Meet the Summer 2014 Leaders


Senior Leaders


Nikki Atienza
Hometown Bremerton, WA
Major Communications
Minor Communicology
Year in School Senior
What do you like most about UH Manoa? I love the diversity of people that you meet on campus. Everyone comes from a different background and has their own story to share as to why they're here and what they plan on doing while at UH Manoa and for their future. I also like the sense of community and closeness with the people you meet, too. It's almost as though everyone is connected in some way. You don't really see that anywhere else.
Most embarrassing college moment: I tried to impress this cute guy at the old gym in Lower Campus. I pulled a muscle instead and walked away in shame to my next exercise.
Any secrets that you'd like to share about the UH Manoa campus? There's a tree on campus named after Martin Luther King Jr. near the Art Building.

Kristine Jan Espinoza
Hometown Carson, CA
Graduate Program Educational Administration, emphasis in Higher Education, M.Ed. candidate
Undergraduate Degrees Biology and Anthropology, B.A.
Year in School First-year Graduate Student
Favorite college moment so far: Looking out at a sea of green (gowns and caps) and relishing every moment at the UHM Spring 2013 Commencement while sitting next to my closest friends.
Favorite place to go have fun: I'm far from being a softball player but hitting at the Batters Box Hawai'i batting cages in Kapolei is a fun and relatively inexpensive activity! In general, I enjoy activities that get me out of 'town' and explore other niches of the island of O'ahu.
Words of wisdom for the parents of incoming students: Higher education is a space not only for your student's academic/career exploration but soul searching. Don't be surprised if they come out a lot different than you remember - that just means they started to author their own life path.

Shaun Higashida
Hometown Kapolei, HI
Major Psychology
Year in School Senior
Favorite snack to buy on campus: The Acai Super Antioxidant that you order in a small cup. Substitute the sherbert for freshly blended bananas. Add whey protein, and the immunity boosts. Top off with Greek yogurt, and extra ice. Once you pay, politely ask if they could pour everything into the large cup.
If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go and why? Norway because I have friends there, I want to learn how to ski and snowboard, and I would like to visit a place relatively opposite of Hawai'i.
Words of wisdom for incoming students: Seriously, study first, don't procrastinate, meet and talk to anyone when you feel up to the endeavor and when the time is appropriate, and sincerely make an effort to commit to at least two UHM programs.

Jeff Kleyner
Hometown Mililani, HI
Majors Astrophysics and Mechanical Engineering
Year in School Junior
What is the best class you have ever taken at UHM and why? Astronomy 110. It steered my choices towards an astrophysics degree and essentially the start of my career.
What made you decide to attend UH Manoa? Born and raised here in Hawai'i. Also UH Manoa has amazing astronomy and engineering programs.
Favorite place to study on campus: The physics library. Couches and coffee. That is all.
Favorite hashtag: #yolofosholo

Summer Leaders


Kelly Backman
Hometown Waipi'o, HI
Major Psychology
Year in School Junior
Theme Song "Rap God" by Eminem.
What is your favorite joke? What did the spam say to the rice? Let's get nori ;)
Is the glass half full or half empty? It's half full of course! But I'm clumsy and I'll probably knock it over like previous times.
Words of wisdom for incoming students: Your parents (or you) are paying for classes so go to them! You'll get better grades and make your time at UHM worthwhile.

Justin Bumanglag
Hometown Kapolei, HI
Major Electrical Engineering
Year in School Sophomore
Favorite place to eat on campus: La Vernes lunch wagon because it serves up some ono local grindz.
Any secrets that you'd like to share about the UH-Manoa campus? Before buying any books, check to see whether or not sinclair has the books you need. Professors sometimes put the books you need on reserve, so get a checkin'.
Words of wisdom of incoming students: Don't do things that you will regret and do things that you might regret not doing later on.
Fun Fact I went to the Haunted Plantation with my family one year. We began to enter through that tunnel, which was the entrance to the plantation, and I was talking to my parents and my sister. I was in the front of the group, talking to them as I emerged from the end of the tunnel. I keep on walking towards the first house, stopped, then looked back, still talking, and I see that all this time I was talking to these zombie like people while my parents and my sister stood by the entrance of the tunnel. I had a good laugh then after. It was more like a funny story, so a fun fact is that I was a state runner up for high school Judo.

Marlee Elston
Hometown Seattle, WA
Major Cell and Molecular Biology
Year in School Graduate Student
What do you like most about UH Manoa? I like that we have a great amount of input from students and scholars from all around the world. I have found that the campus community is full of really caring and welcoming people who are very invested in our campus community and students.
What's your favorite TV show? I almost never watch TV but I'm a huge Star Trek fan.
Most embarrassing college moment: Sitting through half of the wrong class my first day at UH Manoa before realizing I was in the wrong building all together and trying to figure out how to leave without anyone noticing.

Lindsey Kaoiwiokalani Green
Hometown San Diego, CA
Majors Public Health & Women's Studies
Year in School Sophomore
Favorite college moment so far: Becoming life-long friends with my sorority sisters. They give me support and keep me involved with UH in the best ways.
Favorite place to relax: On top of Koko Head where I know I finished a hike and feel invincible.
Favorite place to study on campus: Sinclair! Peaceful and has plenty of room for everyone, without feeling crowded.
What do you think is the greatest invention ever invented? A hair straightener!

Nygell Halvorson
Hometown Seattle, WA
Major Mechanical Engineering
Minor Theatre
Year in School Junior
Favorite college moment so far: Opening night of Big Love at Kennedy Theatre. It was nerve wracking as well as thrilling coming on to stage having to say my first line. After that, it was smooth sailing.
Any secrets that youd like to share about the UH Manoa campus? Know what you have available to you. Take advantage of all things that are a part of the campus life and join as many clubs as you think you can handle. Finally, meet as many people as you can, it never hurts to be friendly.

Koli Kohler
Hometown Forestville, CA
Major Sociology
Year in School Junior
Any secrets you'd like to share about UH Manoa? The best place to see the sunset is from the roofs of the freshmen towers.
Favorite hashtag: #isitfridayyet
What do you like most about UH Manoa? I love the campus, all of my peers, the themed basketball games, the new gym and the great education! I can't pick what I like most - I love it all.
What do you think is the greatest invention ever invented? The printing press so that people could have access to books and knowledge!

Marissa Kuo
Hometown Korea
Major Biology
Year in School Sophomore
List 3 goals on your life's to do list: 1. To travel to Spain, Barcelona, Europe area
2. Become pediatrician/pediatric oncology
3. Learn Spanish and Japanese.
Favorite place to go have fun: Beach because I can just lay down and sleep and if it gets too hot, water is right in front of me to cool down.
Words of wisdom for the parents of incoming students: Students will be frustrated and stressed from the first semester of college, just know to encourage them and let them know it will get easier once they learn the college routine.

Rio Kwon
Hometown Honolulu, HI
Majors Political Science and English
Year in School Senior
Favorite college moment so far: Attending the final game of the football season that ended with a WIN for us! The energy in the stadium was amazing and most importantly, it was awesome to see UH play great football and get a win!
Is the glass half full or half empty? It's always half full. I don't want to dehydrate!
What is your catchphrase? "I'm Rio, not fake"
Words of wisdom for the parents of incoming students: Deciding to attend UH Manoa has been one of the best experiences of my life. Being a student at UH has taught me more than being a good student as it has also taught me to be a better person. Here at UH, the sense of family is strong and this familial connection is what supports and motivates every student to dream big and reach high.

Preston Matsuo
Hometown Mililani, HI
Major Civil Engineering
Year in School Sophomore
Favorite place to eat on campus: Gateway because of the omelets every morning!
Any secrets of UH Manoa you'd like to share? Everyone says Hawai'i Hall has the nicest bathrooms, but the second floor of QLC ... Dayum. They're the definition of clean.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live and why? Fiji, because of the cool pictures I see of the surf and the ocean there. I'd go instagram crazy.
Words of wisdom for incoming students: Put yourself out there, don't be afraid to make friends. Everyone's in the same boat as you, so they're just as afraid as you are and are just waiting for someone to come and talk to them.

Kim Miyamasu
Hometown Honolulu, HI
Major Fashion Design and Merchandising
Year in School Senior
Best class you have ever taken at UHM and why: Hula. It was fun and interesting to learn about the Hawaiian culture. Being born and raise here, we are always asked about it and see it everywhere and so I am glad that I was able to experience it.
Favorite college moment so far: Getting the chance to study abroad [in Japan].
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? Frozen's ice powers, then the cold would never bother me!
Is the glass half empty or half full? Half empty, because you can never stop learning new things and meeting new people.
Favorite hashtag: #hilife

Lavender Oyadomari
Hometown Mililani, HI
Major Dietetics (Nutrition)
Year in School Sophomore
What is the best class you have ever taken at UHM and why? The best class would definitely be my Honors Communicology 151 class. I've realized that public speaking is something that I enjoy, so the class gave me a chance to practice that. It's also extremely interesting learning about everything going on within my daily conversations that I never noticed or understood before. It definitely has a lot of real life application!
Any secrets about UH Manoa you'd like to share? If you're looking for a good water fountain, the ones in Bilger Addition and the dance building are the best!
If money was no object, what would you do all day? Eat at all the best restaurants!

Dylan Wade
Hometown Pismo Beach, CA
Major Political Science
Minor Economics
Year in School Junior
Favorite college moment so far: My favorite college moment so far had to be move-in day of freshman year due to the fact people were running around everywhere and everyone was meeting everyone else and it truly was the moment I registered, "Wow, I'm really in college."
Theme song: "Island in the Sun" by Shwayze
Anything you want people to know about you? I love meeting new people and being introduced to new people so if you see me around come say Hi!
Do you have any unusual fears or phobias? I am abnormally fearful of clowns as well as anything involving teeth and eyes, e.g., loost teeth and contacts freak me out.

Binguang Wang
Hometown Fujian, China
Major(s) Electrical Engineering
Year in School Sophomore
Theme song: "Can you feel my world" by Wang Leehom
If the glass half full or half empty? The glass is half full "and" half empty.....Not "or"
Any secrets that you'd like to share about the UH-Manoa campus? Get tired of typing password when connecting to UHM Wifi? Google ITS wireless UHM!
Favorite place to eat on campus: Stir fresh (previously Taco Bell), because it is a nice place to hang out with friends. It is pretty quiet and not so crowded as other places.
Words of wisdom for incoming students: Learn hard and play hard! Neither should be missing.

Trevor Watanabe
Hometown Manoa, HI
Major(s) Electrical Engineering
Year in School Sophomore
Favorite college moment so far: I think my favorite moments of college so far has to be being in the UH Marching Band. With so many events and making new friends every year, I feel like it's my second family.
Most embarrassing college moment: Being an identical twin, I have a lot of my brother's friends, classmates, teachers and other acquaintances mistaking me for him while passing me in the halls or at a distance. I find it sort of embarrassing when I have to tell them "You must have me mistaken for my twin brother." I honestly don't tire from seeing the look on their faces when they find out we're twins.
Is the glass half full or half empty? Half full because at least there is something there.
Words of wisdom to incoming students: Call home. It'll mean more to your parents than you think.

Ryan Yamada
Hometown Honolulu, HI
Major(s) Communications
Year in School Senior
Best class you have ever taken at UHM and why: IP 364. It's an amazing class. The professor isn't afraid to step out of the boundaries of "traditional" teaching and teach from the soul. For me, a great class is a class that emphasizes building yourself to become better, over striving for just a grade.
Words of wisdom for incoming students: Realize that you're on an island. You also happened to be in the most isolated body land in the world... take advantage of that! There is a lot to see and do, including flying to another island (of course, when you're able to). Just think that if you're stressing over studying, and you can't get out of the area to hike or something, just take a walk around campus, or just look into the valley and see the beauty that surrounds you.
Any unusual fears or phobias? Even though I jumped out of a perfectly functioning aircraft multiple times, I'm afraid of heights.