Away Experiences at UHM

Away Experiences was our second event for Spring 2019. We brought in a panel of students to represent the different “away” learning opportunities available to UHM students.

National Student Exchange (NSE) was represented by Noemi, the NSE Program Assistant. While many students think of study abroad as an international venture, NSE offers student the opportunity to exchange within the U.S., Guam, Puerto Rico, Cansda, and U.S. Virgin Islands. NSE can be a great option for students who want to see different part of the country without the commitment of a full degree program. Many students have used NSE as a way to visit and go to school with friends who are students at the destination university. Through the NSE program, students are eligible for financial aid and can choose to pay UHM tuition or host campus tuition. Students who are at least a sophomore standing are eligible for the program.

Visit the NSE site for more information.


Next, we heard from Connie Wong about her experience abroad in South Korea through the Mānoa International Exchange (MIX). Connie decided to study abroad with a few friends and because they all wanted to see Asia in general, they decided on South Korea. As a 3rd year business student, Connie liked the freedom of choosing her schedule and courses so she could have time to explore and travel to neighboring countries. In order to fit her budget, Connie chose her own living accommodations. Additionally, Connie received a few scholarships to make the trip to South Korea possible. One of the great things about MIX is the ability to pick and choose what works for you and your budget.

Visit the MIX site for more information.


Erin Kushimaeyjo shared her away experience to London through the Study Abroad program. Erin loved the new found independence she gained from Study Abroad. Erin is an English major at UHM and thought London would be a great environment to learn abroad. In contrast to MIX, Erin was drawn to the Study Abroad’s program for ease of planning and settling in. Safety was a concern for Erin and her family before she went abroad, but she encouraged students to not let that stop them from traveling. Erin also received scholarships to aid with study abroad expenses.

Visit the Study Abroad site for more information.

Resume Tips from Manoa Career Center!

We invited Brent Fujinaka from the Manoa Career Center to give students some pointers for beginning or refining their resume.

Brent broke down the resume into a few sections: Header, Education, Experiences, and Skills.

Before diving into the details, remember, don’t undersell your capabilities! Be honest about the you’ve work done, but think about how your experiences turned into positive qualities.


Include name, location, phone number, and email. While this may seem straight forward, avoid emails with nonprofessional usernames (for example: basketballfan123). Brent suggests using your email to keep it simple. Make sure you check your email!


This section, especially while applying for internships or scholarships, can show merit. Include intended major and graduation date. A rule of thumb for GPAs, include 3.0 and above. GPA may be required for certain applications, however, this is an opportunity to show skill building too. Include course projects and contributions to the project. Was the project extensive and individual? Mention the level of organization required to make that happen. Lacking work experience can be made up for by this section.


(Work or Volunteer)

In the same way that Education helps convey skill building, this section helps convey transferable skills that can be applied to any opportunity. While its easy to list duties of the job, consider how specific tasks were building skills overall. As a cashier, people handle money responsibly; this can be molded to express the responsibility, accuracy, and customer service aspects of the job.

Extra Curricular and Awards

A key way to build a resume aside from working for pay, can be involvement in various campus organizations. The RIOs on UHM campus offer leadership opportunities that can be added to a resume. Being part of an organization for two semesters show commitment through change.

Hard Skills

While hard skills can be listed under work experience, here, other skills that may not have been utilized at work can be mentioned. Language, computer programs, and social media platforms are examples of skills you could list if relevant to the opportunity in question.


Keep in mind..

High school experience can be relevant if certain commitments have stretched from then until now.

Brent shares: “The more experience you have, the better chances of being at the right place at the right time.”

Visit the Career Center in QLC 212 to get individualized help on your resume! The services are provided to students at no extra cost.

Pizza with Professional Fall 2018 Recap

Our final event of the semester sparked great conversion with out panel of professionals!

Puna spoke first, sharing about his personal struggle with finishing school. After his first year at in school he took a 10 year break! One student asked how that long break affected his focus when returning to which Puna replied, “I was finally ready to engage,” which is what made all the difference the second time around. What made such a big difference was asking for help, not just from professors, but from campus resources too. Going out into the world to work for an extended period of time also helped Puna decide what he wanted to study and pursue beyond college. Puna recommends that students diversify themselves in order to discover what they are passionate about. Volunteering part-time could be the first step for so many career options.

Taysia, a very recent UHM graduate, thought she would be working a 9-to-5 job straight out of college, but instead has continued with her passion for entrepreneurship. Currently working “anywhere there is WiFi” as a hair consultant, she has been able to break the mold of the traditional work to school path. During her time at UHM Manoa, Taysia spent her free time starting her own small business. She said it was her will to be her own boss someday that pushed her to follow through with research and ultimately logistics for her online store. Taysia, like Puna, stressed the utilization of on campus resources. Experience is essential when entering the work force and taking any opportunity to learn outside the classroom or apply what you have leaned will ultimately help you succeed post-college.

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 Recap

Kahealani “Kahea” Acosta

As a soil science student, Kahea advocates for finding purpose while learning outside of the classroom. Before finding her desired academic path, she didn’t really apply herself in school and felt unmotivated because of the uncertainty about what to study and what to ultimately pursue as a career. In order to reset and figure our a plan, Kahea took a year off of school to spend time doing what she loved, volunteering her time to work in nature! She returned to UH Mānoa to study in the Tropical Plant and Soil Science Department. Soil Science gives Kahea the opportunity to be outdoors while still conducting research. Overall, she encouraged students to take the initiative to enhance their own learning by using the resources available at UH Mānoa. She says, “The resources are there, you just have to ask!”


John Phan

John is study Kinesiology and Exercise Science while still remaining involved on campus. As the Vice President of the Kappa Sigma fraternity here at UH Mānoa, he feels that many of his greatest memories were made by taking the time to balance academic and social life. With plans for Medical School and an internship at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Pacific, John admited it can be hard to find time to simply have fun, but it is worth the extra effort to finish his studies in order to take a breather away from his work. One of John’s critical pieces of advice was working with your advisor for more than just the mandatory visits! By sitting with an advisor, he has been able to make an academic plan and feel confident in planning to graduate on time!


Kainoa Reponte

Three majors may seem like a lot, but Kainoa assured students that when pursued organically, it is a great way for students to diversify themselves. Kainoa realized that he enjoys talking to people and being analytical so he decided to pursue Marketing. He says that Marketing can work for so many different personalities because it includes a creative side of the trade as well. For his language credits at UH Mānoa, Kainoa studied French and then the opportunity to study abroad presented itself. After returning from France he realized that pursuing a degree in International Business(IB) for a few additional credits of French really interested him. Because he opted to take the extra French course for the IB major, Kainoa added on French as a major to become a triple major. He shared with the students that it is not easy because his course load is a bit heavier, but it is worth the extra work because he is passionate about each part of his studies. Surprisingly, Kainoa originally had planned to transfer from UH Mānoa, but because of his involvement with Registered Independent Organizations he really found a place in the UH Mānoa community which has organically kept him engaged with school and extracurriculars.

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 Recap

Thank you everyone who attended and to our panelists for their amazing insights!

First, we heard from Lisa Kehl, serving UHM as the alcohol and drug educator with Health Services. Lisa shared her journey academic and career journey that has allowed her to adventure from New York to settling in Hawaii. During undergrad she changed majors a lot, initially wanting to major in dance, then interior design, and eventually finding psychology. In order to graduate relatively soon, summer school was a great resource for her to catch up. Following graduation there were a couple more moves along the west coast before Lisa arrived in Hawaii in 2001. At UHM she pursued her Master’s degree, beginning her career in social work thanks to the help of her mentors pointing out her natural desire to work in the field. Towards to end of the Master’s program, Lisa found that working in public health would be a great way to take part in larger change. She believes that being an active member of the community is so important, allowing her to find passion in her work every day.


Our second speaker was Penny-Bee. As a Hawaii Native and former UH athlete, Penny-Bee has roots here at UHM. During her time at UHM, she received her Bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with focus in gender laws and society. With a genuine passion for women’s studies and activism, Penny-Bee worked for Planned Parenthood while she lived in California, post-graduation. Though she spent 20 years on the west coast, Penny-Bee ultimately decided that Hawaii was home and came back to reunite with her family. After returning, she decided to go back to school to earn her Master’s degree in sociology. Penny-Bee highlights that it was her passions that drove her career and life path and by utilizing her intellect and intuition, she created opportunities for herself.


Up next Anna shared her story of taking on academic setbacks in stride. Growing up in Michigan, Anna was very invested in writing and wanted to pursue becoming an author, journalist, or teacher. Anna made the move to Seattle to enroll in the Art Institute of Seattle, where she spent some time and ultimately dropped out because she was not as interested as she initially thought. When she decided to re-enter school, Anna worked hard in community college and was set on transferring to University of Washington, however, she was rejected for missing her foreign language. Though this was a major set back Anna found French and ended up studying abroad in Paris because of this opportunity to diversify herself. An important tool in Anna’s academic and career journey was the time she spent putting thought into what she wanted to achieve. By consulting mentors and advisors she found herself on the right track to pursue her Doctorate in English. A misstep in academic can ultimately be a time to reevaluate the opportunities that lie ahead.


Lastly, Justin took us through his growth as a curious individual. As far back as he could remember, Justin wanted to be a Biologist and was fascinated with the nature around him in his hometown in Florida. During his years in high school, Justin dealt with social anxiety that he believes allowed him extreme mental focus and a lot of time to think by himself. Justin became a National Merit Scholar and received offers from many universities, but ultimately chose to stay close to home at the University of North Florida. Though Justin was able to break through his social anxiety during the early years of college, he fell behind as a student while balancing his social and academic life. Justin had to refocus himself in order to pass the Biology GRE and attend the University of Tennessee. A new campus presented new challenges that motivated Justin to attempt areas of academics he was not “excellent” in. His journey of becoming an open individual and pursuing academics taught him that having time to focus on your passion or current endeavors is of utmost importance. His advice to students at UHM, is to set goals even if they are imagined because a “dream job” may not exist yet; the pursuit to make a difference can create a new space for expertise.

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.