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Students and professionals at the networking event.
Kūkulu Networking Event participants on November 9 at UH West Oʻahu.

A mix of more than 100 professionals and University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu business and cybersecurity students attended the Kūkulu Networking Event, which provided participants a chance to network, find job placements and learn more about local industries.

“The overall goal of the event was to showcase our amazing UH West Oʻahu students to local professionals,” said Katie Landgraf, assistant professor in accounting at UH West Oʻahu. “We see how hard they are working to earn their degree, so we want to give them opportunities to find local jobs to help fulfill their future career goals. We also created an environment to enhance their soft skills and present them in a professional manner.”

Marnelli Joy B. Ulep, program development manager for the business division at UH West Oʻahu, added that the name of the event is significant and reflected on the event’s purpose.

“We chose the name ‘Kūkulu’ because it refers to growth and building horizons, along with connection,” Ulep said. “The committee felt that it captured the goal of the event, to encourage students to make connections so that they can build their horizons to impact their future success.”

AJ Antonio, a student majoring in business administration with a concentration in accounting, plans to graduate in spring 2024 and aspires to become a certified public accountant.

“A lot of renowned companies are here, so whether it’s to learn something from them, to network with them, or just to get to know the companies a little bit more, not only does it help me, but this is an opportunity for everyone,” Antonio said.“When I decide to apply for an internship or for a job, maybe they could direct me in the right path.”

UH West Oʻahu alumni network

Among the professionals who attended Kūkulu was Nikki Tamayo, overnight resort assistant manager at the Four Seasons Resort Oʻahu at Ko Olina. Tamayo, who graduated in fall 2017 from UH West Oʻahu with a bachelor of arts degree in business administration with a concentration in hospitality and tourism, said it would have been nice to attend an event like Kūkulu as a student.

“This opportunity was an important one for them because there isn’t just one company out there, there are millions of companies out there with many job opportunities,” Tamayo said.

Another professional who attended Kūkulu was ETS Cyber Security Analyst Alysha Camille Leano, who also graduated from UH West Oʻahu. Last year, Leano earned her bachelor of applied science degree with a concentration in information security and assurance.

“I believe my personal experience gave a lot of insight on what resources and paths are possible, have been successful, and the routes that weren’t as successful. Anecdotes like this give space for honest conversation and help build bonds that can be used to their advantage when the time comes. I know I’m looking forward to hearing from a few students who may intern with our office come next semester,” Leano said.

The first-time event was co-organized by Landgraf and Ulep.

For more visit Ka Puna O Kaloʻi.

by Zenaida Serrano Arvman

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