About Us Academic Support Campus Development Community Outreach A Gathering Place PISC

Located in Campus Center 307, the Pacific Islander Student Center (PISC, pronounced "peace") was established in 2010 through the generous support of a $1.9 million grant by the US Department of Education to facilitate the success of Pacific island students at UH Hilo. In 2012, UH Hilo received a 5-year AANAPISI grant to fund staffing, services, and programs of the Center.

Mission & Goals

Recognizing that under-represented students are sometimes marginalized on college campuses, the Pacific Islander Student Center at UH Hilo encourages and supports the achievements and contributions of Pacific Islanders on campus and in the surrounding community.

The goals of the Center are to:

  • provide a welcoming, supportive and safe environment
  • facilitate the retention and graduation of Pacific Islanders
  • increase interaction and dialogue among students from different cultures
  • support intercultural understanding and social justice in the pursuit of a more just society
  • enable students, faculty and staff from all cultural backgrounds to learn about Pacific peoples, histories, languages, cultures and contemporary issues
  • combat stereotypes and ethnocentrism

These aims are to be realized in part through educational programming, which promotes changes and growth in knowledge, attitudes and behaviors throughout the campus community.

Meet the Staff

Vid RaatiorVidalino Raatior, M.A.

Director, Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Project
raatior@hawaii.edu
808.933.3857
PISC, Campus Center 307

Vid comes to UH Hilo from Santa Clara University where he worked as the Assistant Director in the International Programs Office and as Associate Director of the Center for Multicultural Learning for over 10 years. He has also worked as Assistant Director and as a teacher at Xavier High School in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), widely regarded as the best high school in all of Micronesia. Originally from Chuuk, FSM, Vid received his bachelors degree in communication from the University of Guam and a masters degree in school administration from University of San Francisco. He co-founded the Micronesia Dental Support Project (MDSP) and the Fanapi Foundation to help the outer islands in his home country of Micronesia. Vid has been very involved in public educational reform efforts in Chuuk State and social justice, which you can read about on his website and blog at www.raatior.com.

Desha Staley-RaatiorDesha Staley-Raatior, M.A.

Educational Specialist, Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Project
deshasr@hawaii.edu
808.974.7616
Student Services Bldg 211 & PISC, Campus Center 307

Desha provides various support services to Pacific Islanders and is affiliated with Student Support Services Program. She received her BA in psychology from Arizona State University and her MA in international and multicultural education from University of San Francisco. Desha comes to UH Hilo with experience working as Assistant Director of Student Activities and as a Projects & Training Specialist at the University of San Francisco (USF). In her capacity at USF, she taught college success courses, coordinated leadership development programs, assisted with implementing orientation programs, advised student organizations, and organized and implemented professional and student staff development programs. She also worked as Assistant Principal at Xavier High School in the Federated States of Micronesia and has worked as a community health educator in Arizona and California. She is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Micronesia Dental Support Project.

Denise UeharaDenise Uehara, Ph.D.

Researcher, Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Project
duehara@hawaii.edu
808.933.3857

Denise serves as a part-time Researcher on the project, conducting studies, investigating factors that facilitate the success of Pacific Islanders in higher education. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at UH Manoa, where she has worked since 2005, and previously worked for many years with Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) in Honolulu as a Senior Research Associate. Dr. Uehara has conducted numerous studies and evaluated many programs in education, including throughout the Pacific Islands region. Her extensive experience in the area of research, evaluation and assessment will not only enable her to make significant contributions to the project, but will also enable UH Hilo to develop and disseminate best practices to the nation on facilitating the success of Pacific Islanders in higher education. In addition, we will be utilizing her expertise to assist Student Affairs personnel with building capacity in evaluation and assessment, such as with developing and assessing learning objectives and outcomes.

Jim MellonJim Mellon, M.A.

Director, International Student Services & Intercultural Education
Principal Investigator, AANAPISI Project
mellon@hawaii.edu
808.974.7313
Student Services Bldg 206

The Pacific Islander Student Center & the AANAPISI Project was made possible through the efforts of Jim Mellon who has had a long-standing interest and commitment to the Pacific island students after having served as a volunteer teacher in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Jim began serving as the Director of International Student Services & Intercultural Education in July 2011. He is the Principal Investigator for the AANAPISI Grant and oversees the staff, services, and programs of the PISC. Having previously worked as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at UH Hilo, he is very familiar with the University and its students. Jim earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University and master's degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he was immersed in intercultural learning and programs as a grantee with the East-West Center. His goals are to facilitate the success of international students, as well as to promote the development of intercultural competence among all students with an emphasis on social justice.

Student Assistants

The Student Assistants work at the Center to welcome visitors and to help manage the Center's services and programs.

Pauleen FredrickPauleen Fredrick
Position: Events Coordinator
Email: pfredric@hawaii.edu
Major: Marine Science
Island: Pohnpei, FSM

Pauline came to UH Hilo from the state of Pohnpei- FSM with an Associate of Science degree in Marine Science from the College of Micronesia (COM). While at COM she worked as a Student Assistant to the Financial Aid offic. She also served as a Peer Educator in which she participated in health outreach programs. In addition, Pauleen worked as a tutor for Talent Search Program (TSP) where she assited students with classworks and prepared them for college. Recently, she participated in undergraduate internships at the University of Hawaii at Manoa where she conducted individual research projects on designated marine and terrestrial organisms. She was one of the pioneer participants in the Pacific Islander Summer Bridge Program in 2012 at UH Hilo. Pauleen is a junior now at the UH Hilo pursing a Bachelors of Arts in Marince Science. She is the secretary of the Pohnpei Kaselehlie Club.

Pauleen coordinates all the events and activities at the Center including Facility Request Forms, scheduling, workshops, social activities, club activities, and recreation.

Calvin MyazoeCalvin Myazoe
Position: Community Outreach Coordinator
Email: cmyazoe@hawaii.edu
Major: Business
Island: Majuro, RMI

Calvine was born and raised in the Marshall Islands, but attended and graduated from San Lorenzo High School in California. He went on and attended the College of the Marshall Islands(CMI) studying Liberal Arts while also working full time for the Bank of the Marshall Islands. He is currently studying Accounting at UH Hilo and also serve as the Male Sports Coordinator for Marshallese Iakwe Club (MIC). His main goal is to graduate with a degree and to further his studies in accounting.

Calvin coordinates all the Center's community outreach efforts including the What's Our Story?, Island Time, Teacher Education And Community Help, and Community Service project.

Tarsis lived in the Resident Halls with the Pacific Islander Summer Bridge Program participants to conduct evening programs and services.

Program Assistants (On-Call)

 

AkuilaAkuila Smau
Position: Program Assistant (On-Call)
Email: asmau@hawaii.edu
Major: Environmental Studies
Island: Republic of Palau

Akuila is from the Republic of Palau, a 2012 graduate from Bethania High School where she represented Bethania High School to the 2011 Close-Up program in Washington D.C. In addition to this, she worked at the Ngaraard Elementary School by assisting math teachers with lessons and offered tutoring services to the students. She is a sophomore currently pursuing her Bachelors of Arts Environmental Studies. She also participated in the 2012 Pacific Islander Summer Bridge Program. Academically, Akuila made the College of Arts & Science Dean’s list in fall 2012. Akuila currently serves as the secretary of the Ngelekel Belau Club (Palau Club).

Akuila will be assisting PISB participants during all programs-sponsored activities and events including meals, workshops, social activities, recreation and field trips. In addition, she will coordinate and provide assistance and address needs or concerns of participants.

FennyFenny Seklii
Position: Program Assistant (On-Call)
Email: fseklii@hawaii.edu
Major: Administration of Justice
Island: Republic of Palau

Fenny comes to UH from the Republic of Palau and is a junior currently majoring in Administration of Justice. She graduated from the Palau Community College where she was a student assistant in the work study office and served as the student body president. Additionally, she was an active member for both the Tourism Club and the Canoe Club, helped assist during registration week, and was an orientation leader. Last semester she had the opportunity to volunteer for the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Annual Conference as a student guide for attendees.

Fenny will be assisting PISB participants during all programs-sponsored activities and events including meals, workshops, social activities, recreation and field trips. Addition, she will coordinate and provide assistance and address needs or concerns of participants.

WaerinWaerin Edwin
Position: Program Assistant (On-Call)
Email: wedwin@hawaii.edu
Major: Sociology
Island: Chuuk, FSM

Waerin is a junior currently majoring in Sociology. She is from the State of Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia. She graduated from Hawaii Community College in Hilo with an Associate of Arts degree. In addition to this, she is the President of the Chuukese Student Association (CSA) as well as the Vice President of the Administration of Justice Club. Waerin works for the Disability Services at Hawaii Community College as a note-taker and technology lab assistant.

Waerin will be assisting PISB participants during all programs-sponsored activities and events including meals, workshops, social activities, recreation and field trips. Addition, she will coordinate and provide assistance and address needs or concerns of participants.

Academic Success Team

The tutors hold office hours at the Center to help Pacific islander students with their academic work.

Grace UalesiGrace Ualesi
Position: English Tutor
Email: gualesi@hawaii.edu
Major: Administration of Justice
Island: American Samoa

Born and raised in American Samoa, Grace Ualesi was the class of 2010 Valedictorian for the Kanana Fou High School, where she was President of the Math and the English Club and the National Honor Society organization. She attended the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) and was elected as President for the Criminal Justice Club and worked as a a tutor for Math and English under the LSAMP Program. Grace became an alumni of the ASCC when she graduated with Associate of Arts Degrees in Liberal Arts and Pre-Law. Accepted to UH Hilo, she chose to major in Administration of Justice with a goal to participate in taking the Law School Admission Test(LSAT) before becoming an alumni of UH Hilo and hopes to be accepted by the Yale Law School University, her childhood dream school, and have a law firm of her own.

Grace is the writing tutor on the Academic Success Team. She is available for the Tutor-on-Demand program whereby students can make appointments to meet with her anywhere, anytime that is mutally good for you.

Elaine Chugen
Position: Business Tutor
Email: echugen@hawaii.edu
Major: Business
Island: Yap, FSM

-- Bio Coming --

Elaine is the Business Tutor on the Academic Success Team. She is available for the Tutor-on-Demand program whereby students can make appointments to meet with her anywhere, anytime that is mutally good for you.

Jesse Robert
Position: Special Programs Coordinator
Email: jesse20@hawaii.edu
Major: Math
Island: Kosrae, FSM

-- Bio Coming --

Jesse graduated from UH Hilo with a Bachelors Degree in mathematics. His role on the Academic Success Team include serving as a Tutor-on-Demand program specifically for math classes.

PISC Advisory Council

The PISC Advisory Council advises the Director on the Center’s services, programs, and its capacity to support Pacific islanders succeed in higher education. It is representative of the uniqueness of the Pacific island groups, cultures, and needs at UH Hilo. Members include the presidents of the various Pacific island student organizations, members of the faculty and staff, partners in the local community, Pacific island alumni.

Purpose

The council is created for the purpose of advising, leading, and preserving the ideals upon which the Pacific Islander Student Center (PISC) was created and helping to ground the PISC'S services and programs in the reality and challenges of our unique island cultures and students.

Members (AY 2013 - 2014)

  • Ken Fanolua - President, Tupulaga O Samoa mo a Taeao (The Samoan Club)
  • Yvonne Johnny - President, International Student Association
  • Mark Bigler - President, Marshallese Iakwe Club
  • Tarsis Raffilug - President, Waab Student Organization
  • John Alokoa - President, Kosrae Hilo Organization
  • Desiree Seklii - President, Ngelekel Belau
  • Sean-Michael Cantero - President, Pohnpei Kaselehlie Club
  • Waerin Edwin - President, Chuukese Student Association
  • Dr. Craig Severance - Faculty, Anthropology
  • Thomas Raffipiy - Community Member, UH Hilo Alumni
  • Jim Mellon - Director, International Student Services & Intercultural Education
  • Vid Raatior - Director, Pacific Islander Student Center

Activities

  • liaising with their student clubs, organizations, departments
  • networking with the community at-large regarding the programs and services of the Center
  • assessing the needs, trends and success of the Center's programs and services
  • conducting needs assessment of individual or groups of Pacific island students
  • advocating for the needs of the Pacific island students at UH Hilo
  • attend one planning meeting during the Fall term and other meetings as needed

Friends of Pacific Islander Student Center

Mission

A network of faculty, staff, and community leaders who support and promote the Pacific Islander Student Center's mission, services, and programs.

Activities

Members of this network will be invited to participate in any number of the following activities as time permits:

  • Welcome Reception: Annual reception during the 2nd or 3rd week of the Fall term to officially recognize and welcome all new Pacific island students to UH Hilo.
  • Professional Mentoring: Serve as professional mentors for Pacific Islander students
  • Pacific Speaker Series: Guest speakers from throughout the Pacific region who will talk about pertinent issues regarding the region.
  • Conferences: Conferences that address the needs of Pacific Islanders in higher education.
  • Highly Engaged Learning Positions: Enabling Pacific islander students at UH Hilo to create meaningful jobs or projects that impact their learning while fulfilling the needs of the Pacific islander community on campus, in Hawaii, or the region.
  • Pacific Islander Senior Ceremony: Annual ceremony prior to commencement to recognize graduating seniors from the Pacific islands.

Join

Friends of PISC is open to anyone who wishes to join our mailing list. To join please email Vid Raatior (raatior@hawaii.edu) with the following information:

  • Full Name
  • Position
  • Organization / Department / Company
  • Email
  • Phone
  • Website (if any)
  • Any questions, comments, or resources that you can offer for the Pacific island students at UH Hilo.