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Tyler Linmark is a content creator and discipleship director for young adults at New Hope Oʻahu. (Photo courtesy: Tyler Linmark)

Tyler Linmark, one of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s fall 2022 graduates, is a perfect example of how a student can discover their passion within the UH System.

The 2016 McKinley High School alumnus began his higher education journey pursuing a communications degree at Kapiʻolani and Honolulu Community Colleges. He transferred to UH Mānoa in fall 2020 and decided to change his focus to Japanese. Around the same time in his personal life, Linmark felt his calling was to serve God and became an intern at New Hope Oʻahu.

He discovered the interdisciplinary studies program at UH Mānoa and combined all three of his passions to form his personalized degree called international theology. After a few dedicated years, Linmark will graduate with his bachelor’s degree, along with a minor in Japanese, on December 17 at the Stan Sheriff Center.

“I’m very grateful for the interdisciplinary studies program for how flexible they are and how well they work with the students. For me, I felt like I was truly in charge of what I could study and what I could take,” Linmark said. “With international theology, I was able to take a huge umbrella of classes from art, to psychology, to philosophy. It was truly a godsend for me.”

“I felt like I was truly in charge of what I could study and what I could take.”—Linmark

Aside from his studies, Linmark was also involved with the Pacific Asian Center for Entrepreneurship (PACE) and the Hawaiʻi Student Entrepreneurs (HSE) program.

“Throughout the pandemic, PACE provided a home for me digitally through Zoom workshops, and physically though sPACE, the co-working environment,” Linmark said. “The Hawaiʻi Student Entrepreneurs were also so welcoming. HSE helped me stay serious about my social media company, networking and business mindset. I was even referred to be their marketing director at one point.”

Student speaker finalist

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Tyler Linmark with the Hakuoh University Handbell Choir. (Photo courtesy: Tyler Linmark)

Linmark was one of several fall 2022 UH Mānoa graduates who auditioned to become the commencement speaker. While he was not selected, Linmark was named a finalist. In his audition speech, he talked about growing up in Kalihi and Chinatown. His parents divorced when he was young. He remembers his mom would come home from her job exhausted while still having to take care of him and his two siblings. His older sister, and later, his father, would continue to support him throughout high school.

“I was blessed to discover my dream of making YouTube videos while in high school. I was even more blessed to learn how my dream could be used to inspire thousands around the world,” Linmark said. “I knew that when I first enrolled in college, I was gonna value the unforgettable experiences, I had more than my GPA. I’m extremely grateful to say, I was right.”

Check out photos from UH Mānoa’s commencement ceremony

Linmark also noted the challenges that his fellow graduates faced in pursuing a degree in higher education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To my fellow 2022 graduates: We. Did. It. We persevered through isolation, division and fear. We are extremely blessed, don’t forget to be grateful,” Linmark said.

Pursuing a career as a pastor

Linmark is now a content creator and discipleship director for young adults at New Hope Oʻahu. He hopes to continue this work full-time after graduation.

“Regardless of my job title in a church, I believe I’m still a son of God and an influencer for the Gospel. I’ve realized that I don’t just make cool videos or work ‘for’ God, but I do everything I do because of Him. I’m fulfilled in what I do because He still loves me despite my shortcomings, and I get to help others see how loved they are,” Linmark said.

—By Marc Arakaki

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