Emma Lake‘s time at the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu has been bookended by notable achievements—from receiving a Regents Scholarship as an incoming freshman to recently being selected as a fellow for a prestigious local non-profit arts organization as a senior.
And to top it all off, the Mililani resident, who is majoring in Creative Media with a concentration in Game Design and Development, will be receiving her degree within just three years of enrolling at UH West Oʻahu.
“Being able to graduate early is a pretty big achievement to me,” Lake said.
Lake is among more than 300 students who are candidates for graduation this semester, about half of whom will be participating in modified, in-person ceremonies on Saturday, December 11, on campus at UH West Oʻahu.
The fall 2021 commencement is UH West Oʻahu‘s first in-person commencement since fall 2019. It features two ceremonies: The morning ceremony starts at 9 a.m. for business administration and applied science candidates. The afternoon ceremony begins at 1 p.m. for creative media, cybersecurity, education, humanities, natural science, public administration, and social sciences candidates. Candidates are allowed two guests each. (The events are only open to students and guests who registered for the ceremony.) All attendees must be fully vaccinated and wear face masks throughout the ceremony.
Additionally, a separate virtual commencement ceremony can be viewed following the ceremonies and features Chancellor Maenette Benham, UH President David Lassner, Faculty Senate Chair Edward Keaunui, Associated Students of UH West Oʻahu President Gabriel Navalta, and keynote speaker Candy Suiso.
Lake will be among the students who will be participating in an in-person ceremony Saturday on campus.
“Emma is an embodiment of the modern/emerging student who is not your typical learner,” said Sharla Hanaoka, director of the Academy for Creative Media at UH West Oʻahu. “She is both creative and self-disciplined and has an incredible outlook towards the learning process and is a dream to have as a student.”
From Regents Scholar to grateful grad
Lake enrolled at UH West Oʻahu in fall 2018 after graduating from Mililani High School. She was one of 20 high school students awarded a Regents Scholarship, which is given to students with a record of outstanding academic achievement and whose extracurricular achievements are shown to be remarkable.
Like many others, Lake’s experience as a student throughout the COVID-19 pandemic proved to be a big obstacle.
She encourages other UH West Oʻahu students and future graduates to keep going and reminds them not to forget to have fun.
“I would like to thank the amazing teachers, advisors and faculty who worked hard to help me and all other West Oʻahu students these past few years. Without them, my journey would have been impossible,” she said.
Exhibition fellow at Hawaiʻi Contemporary
The non-profit arts organization Hawaiʻi Contemporary, which is dedicated to presenting contemporary art and ideas in Hawaiʻi, selected Lake to be an exhibition fellow. The fellowship takes place over several months.
“I applied to Hawaiʻi Contemporary as part of my senior capstone, since I was looking into interactive art installations as part of my research, and saw this as an opportunity to gain experience about the ins and outs of art installation,” Lake said.
As a creative media major, Lake’s capstone project examined online participatory art, leveraging platforms such as TikTok to create a multimedia interactive exhibition.
As an exhibition fellow with Hawaiʻi Contemporary, Lake is assisting the organization with exhibition logistics, programming and communications. She will help create artist bios, dossiers and presentations, and answer public emails in regards to the Hawaiʻi Triennial 2022, the organization’s signature event.
After graduation, Lake said she hopes to continue to work with Hawaiʻi Contemporary, as well as to look for more opportunities to work in other creative fields.
Read more in Ka Puna O Kaloʻi.
—By Zenaida Serrano Arvman