Laurie Arial Tochiki is the Executive Director of EPIC ʻOhana, a nonprofit organization serving families, children and youth in the child welfare system. “EPIC,” which stands for Effective Planning and Innovative Communication, reflects the organization’s goal of breaking down barriers between social workers, families, government systems and others. EPIC is the backbone organization for a network of agencies and foundations called Nā Kama a Hāloa, which seeks to improve outcomes for native Hawaiian children touched by the child welfare system.
From 1999 to 2011, Tochiki served as Associate Dean for Student Services at the William S. Richardson School of Law. She was responsible for all aspects of student life from recruitment, admissions, academic support, disciplinary matters, financial aid and career services. Over the years, she taught Children and the Law, Family Law, Higher Education Law, Second Year Seminar and Lawyering Skills. Tochiki taught briefly at Kapiʻolani Community College, and as Assistant Professor she developed a live family law clinic at the law school.
Tochiki is a proud product of public education in Hawaiʻi. She grew up in Waipahu and graduated from Waipahu High School. She was a member of the 5th graduating class of the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi. While working at the University she studied higher education administration and policy, earning a PhD in Education Policy in 2015. Her dissertation described the Ulu Lehua program and in particular the work of Chris Iijima, a professor who led the program in the early 2000’s. Tochiki also earned a Masters in Administration, with an emphasis in Public Administration from the Hawaiʻi campus of Central Michigan University and has a Bachelor’s degree from Whitman College with a double major in Sociology and Psychology.