STEM of VTE Program (Chugach SD, Iditarod Area SD, Kenai Peninsula SD/Project Grad, Kuspuk SD, and Yupiit SD)
Hometown/High School: Kalihi, Hawai'i/Farrington High School
My College/Degree: Alaska Pacific University/Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability Studies, concentration in Marine Biology; Honolulu Community College/Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, minor in Marine Biology
Phone/Email: 907-269-7995 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Why I chose to go to college:
Growing up my parents told my sisters, and I that we had 3 options: 1. Get a job and pay rent, 2. Join the Military, or 3. Go to college. So I always knew I would go to college, I just didn’t know how I would get there. Of course when it all happened I ended up working and attending college at the same time. At the age of 16, I was obsessed with the ocean. I was at the beach 6 out of 7 days of the week. I knew I wanted to study Marine Biology, and I knew I had to go to school for it. School in general didn’t come as easy to me as some of my friends, however Marine Biology was my passion, and I was going to work as hard as I had to until I got that degree.
Leaving home (Hawai’i) was not an option for me (at first) as my first priority before school, or work, or anything else, was my family. I have 4 sisters, and I am the 2nd oldest so I had to help out at home. It wasn’t until I was 24 that I actually left Hawai’i. I had been going to college fulltime since 2007, and after getting my AA degree at a community college, I moved onto a university that was huge. It had classrooms with 200 seats in them, and it was hard. I discovered I needed a smaller community, and teachers that knew me by name who helped guide me to succeed. That’s what I got when I moved to Alaska. I enrolled at Alaska Pacific University, and left home. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I left my family; my community, my friends, my home, and at times I almost gave up, but then stuck with it and graduated two years later. Even though it was the hardest thing I could do, to leave my home, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made because along with the education, I also gained something that I can take back home, and help my family, and community in a way I couldn’t before.
College was hard. It’s supposed to be challenging. However, it is also super rewarding. When you finish, get your degree, and gain skills to contribute to your community and family, it’s a pretty powerful thing. You now hold the potential to change many people’s lives, and that is ultimately what pushed me to keep working, and to get my degree. I found something I was passionate about.
Why I chose to be a College & Career Guide:
I chose to be a College and Career Guide because I didn’t have someone like that for me. I was a first generation student from a low-income community, with a graduating class of around 850 people. The college prep classes were reserved for students who showed higher potential. I had to figure everything out on my own; even up until the day I was turning in my graduation application (which I didn’t know I had to do). So I want to change that. I really believe anyone who wants to attend any kind of postsecondary education, should be allowed to, but should also get the same type of support as the “students who excel academically”.