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person with a hat at a robotics competition

Evan Takushi’s journey at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa proved that hard work and seizing opportunities pays off.

person with a hat at a robotics competition

The 2022 mechanical engineering graduate is based in Los Angeles as a systems engineer at Raytheon, an aerospace and defense company. He was first introduced to what UH Mānoa has to offer through a summer engineering program as a junior at Mililani High School. After coming to UH, he first connected with Raytheon at a UH Mānoa College of Engineering career fair. In addition to his studies, Takushi participated in several student organizations, including UH’s Hawaiʻi Space Flight Laboratory (HSFL).

“When I was first introduced to UH, I realized that I could stay home for a fraction of the cost, as well as being able to get these hands-on experiences that other competitive mainland universities would be able to provide,” Takushi said. “If you’re able to use those opportunities to the best of your ability, you can thrive in as many ways as possible. And I feel like that’s where I found myself with the College of Engineering.”

One of the projects Takushi worked on as a student was the Hyperspectral Thermal Imager satellite, which launched from Kennedy Space Center in March 2024. The project’s focus is to gather valuable data for understanding Earth’s surface processes, including volcanic activity, wildfires and soil-moisture levels. Takushi’s experience working on satellites with HSFL and mentoring the Mililani High School robotics team helped propel him into his position with Raytheon, where he now works on radar programs testing and development.

Networking with other successful alums

person in a lab with other people

In addition to his professional achievements, Takushi remains an active participant in UH alumni events in southern California. He credits other UH alumni in the area with helping him to adjust to life in Los Angeles. Takushi also recalled a recent UH Foundation event where Provost Michael Bruno learned about his involvement in the March satellite launch.

“It’s been pretty great to meet the different alumni and see how they support people that come from Hawaiʻi because they know the transition is a little tough just because you’re away from home, away from your family,” Takushi said. “Having them as a contact and a resource has been great for my transition up here. I met quite a bit of my friends that I have now up here just through the UH network of people that work at Raytheon.”

Takushi makes his way back home to Hawaiʻi a couple times a year to visit with family and friends. He sometimes contemplates returning home for work, but says more jobs are needed and further development in the industry to make that a reality. Now thriving in the field, Takushi encourages current and future students to network and take advantage of the opportunities the College of Engineering and UH have to offer.

“If you just reach out to people and build up these connections while you’re in college, you’ll have a strong way to get into the workforce, as well as being able to pivot within the job market,” Takushi said. “UH has a very strong alumni network, and that’s a really important benefit of attending and graduating from UH.”

—By Marc Arakaki

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