Pizza with Professionals Fall 2018

We look forward to hosting our final event of the semester!

MSE is delighted to have the following guest speakers:

Puna Sabagala

Puna Sabagala was raised on the Leeward coastline of O’ahu in the moku of Wai’anae.  He graduated from Kamehameha schools in 1998.  At the University of Hawaiʽi, he was a first-generation/non-traditional student that earned his BA in Art Studio/Photography and then went on to earn his Master of Public Health degree specializing in Epidemiology. His experiences as a first-generation/non-traditional student was the driving force behind his interest in helping other students reach their full potential. As an undergrad and grad student, he worked as a Mānoa Peer Advisor for four and a half semesters.  Currently, he works for two projects in the Myron B. Thompson School of Social Work.  He serves as the Project Manager for the Impacts of Social Proximity to Bias Crime Among COFA-migrants in Hawaiʽi project.  And is also the Project Assistant for the Hawaiʽi Child Welfare Education Collaboration (HCWEC).

Taysia Gomes

Frap with Faculty Fall 2018

Now that we’ve heard from some of UH Manoa’s students, we have prepared a panelists of faculty to share their insights on a successful experience as a student here at UHM.



Dr. Siobhán Ní Dhonacha

Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and the first in her family to earn a degree, Dr. Siobhán Ní Dhonacha has enjoyed working with and teaching diverse students in institutions such as Western Washington University, New York University, and the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

A screenwriter, playwright, and fiction writer, Dr. Ní Dhonacha was awarded the Diamond Head Theatre’s Burnett/Selleck Scholarship, and was the 2010 UHM Page to Stage Essayist.

Committed to lifelong learning and continuing education, Dr. Ní Dhonacha completed a COLT Graduate Certificate in online learning and teaching from the UHM College of Education, has earned a PhD from the UHM College of Education entitled, “The Ethics of Care as a Framework for Higher Education Philosophy and Implemented Policy: Can Mentoring Microconnections Produce Powerful Macro Effects?”, and a Master’s of Fine Arts in Dramatic Writing and Theatre from the UHM Department of Theatre and Dance. Dr. Ní Dhonacha was honored and privileged to be invited to serve as a Student Marshall for both graduation ceremonies.

Dr. Ní Dhonacha currently serves as a UHM Honors Program Faculty Specialist/Advisor, and developed and teaches the innovative Honors 333 Experiential Learning and Scholarly Engagement Writing Intensive online course, advises the Regents and Presidential Scholars (RAPS), the Doctor of Medicine Early Acceptance Scholars for Honors, and has served as the Honors Faculty Advisor to the Honors Program Student Organization and RAPS Student Organization.


Dr. Kelly Aune

Kelly Aune has been a faculty member at UHM in the Department of Communicology for 30 years. About half of that time I have spent in administrative positions. Now, at the back end of my career, I get to be a plain vanilla professor. The classes I teach and the research I do focus on how the process of communication works and why doesn’t it work with Siri and Alexa.


Dr. Julie Walsh

Dr. Julie Walsh is an associate faculty specialist at the Center for Pacific Islands Studies. She advises undergraduates, teaches courses, and oversees the development and assessment of the BA curriculum in Pacific Islands Studies, including service learning. Her research and expertise involve American adoptions of Marshallese children, Compact of Free Association migration, and Marshallese understandings of the US-RMI relationship. Her current interests include impactful pedagogies, including service learning, civic engagement, and internships; and advancing multimedia and interdisciplinary teaching resources for Pacific Islands studies at all levels . Walsh is the founding editor of the Teaching Oceania digital textbook series. She is also an author of the Marshall Islands’ first high school history textbook, Etto nan Raan Kein: A Marshall Islands History (2012). She recently worked with Hawaii State DOE to revise 7th grade curriculum standards for Pacific Islands Studies, which will be implemented in Fall 2019.

Dr. Denise Nelson-Hurwitz

Dr. Nelson-Hurwitz’s journey to Manoa began about a half mile from campus. She was born in Honolulu and raised in a house just a few blocks away from campus. A graduate of Maryknoll School, she walked on to the UH Mānoa campus as the first member of her immediate family to attend college. School took priority as Dr. Nelson-Hurwitz worked multiple jobs to support herself as a economics major and pre-med student. During her junior year, she was introduced to public health in an Honors seminar focused on medical history. Following graduation with a BA in economics, minor in biology, Dr. Nelson-Hurwitz applied for both medical school and an MPH (Masters in Public Health) program in epidemiology. After an initial rejection from JABSOM, she pursed her masters degree in epidemiology at UHM and later decided on a route to a PhD in Microbiology, rather than re-applying to medical school.
For the past five years, Dr. Nelson-Hurwitz has been a faculty member at the UHM Office of Public Health Studies, and has served as chair of the Bachelor of Arts in Public Health degree program for the past four years. She currently teaches PH 201 (Introduction to Public Health), PH 480 (Application of Public Health Principles in Research & Practice), and PH 485 (Applied Learning Experience). Her past research has focused on molecular epidemiology of influenza virus and Native Hawaiian cancer disparities, but her current research projects primarily involve public health educational pedagogy, student services, and improving food access among low-income populations in Hawaii.

Sundaes with Students Fall 2018

Aloha UH Manoa!

We are kicking off the semester with Sundaes with Students! Take this opportunity to hear upperclassmen share their advice on how to be a successful student at UHM.

Our featured panelists:

Kainoa Reponte

Kainoa was born and raised in Lahaina on the island of Maui. After graduating from Lahainaluna High, Kainoa began his journey at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in Fall 2015. He is currently pursuing Bachelor of Business Administration degrees in Marketing and International Business, as well as a Bachelor of Arts in French Language and Literature. In his first semester, he joined the Resident Hall Association and served as the Marketing Coordinator for the Mokihana Freshmen tower. In addition, he pledged for Delta Sigma Pi Rho Chi, a professional co-ed business fraternity, and severed as the Eta Pledge Class Chancellor and the following semester as the Historian for the Rho Chi chapter at large. During the summer of 2016, Kainoa started training to become a Mānoa Peer Advisor (MPA). In Fall 2016, Kainoa started working at the Mānoa Advising Center (MAC) as an MPA. During the past two years, Kainoa has grown into leadership positions both at MAC and the MPA Program, as a Student Coordinator for the Mānoa Advising Center and Peer Advisor Leader for the MPA Program at large. Despite original plans to transfer to a university on the continent, Kainoa found his place on the Mānoa campus from being heavily involved and creating a memorable, fulfilling college experience. In the future, Kainoa hopes to become a Creative Director at an advertising agency where he can blend design with strategy.

John Phan

My name is John Phan and I’m from the Bay Area, California. Currently a senior studying Kinesiology and Exercise Science, I plan to apply to medical school following graduation. I’ve been on the Dean’s List for the last three years while also currently serving as the Vice President of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity here on campus. Other campus organizations I’m involved in include the Campus Center Board, where I am serving as the Membership Chair. During my free time, I work with cancer rehab patients at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, help with research conducted by the graduate students in my department, and run SportsScienceStudent, a YouTube channel tutoring undergraduate students. 
Outside of school and work, you can catch me re-watching any of the Marvel superhero movies, boxing, and going out with my friends. 

Kahealani Acosta

Pizza with Professionals Spring 2018!

Our final event of the semester.

We will be featuring a panelist of UHM Alumni who have entered the professional sector. They will be sharing advice on how to shape the career you want!

Our panelists:

Lana Barrett

I graduated from Shidler College of Business with a Bachelors degree in MIS and Marketing. I completed an Honors Senior Thesis with a focus in Marketing through the Honors Program at UH Manoa. After graduating, I worked at UH for Sodexo (Manoa Dining Services) for 2 years and currently work at the Girl Scouts of Hawaii as the Product Marketing Coordinator for the Girl Scout Cookie Program.

Derek Wong

After obtaining my Bachelor of Science in Biology, I worked for a few years as an academic advisor for the Department of Biology, formerly known as the Biology Program.  Wanting to work in healthcare administration, I enrolled in UHM’s MPH and the MBA graduate programs where I learned program assessment and evaluation, social change theories, and bio-statistics.  As a graduate student, I gained experience in project management, working with groups, and research design while working at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research.  Currently, I  manage the Central Billing Office at the University Health Partners, which supports the clinical, educational, research, and community service activities of the University of Hawaii Health sciences – including the John A Burns School of Medicine, and the School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene.

Aubrey Thomas

While attending UH Manoa for a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Political Science, I was a: Resident Assistant (Sophomore year), an intern at Senator Mazie Hirono’s D.C. Office (Junior year), an intern at the Department of the Prosecuting Attorney’s Office (Junior year), as well as a TA for Sociology 100 (Senior year). I worked as a Staff Assistant in Senator Hirono’s Honolulu Office after graduating in the Spring of 2016. I worked there for about a year before starting my current role as a Fund Development Coordinator for Girl Scouts of Hawaii in which I handle fundraising and grant management.

Fraps with Faculty – Spring 2018 Panelists Announced!

March is officially here! This means our 2nd event of the semester is coming up.

Here are the panelists you can look forward to hearing speak:

Lisa Kehl

Lisa Kehl is the Alcohol & Drug Education Coordinator and Health Educator at University Health Services, Health Promotion. She is a licensed social worker, with master’s degrees in both Social Work and Public Health. She is currently a doctoral student in Public Health and teaches Public Health Issues in Hawaii, an undergraduate class at the Office of Public Health Studies. She does community work on tobacco policy & advocacy, and provides certification trainings on tobacco cessation for students and health professionals in Hawaii.

Anna Feuerstein

Anna Feuerstein is an assistant professor at UH-Manoa in the English department, where she teaches courses on 18th and 19th century British literature, Victorian empire, and animals in literature and culture.

Penny-Bee K. Bovard

Penny-Bee Kapilialoha Bovard earned her B.A., M.A., and an Advanced Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a specialization in Women’s Studies, Sociology, and Indigenous Research and Teaching Models. Additionally, she serves as the Undergraduate Advisor for the Department of Women’s Studies. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Sociology. Her dissertation research is concerned with developing and implementing sexual assault prevention and intervention programming, grounded in Native Hawaiian values, at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Justin Walguarnery

Justin Walguarnery studies how humans and other animals acquire, process, and respond to information in a rapidly changing world. He has a BS in Biology from the University of North Florida and simultaneously completed an MS in Statistics and PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Tennessee. At the University of Hawaii he has taught fifteen courses on subjects ranging from advanced statistical analysis, animal behavior, ecology, conservation, origin of species, and the origin and future of life. He has authored and edited online content for five textbooks on biology, and digital educational tools that he’s developed are currently used at over 500 colleges and universities.

Happy New Year! Sundaes with Students Spring 2018

Check out our featured article on Sundaes with Students on Ka Leo!

Here are our panelists:

Tate Castillo

“Aloha! My name is Tate L. Castillo, and I’m a Senior this semester graduating from the Shidler College of Business with my degrees in Finance, Entrepreneurship, and International Business. I’m from Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu, and I’m a graduate of Kamehameha High School Kapālama. I enjoy playing my guitar, watching movies, and napping on my free time. My extracurriculars on campus include being a both an active Brother of Delta Sigma Pi (Rho Chi) and Bestie in the Business Executive Society of Tomorrow (BEST) as well as being chosen as a select few to act as academic and professional ambassadors, domestically and internationally, in the Shidler Global Leaders Scholarship. I, along with a few other undergraduates and master’s students, traveled through Japan, China, and Vietnam last summer as part of the Pacific Asian Management Institute’s Asian Field Study Program where we immersed ourselves in each country in order to gain a clearer perspective of the development of global economies at different scales. After graduation, I will be enrolling at the William S. Richardson School of Law in the hopes of pursuing both my Juris Doctor & Master of Business Administration to strive for my dream of having a positive impact on my local community that has made me into who I am today…”
Delta Sigma Pi (Rho Chi):
Business Executive Society of Tomorrow (BEST):

Alyssa Lapitan

Aloha! My name is Alyssa Lapitan, and I am a senior pursuing a degree in Psychology. I was born and raised in Ewa Beach, Hawaii, and graduated from Moanalua High School. I am currently working as the Program Coordinator for the Hawaii Undergraduate Initiative (HUI) program here at UH Manoa under the Office of Multicultural Student Services. Aside from working at HUI, I am also active in several organizations on campus including Phi Mu Fraternity, AlohaThon, and reLITE Dance. When I’m not in school, I love to dance, find new and old music to listen to, and travel around the world with my family.

Lance Nunes

“Aloha, my name is Lance Nunes. I was born and raised here on O’ahu and graduated from Farrington High School. I was originally a Bioengineering major, however, I am graduating this semester with a B.S. in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology. Following graduation, I plan to attend a graduate school in pursuit of a master’s degree in either Developmental, Reproductive Biology or Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. I currently conduct research at the Manoa Institute of Biogenesis Research. I have been involved with organizations such as UHM Hawai’i Undergraduate Initiative (HUI), serving as a Peer Mentor, Program Team Member and Support Staff, and the Kappa Sigma Fraternity, serving as Fundraising Chairman and Grand Treasurer. I also am a Resident Assistant for Student Housing. I am happy to answer any questions you may have for me. I look forward to meeting you all! 

Chad Keaulana

Chad Keaulana was born and raised on the Leeward side of Oʻahu in Makaha, Waianae. He is a UH Mānoa student pursuing his BS degree in Civil and Environmental engineering. He graduated from Leeward Community College with an Associate’s Degree in natural science in engineering (ASNS). His career objective is to create a Native Hawaiian-owned engineering firm to design environmentally conscious structures. His life experiences in ocean and water activities has grounded him to critically think about how he can sustain and manage the limited resources around the Hawaiian Islands.


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

Kathleen Rhoads Merriam graduated from University of Hawaii’s Myron B. Thompson’s School of Social Work in 2012. She earned her Master’s degree in social work and obtained her license in 2016. She has worked in the mental health field for 33 years and is very thankful for her time at the University of Hawaii. Kathleen works for the Adult Mental Health Division (AMHD) within the Department of Health and oversees Case Management services for adults with serious mental illness. Kathleen is a Past President of the Rotary Club of Metropolitan Honolulu and an Advisor for National Alliance for Mental Illness Hawaii.

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.

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!