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UH Hilo student earns USA Today national academic honors

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Date: Tuesday, March 8, 2005
Contact: Alyson Kakugawa-Leong, (808) 974-7642

For Immediate Release

Melvin Jadulang

A University of Hawaii at Hilo student has received honorable mention to USA Today’s 2005 All-USA College Academic Team.

Melvin Jadulang, a junior from Kapa`au in the Colleges of Agriculture, Forestry and Natural Resource Management (CAFNRM) and Arts and Sciences (CAS), was the only student from Hawai`i to receive the honor, which recognizes outstanding undergraduates of at least sophomore standing seeking their first baccalaureate degree at four-year institutions in the United States and its territories.

More than 600 nominations were submitted nationwide for the newspaper’s 16th annual student recognition program. The criteria is designed to find students who excel not only academically, but also in leadership roles on and off campus.

Jadulang’s academic achievements, campus involvement and leadership qualities have earned him numerous scholarships. He is a two-time University of Hawai`i Presidential Scholar, recipient of CAFNRM Dean’s Tuition Waiver and the UH Hilo Leadership Scholarship. Jadulang is also a three-time recipient of the Hilton Waikoloa Village Scholarship, and the first Hawai`i member since the early 1970s to be awarded the American Future Farmers of America Degree from the group’s national organization.

His campus activities include serving as a senator for the UH Hilo Student Association (UHHSA) representing CAFNRM, president of the Filipino Club, and co-chaired the Safe Zone Training Program. He has also served as an agricultural development program peer advisor, webmaster for the University’s student newspaper and serves as a student volunteer in the UH Hilo Admissions Office.

Equally active in community affairs, Jadulang served as a legislative youth issues co-chair, working with high school and college students to develop and lobby for legislation concerning secondary and post-secondary education, agriculture and world community development. He currently works in the Department of Education as a program coordinator for the Future Farmers of America. Jadulang also speaks regularly at civic forums in public schools.

“During my 30 years as the head of Student Affairs at three universities, I have met few student leaders with better leadership ability, intellectual skills, and commitment to others than Melvin Jadulang,” wrote Dr. Keith Miser, UH Hilo vice chancellor for student affairs, in his nomination letter. “I can think of no other individual more deserving of this recognition.”

A key element given most weight by the judges is a student’s outstanding original academic or intellectual product. Jadulang’s project involved coordinating a statewide Career and Technical Education Convention, which is now in its third year and has impacted more than 650 students and 50 teachers.

Jadulang helped organizers solicit over $20,000 in public and private donations to assist with the cost of the event and to recruit an associate from the Anthony Robbins Group as the convention’s keynote speaker. Jadulang’s contributions continue to pay dividends, as partnerships developed in organizing the convention have evolved into a steering committee that is now assisting the state Department of Education in developing a career pathways core program.

“When I attended the statewide conference, I was amazed at the size and scope,” wrote Lana M. Mito, retired state educational specialist for student activities, state Department of Education, in support of Jadulang’s nomination. “The conventions that Melvin helps coordinate provides students with more incentive to learn and do well, and enable them to develop and use the skills necessary to achieve these general learner outcomes in a venue outside the school setting.”

Jadulang plans to graduate with a bachelor of arts in communication and bachelor of science in agriculture in December 2005. His career goal is to become a public relations specialist.

When notified of his selection, Jadulang expressed surprise. Though pleased with the recognition, he was quick to credit others for their contributions.

“It is definitely something I am proud of, but if not for the opportunities and support of my mentors both in the community and at UH Hilo, these projects never would have succeeded,” Jadulang said. “I thank everyone for helping and allowing me the opportunities to be involved in such worthy undertakings."

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