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.

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.

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.

Sundaes with Students Recap Spring 2018


Here are a few points each of our panelists discussed:

Lance Nunes

Immediately after graduating high school, Lance approached UHM with wide eyes for the freedom college would bring. This freedom can be a positive part of college life, but requires self control. As the valedictorian of his graduating class, Lance and his family were surprised when the transcripts from freshman year showed unsatisfactory grades. One contributing factor to Lance’s struggle with school was taking on a full-time off-campus job. In order to get back on track, Lance quit his full-time job and pursued on-campus work opportunities and organizations. On-campus jobs know the commitment required to be a student and work with students to prioritize academics while still maintaining a job. As a member of Gear Up HUI and Kappa Sigma Fraternity, as well as, working on campus as a Resident Assistant, Lance has been able to seize the many opportunities within his reach while sustaining his academic path.


Alyssa Lapitan

Alyssa academic journey began with a scholarship to Creighton University, however, staying close to family was ultimately more important. Similar to Lance, Alyssa was excited at the possibilities of college and chose to live on campus throughout her academic career. Alyssa is also part of the the Gear Up HUI program and transitioned to the Program Coordinator in 2016. As a way to branch out, Alyssa joined the Phi Mu sorority. This presented many social opportunities that Alyssa believe contributed to her overall happiness at UHM. Though college can be a place of freedom, ask yourself, “what are you really here for?” Remember that academics come first and attending class is the key to being successful in college. In addition to punctuality, Alyssa, takes time to introduce herself to her professors. Professors can help students along their academic path and present opportunities for the professional sector.


Tate Castillo

For Tate, the college journey began in the UH community college system. Because he had always been considered a ‘good student’ in high school, Tate felt he did not need to put in effort to his courses and used his free time to befriend the wrong crowd. When Tate made the transition to UHM, he began to realize how crucial time spent in University can be. These are the years when students can discover their passions and making the most of your time and connections can help students develop the best version of themselves. At UHM, Tate joined a couple RIOs at Shidler College of Business. He found a foundation to catalyze his efforts to achieve greater in the Delta Sigma Pi fraternity and continues to be an active member for Business Executive Society of Tomorrow.  Tate encourages students to believe in their abilities to achieve higher.


Chad Keaulana

At the start of his college career, Chad, would commute from Makaha to UHM daily and found himself exhausted. He decided that taking a year off from school to work and save money would be the best option for him. Chad was driven by his aim to uplift his community and set an example for his younger siblings by being the first in his family to graduate college. By setting aside time to become financially stable enough to live closer to campus, Chad set himself up for success to pursue his degree more comfortably. By sharing his story, Chad feels that he can help other students realize that college may not always be a cookie cutter, four-year path. He encourages students to learn from others and begin networking with peers, mentors, and professors so that the transition into the professional sector is more successful.


Pizza with Professionals Fall 2017 Recap

Thank you for coming out to our Pizza with Professionals event!

Here is a little recap of our speaker’s stories.

Kapiʻolani Ching

Though she has found success in her current professional path, Kapiʻolani was interested in a lot during her early years in college, not sure of the direction she wanted to pursue. By taking exploratory courses, like journalism, she finally found something that struck her interest. Kapiʻolani also held two part time jobs on campus, which helped her find a mentor. Through her mentor, she decided to pursue a career in communications and with hopes of becoming a public information officer. Kapiʻolani stresses the importance of finding a career path you enjoy, but also utilizes your skill set.

Christopher Chow

Christopher graduated from UH Manoa with a Bachelors of Science in Biology. Though the expectations was a career in medicine, He has made the transition to finance in the last 4 years. This may seem like a strange transition however, Christopher credits his exploratory courses and involvement on campus for encouraging his open mindedness. The classes that were not specifically for Biology created learning opportunities for Christopher, helping highlight the importance of making room for classes that interest you whether they are major specific or not. Christopher leaves us with some advice, “Be open to lifelong learning. Education can be concrete, but you have to ebb and flow with life.”


Kathleen Merriam

Kathleen first earned her Psychology degree at the University of Washington with a minor in Sociology because she was interested in the way people work together. Post college, Kathleen lived in New York. After the daunting move from New York to Hawaii, she pursued her Master’s degree at UH Manoa in order to gain the cultural experience of learning in Hawaii. Kathleen discovered she wanted to help improve the Hawaii mental health services, gaining experience through internships. She says that her time as an intern allowed her the opportunity to learn where her strengths were. Though some of her experience was through volunteerism, Kathleen encourages students to ask for certificates to show future employers how time in place of internships was spent. Volunteering was a way for Kathleen to work beyond her comfort zone and learn from those around her.


Be sure to keep an eye out for Mānoa Sophomore Experience events in Spring 2018!

FWF Recap Fall 2017

Thank you to our panelists!

Faculty at Fall 2017 Fraps with Faculty

Faculty at Fall 2017 Fraps with Faculty

Jason Kenji Higa

On his quest to obtain a degree in Biology, here at UH Mānoa, Jason learned that college is not meant to be a “cookie cutter experience.” He learned that being a full-time student for four years straight was not he approach that best fit him. Jason took a gap year. He encourages students to be productive through internships and jobs, while they take a break from school. Jason says that time management is the key to being a successful student and the reality of adulthood. Remember, no single path is right for every student.


Karyl Garland

As an English professor, Karyl strives to teach the importance of skillful writing. In every job writing is involved and what sets a job candidate apart from the rest continues to be writing. “If you can care about writing well, with precision, you’re beyond everyone else who cannot in your field.” Writing can certainly be a powerful tool when done well.


Pia Arboleda

Born and raised in the Philippines, Pia has learned a great deal about the importance of education. Pia learned, through the heartbreak and misdirection in the young adult years of her life, “education is the only thing people cannot take from you.” Substance will set you apart from those focused on their charm, Pia says. Though you have every right to celebrate the smallest accomplishments, be mindful of the areas in which you can grow.

Recap: Pizza with Professionals Spring 2017

We had a blast snacking on pizza and meeting alumni from UHM who are out in the working world!


Jordan Fahmie, an Engineer with AECOM, discussed the truth behind entering the work force post-college. He wants students to keep in mind that they may struggle a little bit coming out of college, but as long as they work hard and remain willing to learn from their experiences they will get where they desire to be. With this in mind think about where you are headed after UHM. What kind of jobs do you want? Fahmie encourages students to take any and every opportunity to shadow professionals and intern to gain a sense of the kind of work environment you will be comfortable with. Fahmie says “Don’t lose sight of what makes you happy.”


Jeanna Chi, a first generation college graduate, found success in being highly involved on campus at UHM. In her undergrad she was a Manoa Peer Advisor, Jeanna says that surrounding herself with the supportive group of people in the Manoa Advising Center really encouraged her to strive for graduation and ultimately academic excellence. Post-college, Jeanna landed an internship at Nordstrom where she excelled, but found herself confused on the career path she was currently on. To Jeanna, this was a learning opportunity. Working outside of your intended career can actually help you decide what is the best fit for you in a job or career. Jenna adds, “always network,” even if it is with those who may not line up with your career goals. If you look towards your managers for support, great opportunities can arise from putting the effort to do well in something you are unsure about.


Christopher Nguyen acquired a B.S. in Microbiology and became a Financial Advisor / Managing Director  for Ka Financial Advisors. While he admits that his current career is not what he imagined for himself, what microbiology demanded from him as a student shaped him into the working individual he is today. Nguyen knows that collaborative work is tough on college students, however, he encourages group work as a way to build skills for the working world. One piece of advice Nguyen would like to stress to students, “Always keep learning… more knowledge, you’re more employable!”

Recap: Fraps With Faculty Spring 2017

On Wednesday April 5th, 2017 we heard very insightful advice from some of UH Mānoa’s faculty! Dr. Brent Sipes and Dr. Jenee Odani shared about their college experiences, gave perspective on college as a member of the faculty and shared advice about how to gain the most from higher education.

Dr. Brent Sipes a professor in the Department of Plant and Environmental Protection Sciences earned his Bachelor’s at Purdue University and his Master’s and Doctorate at North Carolina State University. From early on Dr. Sipes knew he wanted to be a professor or scientist and through his extensive education, is now a professor who conducts research at UH Mānoa. As a first-generation college student, Dr. Sipes felt as though it was hard to explain what he had learned to his parents because college was a “different” concept. His major had no application outside of academics, further encouraging him to become a professor and conduct research in his field. Dr. Sipes encourages us to “be a real participant in life” and that starts with joining clubs and exploring your academic environment. He emphasized that success in college is engaging with your professors because they are just as willing to learn from you as you are from them. Dr. Sipes wants students to be proactive in their endeavors whether that be academic or extracurricular.


Dr. Jenee Odani is an Associate Specialist for the Veterinary Extension and a Pre-Veterinary Medicine Program Advisor working in the Department of Human Nutrition, Food, and Animal Sciences. For some time during her college education she wanted to be an engineer and after doing poorly in her calculus course Dr. Odani rethought her academic path. She thought back to what she wanted to be when she was a child, a veterinarian. On her path to obtaining her degree in Zoology at the University of Washington Dr. Odani felt overwhelmed and was not sure if she had chosen the right path, however, by reaching out to the Dean of her department she felt more at ease with her decision. She encourages students to talk to their professors and ask questions when you are feeling concerned about your path. Dr. Odani encourages students to prioritize their education like you would a job because there is so much to learn in the four short years you spend at the university. Joining clubs and expanding your social circle within education is important too because being involved can help shape your career path. Like Dr. Sipes, Dr. Odani wants students interact with heir professors because that is where outstanding letters of recommendation can come from. Dr. Odani wants students to think about the future because if you have a plan for where you want to be in life then you can act now to achieve what you want.