Pizza with Professionals Fall 2015


Event Summary: The Fall 2015 Pizza with Professionals event was a success! Attendees enjoyed delicious pizza while hearing professionals share their college experiences and advice for surviving and thriving in the “real world”.

The panelist spoke about their undergraduate experiences and shared their tips for success after graduation (which have been added to this post below each panelist’s bio).



Rachel Dowell

Rachel Dowell was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Rachel graduated from Punahou School and attended University of Hawaii at Manoa for her undergraduate studies.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology.  She continued pursuing her education and obtained a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix.  Rachel spent her collegiate years working in Real Estate deviating from her passion and studies of counseling.  She learned skills through her working career to help with property management, property sales, and investment strategies.  She currently works as a Property Manager with Colliers International in Honolulu, HI.  She manages nine buildings between Oahu and Maui.  Rachel enjoys singing, the arts, traveling and eating.  She recently returned from a two week trip to Italy and hopes to continue her annual European adventure next year to either northern Europe (Sweden, Norway, Finland) or western Europe (Spain, Portugal).

– Find your passion
– Don’t be afraid to ask for help
– “What you have in mind might not work, but get back up and try again”


Marissa Nishimura

Marissa grew up in Waianae, Hawaii and graduated from Waianae High School. She then went on to The University of Hawaii at Manoa where she graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration majoring in Management. She currently works as a Senior Analyst at Hamada Financial Group, LLC. In her spare time she enjoys watching Netflix and YouTube. Marissa is also the proud mommy of a four-month-old Pomeranian puppy called Lily Aldrin.

– Learn what you are passionate about
– Make friends with your classmates
– Make connections
– “Learn to roll with all the punches thrown at you”


Kamana Seymour

Aloha! My name is Kamana Seymour and I am a two time UH Manoa graduate, having received a BA in American Studies (2008) and a Master of Public Administration (MPA), 2011) from our Manoa campus. I currently work in our Student Housing Services (SHS) office as a Residence Director (RD), which is a full time live-in position that encopases student development, staff supervision and training, and facilites management. My work is part of the larger fields of student residential life and student affairs in higher education and involves daily interaction with UH students, particularly sophomore level students. I enjoy working professionally with students and advising on goal setting and achievement as well as identifying opportunities and paths to success. I’m a Native Hawaiian local guy and was raised in Kona on the Big Island as well as in Nuuanu, Oahu. While I live on campus now, Kona will always be home for me. I enjoy spending time with friends, traveling, and training in martial arts; specifically Muay Thai.

– Make the most out of your internships
– “Take your experiences and look for what interests you and apply for it”

“Pizza with Professionals”


Event: Pizza with Professionals

Date/Time: Wednesday, November 19, 2014, from 1:30-2:30PM

Location: Campus Center 308 & 309

Event Details: Local professionals will be speaking about their college journeys, as well as providing tips about how best to thrive after college. This is an excellent opportunity to hear from a diverse group of college graduates who have successfully utilized the skills they acquired from higher education and navigated the job market to become leaders in the community.

Meet the Professionals:


Kevin Higaki is a 2008 graduate of the University of Hawaii, where he majored in Business with a focus in Finance.  While attending the Shidler College of Business, Kevin began an internship at Island Insurance Company and eventually became a Commercial Lines Underwriter after graduation. After six years of working for that company, he decided to move on to the next phase of his career as an Insurance Broker and Consultant for Innovative Insurance Resources.


  • Involvement: Getting involved gives you a social circle and study group. You never know where friends can take you. (Kevin was a member of Business Executive Society of Tomorrow (BEST)).
  • Advice: Internships are the best; they help you get your foot in the door for future jobs. Find out about campus resources available to you.

Jaimie Kim

Jaimie Kim is a senior staff writer with MidWeek and staff writer with Metro HNL, where she writes Gastronome, a weekly food column. She also is a contributing writer for HILuxury, Waikiki Magazine, go Kapolei, go Kailua and others. She graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2012 with degrees in Sociology and American Studies. While at UHM, she spent most of her time working at Ka Leo O Hawaii as a copy editor before serving as managing editor. When she isn’t writing, Jaimie spends her time experimenting in the kitchen, planning elaborate picnics and taking far too many pictures of her dog @hibachithecorgi.


  • Making Connections: Making connections with people, professors and advisors is important. Put yourself out there because you’ll learn new things and everyone has something interesting to share.
  • Getting Involved: Even though Manoa is a commuter campus, make the time to get involved (even in small things) because it helps you get out there and meet people. You get to know people from different majors.
  • Getting a Job: A lot of people think they can get a job instantly in the field they want and work their way up. What pays off the most is work ethic–employers want someone who works hard that they can depend on.
  • Positivity: Be a positive person because no one wants to be around someone who thinks they’re above everything. Continue to try to learn something new.

Andy Chung

Andy is a graduate of UH Manoa with a degree in Finance. He’s always had a strong interest in two things: investing and helping people. Therefore he chose to pursue the Certified Financial Planning (CFP) track that was offered through the Shidler College of Business. It has prepared me very well for the transition into the professional world and having that finance degree with the comprehensive course load of the CFP track has given him the confidence to have important conversations with clients about their financial future.


  • General: a) Keep an open mind. b) Half the battle is just showing up. c) Ask for help when you need it.
  • Pursuing Interests: If there’s something you’re interested in, pursue it. All these resources are available to you. People want to help you if you just reach out to them. They want to see you succeed and be a product of the UH System.
  • After Graduation: Follow something you’re passionate about. Drive and motivation trumps everything else (including grades). At the end of the day, hard work, determination and drive gets you to where you want to go.

Yasmin Dar

Yasmin Dar anchored the evening for KVAL in Oregon. Originally from Hawaii, she was the KITV 4 Morning Show Traffic Anchor and Social Media Reporter a few years ago. Yasmin graduated from University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2006 with a BA in Biology and completed her Masters in Communications in 2010. In addition, she is a Professional Model, Actress and Television Host with credits in “Hawaii Five-0”, “Soul Surfer” and “Off The Map” and numerous print ads and commercials. When Yasmin is not at the anchor desk, she’s blogging about her new mommy life at and sharing photos of her new obsession @yasmindar on twitter and instagram.


  • Getting Involved: Recommends getting involved with the campus community. You’ll be surprised where your peers are five years from now. Friendships last forever and your friends will be in places you never expected. Make friends with people in different majors.
  • Social Media: Posting incriminating college pictures and inappropriate things make you seem cool now, and you think it’s buried away and private, but you’ll be shocked at what your employer is going to find out. They will Google you, and it could make or break you.
  • Talking to Professors: Don’t be afraid to reach out to your professors because they’re valuable and amazing. You might need their help in future pursuits and they’re a valuable resource.
  • On Success: You don’t have to be the smartest student or have the greatest grades. Employers don’t care about that; they want to know you have the work ethic to take their company to the next level. Connections are more important than your resume (especially in Hawaii).


Thank you to the Student Activity and Program Fee Board and Dr. Ron Cambra (Office of Undergraduate Education) for their generous support of this event!