As Election Day approaches, two political science majors at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo recently released a public service announcement (PSA) featuring students, Chancellor Bonnie Irwin and Hawaiʻi County Mayor Mitch Roth encouraging citizens to vote. Riana Jicha and Leoshina Kariha are members of the UH Hilo Iota Iota Chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha, a national political science honor society, and secured a Civic Engagement Grant from the organization to fund the PSA.

Jicha headshot
Riana Jicha
Kariha headshot
Leoshina Kariha

Jicha and Kariha plan on dedicating their lives to public service after graduating from school. Jicha, a transfer student from Hawaiʻi Community College is a senior at UH Hilo double majoring in political science and administration of justice.

“I want to dedicate my education to working in the public sector and serving my local community,” Jicha said.

Kariha is a junior at UH Hilo majoring in political science with a minor in geography and a certificate in international politics. She grew up in Papua New Guinea.

Kariha decided to take up political science because she is passionate about helping in sustainable development and reconstructing systems to meet the needs of the grassroots, who are often neglected.

“What I value most about political science is that it influences so many aspects of life,” said Kariha. “No matter how many times we try to ignore political science, it is the doorway of understanding how other systems in the world run. Our land, resources and people are all managed and governed by some sort of leadership.”

Su-Mi Lee, an associate professor of international relations and chair of the Department of Political Science, is overseeing the students’ work.

“Through this project, we hope to give UH Hilo students an opportunity to think about the importance of voting and their participation in the political process,” said Lee.

For more go to UH Hilo Stories.

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