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Ka Ip Kukui Program Completes 7th Year

Kahului, HI—May 14, 2014—The Ka Ipu Kukui Fellows program recently completed its seventh year and is now seeking applicants for the 2014-15 session. A Decisions Maui and Focus Maui Nui initiative, the program is a yearlong endeavor designed to promote and train community-identified future leaders of Maui County, and is coordinated by UHMC’s Office of Continuing Education & Training.

Since it began seven years ago, 85 fellows have completed the program, including 11 graduates who were honored during a commencement ceremony held on Wednesday, May 7, at the Kahili Golf Course in Waikapu. Members of the Ka Ipu Kukui Class of 2014 include Charles Yeaman, Candace Thackerson, Akili Jones, Alison Cohan, Adam Radford, Nicole Nanea Spalding, Susan Clements, Sonya Niess, Ali Martin, Jennifer Chirico, and Jordan Molina. A number of business representatives, program supporters and community leaders attended the graduation ceremony, including Hawai‘i State Sen. Roslyn Baker, Joe Pontanilla, and Maui County Council members Gladys Baisa, Don Couch, Elle Cochran, and Stacy Crivello.

“There is no magic wand to wave that will give us the answers for all the challenges that face Maui,” said Class of 2014 Fellow Candace Thackerson. “Being a leader is not only about finding solutions, but also about compromise and understanding. An effective leader must first listen to the wide range of voices within the community, truly understand their concerns and then use all the information they have available to create the best solution possible for Maui’s future.”

“Ka ipu kukui” means “crucible of light; a test and a furnace for seeking and taking the best path ahead.” In response to concerns first expressed by Decisions Maui in the 1980s and reinforced by the 2003 Focus Maui Nui visioning process, the program was conceived to develop leaders through a community-based curriculum designed to address all aspects of planning for […]

High School Students Play to Win at UHMC

Kahului, HI—May 2, 2014—Over three hundred high school students and teachers made the UH Maui College campus their playground at the first annual College Preparation & Completion Recruitment Day. ‘Playgrounds’ spanned a wide range of academic and career fields, including business, information technology, engineering technology, sustainability, culinary arts, and hospitality and tourism. Students then got hands-on with breakout sessions like “Do It Yourself Electronics”, “Entrepreneurship: The Growing Pains”, and “Fresh Pasta Demonstration.”

UHMC faculty, along with local high schools and businesses, developed the collaborative project to help high school students explore college majors and careers in a fun and creative way. Another major goal was to show students how the pathways of the high school academies (e.g., Business, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Hospitality and Tourism, Culinary Arts, Arts and Communication, Engineering and Information Technology) can connect to programs at the college, and careers beyond.

“This event was an important connecting point – not only did students get to explore their academic interest and possible majors, but local business leaders and experts gave them an inside look at what kinds of careers might be available after college,” said UH Maui College professor Debra Nakama. “We think a lot of bright futures were launched today, thanks to the support of our schools, the community and businesses.”

Linda Rosario, a representative from McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii, which helped sponsor the event, said, “McDonald’s Restaurants of Hawaii is proud to support this interactive day of learning – an innovative approach to introducing local high school students to different career tracks. We are happy to be collaborating with the University of Hawaiʻi Maui College in igniting students’ interest in preparing for their future.”

Jennifer Baum, High School Counselor at Kamehameha High School, agreed. “We were thrilled that our students had the opportunity to be a part of this college preparation and completion event at UHMC. The […]

Register Now for Degree-in-Three!

Register now for the The Degree-in-Three (D-3) fall cohort!

Degree-in-Three students achieve their Associate in Liberal Arts degree in 3 years on a part-time basis.

“Our part-time students are busy – sometimes they’re working or have other family obligations. It was hard for them to keep track of which courses they needed next, or the course they needed wasn’t offered until another semester,” said Linda Fujitani, UHMC academic counselor. “Part-time students who sign-up for Degree-in-Three have a clear pathway and a guaranteed course schedule to keep them on track so they can earn their AA in Liberal Arts degree in three years.”

D-3 has proved to be a popular option for those busy students. Lea Moracco, a D-3 participant, said, “The schedule allowed me, to continue to work full time and pursue a degree. Adviser Linda Fujitani and faculty provided so much support and encouragement during the entire semester. Work study groups were formed, Q&A sessions were scheduled and appointments with our instructors were encouraged.  I also liked the flexibility of the online course and watching class on cable T.V.”

Students accepted in the D-3 program also have the benefit of moving through the course schedule with the same group. This builds a supportive peer network that encourages degree completion.

“There are a lot of support services for students, like counseling and tutoring,” adds Fujitani, “but sometimes a student struggling with a personal or academic issue finds the best help from one of their classmates. They become a tight family over the course of three years and go out of their way to help each other reach their goals.”

Another D-3 student, Tia Perdido said, “Being a mother of two young kids and finding time to go back to school has […]

Hospitality & Tourism Graduate Returns from China

Shelly Silva, University of Hawai’i Maui College Hospitality & Tourism graduate and 2013 Valedictorian recently returned from a six month international internship in China. When Shelly learned of the internship at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Shanghai, she knew immediately that it was an incredible opportunity to gain professional experience and use the skills she acquired at UHMC. The 5-star boutique hotel, Urbn Hotels Shanghai, is the first “carbon neutral hotel” in China.

“China is a fascinating place to work and live both culturally, socially and linguistically. I returned with a wealth of knowledge gained from my overseas work experience and built professional friendships that will last a lifetime,” says Shelly upon returning to Maui. Pudong is Shanghai’s newest district on the eastern side of the Huangpu River, a Special Economic zone full of gleaming skyscrapers rising out of what was farmland only 15 years ago.

As a management trainee, Shelly was charged with the position of Hilton HHonors Coordinator sharing with Hilton guests the hotel’s brand promise: “To provide the special comforts and acts of kindness that make the traveler feel human again.” Shelly says she worked with professionals at all levels of the firm and fine-tuned her leadership and management skills while under their tutelage.

“This experience changed my life” Shelly said.

Current UHMC HOST and Culinary Arts students who are motivated to experience an internship experience abroad can contact Liping Liu, Ph.D. CHE, Hospitality & Tourism faculty member and Director of China Programs (808) 984-3328. Those looking for an exciting career in hospitality and tourism, one of Hawai’i’s key industries, can contact Lorelle Peros at UHMC to learn more about the HOST program (808) 984-3343 or visit

Innovation Day Series May 1st – 3rd

UHMC baccalaureate students will host the third Innovation Day Conference this Thursday, May 1st – Saturday, May 3rd in the Kaʻaʻike building on campus. The series of events include project demonstrations of student work in electronics, optics, communication, space studies, agriculture and aquaponics, renewable energy, robotics, astronomy and related fields, as well as workshops and lectures by senior technology industry professionals. The public is invited to attend.

It’s an opportunity for the community and technology professionals to learn more about the latest innovations, and for engineering and science students to showcase their hard work, some with projects that took over a year to complete.

“Our goal is to connect students with senior industry professionals, and share what they’ve learned with the community,” said Dr. Anil Mehta, one of the faculty members in the STEM department at UHMC and a mentor to the students organizing the Innovation Day conference. “This gives them important feedback about their work, but also a wider perspective of the concepts they’re learning in the classroom.”

Lindsay Komai, a senior in the Engineering Technology program and volunteer for last year’s event, said, “By networking with global industry professionals of the world, you learn how to communicate briefly and effectively, you learn about team work and individual responsibility and above all to be a valuable member of the community by applying your knowledge for the good of the community.”

Industry professionals appreciate the opportunity to interact with the students as well. James Yenne, a former project manager at Microsoft Inc., enjoyed participating in the series last year and will do so again this year as a panelist. Yenne said, “I thought the event was well run and the exhibits were designed to help build understanding for the […]

UH Maui College Student Honored at White House

The White House honored Hawai’i native and UH Maui College student Jon Brito, 24, as one of two national conservation role models. Brito, who served as an AmeriCorps member with the Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps, or Kupu, was honored as one of the country’s “next generation of conservation leaders.” Kupu is one of 100+ corps across the country, connected through The Corps Network, geared to get young people involved in the environment and conservation.

The UHMC Engineering Technology student grew up in the town of Kualapu’u. After graduating from Molokai High School in 2008, Jon immersed himself in the world of environmental conservation as an AmeriCorps member with KUPU’s Hawai’i Youth Conservation Corps (HYCC).

“UHMC provided me the opportunity and privilege of furthering my education,” said Brito. “The college has provided hands-on and meaningful lessons/classes that have honed my skill base for my area of study. If UHMC was not here or was not what it is today, I do not know how I would be able to continue my education and career goals. I’m very thankful for everything UHMC has provided and look forward to all the wonderful things that will happen on this campus in the future.”

According to an AmeriCorps press release:
In addition to his school responsibilities, Jon serves as an energy efficiency and agriculture intern with KUPU’s vocational training program, RISE. In this position, Jon works with Maui’s business and agriculture sectors to improve the sustainability of their operations.

As his supervisors say, “Jon has a heart of gold and is a truly selfless person with all the right intentions.” As the only KUPU Corpsmember to have served in the RISE program as well as three HYCC programs, it goes without saying that Jon is dedicated to […]

Music Week at UH Maui College

The community is invited to an exciting week-long series of free events that includes musical performances, workshops, presentations, and even the opportunity to drop in on the music class of their choice. Beginning Monday, April 21st and continuing through Friday, April 25th, the series is your chance to explore your musical side and learn more about the opportunities to study music at UH Maui College.

“Our music faculty have vast knowledge and experiences in many musical styles”, said Dr. Keola Donaghy, interim coordinator of music studies at UHMC. “We wanted to share our passion for music with the community, and let everyone know that you can take a class in anything from steel guitar to classical piano. There’s an abundance of musical activities and learning opportunities right here on Maui.”

The series includes: piano workshops with and a piano recital by music lecturer Anne Ku, a piano recital by UHMC students of lecturer Karyn Sarring, a lecture and video presentation by the Vancouver, British Columbia-based group “The Boom Booms”, Maui-based performers Gilbert Emata and Jimi Canha, a presentation by UH-Mānoa Assistant Professor and Nā Hōkū Hanohano Award-winning recording artist Aaron J. Salā, and an Open Mic night on Thursday evening.

All activities are free and open to the public. Students and the Maui community are also invited to attend any music class of their choice for the week of April 21st-April 25th. All are welcome. To learn more, please visit the Music @ UHMC website

UHMC Art Students Contribute to The Empty Bowl Project

Students at University of Hawaii Maui College ceramics department contributed nearly 70 handmade soup bowls all sold for a donation of $25.00 each to benefit Maui Food Bank and other local nonprofits.

Star Noodle and the Maui Organization for the Ceramic Arts hosted Empty Bowl – a street celebration with entertainment, hand crafts and Asian dishes to delight any palate.

The Empty Bowl Project was launched in 1990 when an art teacher had students create ceramic bowls for a charity dinner. Attendees purchase bowls, use them during the evening celebration and take them home and soon became a way to support organizations that provide meals to those in need … since then, this grassroots project has expanded across twenty countries, each with a flavor all its own.

UHMC Career and College Transfer Fair

On Wednesday, April 9th, UH Maui College’s CareerLink program staged another well-attended Career and College Transfer Fair for the public, college students, soon to be graduates and alumni seeking to explore internship and/or employment opportunities. Attendees gained insight into the local job market, discovered skills employers are looking for and met with managers from companies currently hiring on Maui.

CareerLink is a program at UH Maui College that prepares students for the challenges of an increasingly competitive job market and connects them to businesses through internships and opportunities for employment.

The following businesses and colleges participated in the fair:

UH Maui College, Baccalaureate Programs
UH Manoa
UH Outreach
UH Hilo
UH Center
University of Phoenix
Hawaii Pacific University
Temple University, Japan Campus
Minit Stop
Medical Scribe Systems
Whole Foods Market
Enterprise Rent-a-Car
American Savings Bank
Wash & Save
Maui Oil Company
United States Marines

Fashion Tech Students Get Creative for Fantasia Ball 2014

UHMC Fashion Technology rocked the runway at the  Imua Family Services’ 3rd Annual Gala Celebration Fundraiser, Fantasia Ball 2014. Inspired by the 1964 film My Fair Lady, the collection featured the kind of gowns and broad-rimmed hats Audrey Hepburn made famous. This year’s Fantasia Ball theme was “Black & White”, and with flashbulbs snapping, student models lit up the stage for the event that took place April 5th at the Hyatt Regency Maui Monarchy Ballroom in Kaanapali.

The evening also featured a five-star chef-inspired dinner, a silent auction, and cutting-edge visual and musical entertainment with live musicians, drummers and dancers including vocal styling of some of Maui’s own young talent.

Imua Family Services Director, Dean Wong was thrilled with the turnout “It was a blast! Mahalo to each of you for making #imuaball 2014 a HUGE success.”

Imua Family Services’ meets the needs of over 3,000 Maui children, provides support and assistance to their families and helps maximize the potential of each child and family in society. With over 66 years of providing service on Maui and Lanai, Imua Family Services has a strong reputation in the community as a provider of high quality, comprehensive services that result in improved life outcomes for children and their families.

Interested in learning more about fashion technology? Visit the website at or contact program coordinator Cheryl Maeda at (808) 984-9292.