UH Mānoa civil engineering alumnus Isaiah T.K. Sato, 23, is the cover story of the fall 2015 issue of Winds of Change, a national magazine for American Indians/Alaska Natives/Native Hawaiians/First Nations, with an emphasis on STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math).
Sato graduated with a BS in civil and environmental engineering at UH Mānoa in May 2015, and is working in the civil design department at R.M. Towill Corp. The lifelong Wahiawā resident overcame personal challenges as a young man—including his father’s death from cancer before graduating from Kamehameha Schools Kapālama and his brother’s death from a hiking accident about a year before earning his bachelor’s degree from the university.
Sato excelled in the College of Engineering, spending two years as an undergraduate research assistant in the Hydraulics Laboratory. He was also active in the American Indian Science and Engineering Society, Native Hawaiian Science and Engineering Mentorship Program and Native Hawaiian Student Services at the Hawaiʻinuiākea School of Hawaiian Knowledge.
“The College of Engineering gave me the sturdy educational foundation to become an engineer and valuable internship opportunities through career fairs,” said Sato. “Hawaiʻi is such a unique place, so I was fortunate to be able to learn not only basic engineering, but engineering with a specific focus on the local environment. Plus, through classes, labs and networking events, I developed strong friendships with students and professionals in the engineering field.”
Sato shared that his career goal is to become an influential person who can help raise the standard of living throughout Hawaiʻi. “I want to be an advocate for the land and cater to my home,” he said. “There are many options if you work hard, take every opportunity to learn, and dream big.”