Ng performing a hula/Tahitian/ballet/modern dance fusion at the 72nd Narcissus Pageant.

Jenalyn Ng, a graduate student in the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa College of Education, was crowned the 72nd Narcissus Queen on April 3. Ng, who is also a preschool teacher and education specialist at the UH Mānoa Children’s Center, earned her BEd in early childhood education and is currently working on an MEd in curriculum studies with a focus on preschool through third grade.

Jenalyn Ng

Ng was among five contestants who competed in four phases, which included judges’ interview, talent, Chinese evening gown and speech.

“Congrats to Jen! I’m so proud that she is using her platform as the Narcissus Queen to share the importance of meaningful early learning experiences,” said associate professor Leah Muccio. “She is a wonderful mentor teacher to the undergraduate initial licensure teacher candidates because she’s been in their shoes and shows them what is possible when children learn and grow through play. She models how to value the voice and imagination of a child.”

Applying teaching methods

Of her experiences at the College of Education, Ng said that studying teaching methods and learning styles, then getting the opportunity to apply them at field placements and the Children’s Center gave her a better understanding of the content she was being taught.

“The COE has helped me develop my own teaching style and beliefs,” said Ng. “My undergraduate cohort coordinator, Leah Muccio, was also amazing. She continues to support me as my supervisor in my master’s program. She is constantly helping me blend my passion for helping other people and animals into not only my teaching, but my master’s work.”

I hope to use my title to continue to help and give back to organizations and causes in our community while promoting education
—Jenalyn Ng

Passionate about Howard Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences, Ng said that she grew up struggling in school. It was her older brother who taught her basic geometry and angles using dance practices, which worked for her since she was a dancer for 13 years.

“As a teacher, I see how important it is to not only figure out what your students are interested in, but also how they learn best while promoting good self-esteem,” concluded Ng. “I am also passionate about animals. I grew up with a mini zoo at my house and continue to have a lot of animals to this day. I often use animals to help teach young children to learn about empathy and how to care for something or someone other than themselves.”

Ambassador of community and state

Ng’s responsibilities as Narcissus Queen include representing the local Chinese community through the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, as well as serving as an ambassador of aloha. She and her court will also participate in a “Goodwill Tour” in mainland China as representatives of Hawaiʻi’s Chinese community.

“I hope to use my title to continue to help and give back to organizations and causes in our community while promoting education,” concluded Ng.

This is an example of UH Mānoa’s goal of Enhancing Student Success (PDF), one of four goals identified in the 2015–25 Strategic Plan (PDF), updated in December 2020.