Officer, Public Relations and Marketing Department
Posted: Jun 4, 2010

Eleven graduates of the University of Hawaii–West Oʻahu were recently recognized for outstanding academic achievements and exceptional service to the community. Each year, UH West O‘ahu faculty in the humanities, professional studies and social sciences divisions honor individual students who demonstrate extraordinary contributions in and out of the classroom.
“Our award winners showed their commitment to their studies as well as our communities,” said Gene Awakuni, chancellor, UH West O‘ahu. “These students serve as examples of leadership and excellence for their peers and our university.”
During the UH West O‘ahu spring 2010 commencement ceremony, Gerard “Jerry” Murphy of Aiea was recognized as the winner of the Humanities Writing Award for his outstanding achievements. Graduating with a concentration in philosophy, Murphy also has a master’s degree in nursing and is a war veteran with four children. He scored in the top one percent nationwide on the LSAT exam and has been admitted to the UCLA School of Law with a full scholarship. He is currently waiting for more admission letters from other top-ranked law schools nationwide. In addition to a record of academic excellence, Murphy also volunteered to tutor his fellow students in writing, study and test-taking skills.
Professional Studies
Wahiawa resident Andrew Kawada was recognized as the Outstanding Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management Student for his excellent academic achievements and commitment to national security and disaster preparedness. During his senior year at UH West O‘ahu, Kawada interned with the City and County of Honolulu’s Emergency Management Department where he provided valuable assistance to his unit. He also worked for the Navy under contract with Lockheed Martin providing special security services. Kawada recently accepted a five-year position with a contractor for the National Security Agency.
Kyle Wong of Waipahu won the Outstanding General Business Student Award. He has shown exceptional scholarship in all academic work and was in the top five percent of his class for all business administration courses, excelling in quantitative subjects. Wong has also taken time to serve his fellow students and the community by taking class notes for disabled students and participating in various service learning projects in the West O‘ahu community.
Honolulu resident Dr. Sharon Ong received the Outstanding Heath Care Administration Student Award for her exceptional academic achievement in pursuit of the certificate in health care administration. Dr. Ong is a private practice physician in Kaneohe and part-time staff physician at the UH Mānoa University Health Services and the Leeward Community College Student Health Center. Dr. Ong plans to continue her management training by pursuing an MBA.
Linell Pang of Mililani received the Outstanding Justice Administration Student Award for her exceptional achievements at UH West O‘ahu. Pang is a volunteer for Aloha United Way and plans to attend law school and continue working for the community in the field of Environmental Law, an interest fueled by UH West O‘ahu’s Administrative Law course. In addition to her bachelor’s degree in public administration with a concentration in justice administration, she also received an associate’s degree in paralegal studies from Kapiʻolani Community College.
Waipahu resident Michael Pasion won the Outstanding Marketing Student Award for his excellent academic achievement and active participation in the UH West O‘ahu Business Club. Pasion is the past co-president of the Business Club and was praised for his exceptional performance while completing his senior practicum project at Clear Channel Radio.
Honolulu’s Andrew Keiderling won the Outstanding Public Administration Student Award for his excellent achievements in and out of the classroom. In the public administration core course, “Public Communication Campaigns,” his group developed an outstanding "Street Smart" campaign that integrated elements of the criminal justice and transportation systems to raise the level of safety for pedestrians. His professor plans to submit the campaign plan to the City and County of Honolulu. While attending UH West O‘ahu, Keiderling served on full-time military active duty and graduated with an impressive 3.98 GPA. He plans to make a significant contribution by entering the public sector as a dedicated civil servant.
Celia Kuakini of Kapolei was named the Hawai‘i Association of Public Accountants' Outstanding Senior in Accounting for her academic achievements and service to the community. Kuakini acted in leadership roles in the UH West O‘ahu Accounting Club, such as treasurer, and with the UH West O‘ahu Free Application for Federal Student Aid service learning events, where she served as team leader assisting local families with completing the application to apply for college financial assistance. In addition, she volunteered for two tax seasons with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program assisting low-income families with preparing tax returns. Kuakini intends to pursue the Certified Public Accounting exam and focus her career in taxation.
The Hawai‘i Society for Certified Public Accountants Outstanding Senior in Accounting is Waimanalo’s Ryan Young. Recognized for his exceptional academic achievement, Young completed his bachelor's degree in business administration with a concentration in accounting while working full-time. He intends to continue his education by pursuing an MBA degree and fulfilling the requirements for licensure as a certified public accountant.
Social Sciences
Maui’s Brooke Rehmann was recognized as the Outstanding Social Sciences Student, Neighbor Island, at the UH West O‘ahu spring 2010 commencement ceremony where she was also the student speaker. Beginning her academic studies at UH Maui College, Rehmann graduated from UH West O‘ahu with a 3.87 GPA with a degree in social science with a concentration in early childhood education. She has an exceptional academic record and boasts a number of public policy achievements during her time at the University. Rehmann will soon begin her master’s degree studies at the Teacher’s College at Columbia University in New York and has future plans to obtain a doctorate in early childhood education with the long-term goal of affecting public policy.
Yumi Panui of Pearl City won the Outstanding Social Sciences Student Award for her excellent achievements in the study of psychology and sociology. Panui graduated with a 3.94 GPA and was recently inducted into Alpha Kappa Delta, the international honor society of sociology and is also a member of Psi Chi, the honor society of psychology. While at the university, Panui tutored students at the UH West O‘ahu No‘eau Center for Writing, Math and Academic Success and at the Leeward Community College Learning Resource Center. She will be leaving for Basic Combat Training for the National Guard and recently joined the Hawai‘i Army National Guard (HARNG) with a commission to become a HARNG Judge Advocate General officer. Panui plans to apply to the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law and the UH Mānoa clinical psychology program in fall 2011 where she would like to obtain JD and PhD degrees.
About UH West O‘ahu
UH West O‘ahu became a four-year, regional comprehensive university when it served its first class of freshmen in fall 2007. The university offers quality education, small classes and personalized attention at convenient locations. Construction is set to begin in August 2010 on the first phase of a new, state-of-the-art UH West O‘ahu campus in the City of Kapolei. It is expected to serve more than 2,750 students for spring 2012 classes. For more information, visit http://www.uhwo.hawaii.edu, http://www.twitter.com/uhwestoahu, http://www.facebook.com/uhwestoahu or call 454-4700 or toll-free (866) 299-8656.