Michelle A. Tagorda was born in Hilo, Hawaiʻi and is a graduate of Keaʻau High School. She earned her bachelor of science in psychology and bachelor of arts in biology from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, while engaging in various student leadership activities.
Tagorda served on the Campus Center Board while working on phases of the Campus Center renovation and expansion project including the opening of the Warrior Recreation Center. She worked to ensure that all service areas, facilities and activities of the Campus Center Complex were providing students with the out of classroom experience to gather, collaborate and enjoy student life.
As a master of public health student, Tagorda worked to help develop and support the new bachelor of arts in public health degree in her capacity as the Office of Public Health Studies undergraduate academic advisor. She dedicated herself to the service of both undergraduate and graduate students through academic advising, inspiring many students to pursue rewarding careers in public health and beyond. She served as an officer on the board for the public health student organization, Hui Ola Pono, and remains active in the Hawaiʻi Public Health Association.
Her research involved collaboration with the Center for Rural Health Studies at UH Hilo, and focused on measuring and understanding cultural characteristics related to health. She worked with the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education, Mānoa Peer Advisor program as the program assistant and volunteered with the Hawaiʻi Primary Care Association and Hawaiʻi Department of Health to develop an educational toolkit for the film Ola which focused on bringing to light issues surrounding the social determinants of health. Tagorda was also part of the Health Behavior Change Research Workgroup’s Waipahu Health Action Research Training project, where she supported high school seniors in facilitating classroom activities on physical activity and healthy nutrition as preventative measures for obesity.
Upon graduating with her masters of public health in social and behavioral health sciences, Tagorda was inducted into the Delta Omega Honorary Public Health Society, Gamma Chapter. Tagorda currently works as a program coordinator with the Health Careers Opportunity Program in the Student Equity, Excellence and Diversity office at UH Mānoa.
In her spare time, Tagorda enjoys playing basketball, running at Ala Moana Beach Park, reading and journal writing.