About us

Like our campus, we’re constantly improving. We like to shake things up and try new ideas, while still keeping true to best practices in advising. We’re a team of six academic advisors, one career advisor, and three student peer advisors. 

If you are a freshman, you have been assigned an advisor in the Advising Center based on your major.  Find out a little more about your advisor below!  We look forward to working with you.  

If you are not a freshman, we are also here for you.  We are the Go-To office for student advising issues, and can usually assist with helping you make a connection with your major advisors and/or other awesome resources to help you reach your academic and career goals.  

Our team

Jodilyn Kunimoto

Interim Director

I am from Honolulu, HI, but have been living and working in Hilo, since 2005.  When you visit with me, you will find out that I really like my job working with students.  I especially, love helping students realize what their purpose is here at UH Hilo, and helping them along their unique journeys with realizing their goals.  

I am a silent auction junkie.  I will seek out any opportunity to outbid anyone for the items I want.  Watch out for the stink eye if you outbid me.

Majors I primarily advise: General Undeclared.

Kurt De La Cruz

Senior Advisor

I was born in Honolulu, and raised in Up Camp, Na'alehu, in the district of Ka'u. I attended Ka'u High School and went on to obtain my BA from the University of Northern Colorado, and eventually a Master's Degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Colorado State University. I spend my weekends tending to my ever-growing garden at my home, and immersed in activities with my family. 

Majors I primarily advise: Art, Communication, English, Perfoming Arts, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Undeclared.

Comfort Sumida

Senior Advisor

I was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii. I attended Waiakea High School and earned my BA in Economics and Mathematics from UH Hilo and completed my graduate degree in Economics from UH Manoa. I recently moved home to Hilo and joined the Advising Center Staff. On the weekends, I enjoy spending time relaxing and shopping with my family. 

Majors I primariy advise:  Computer Science, Economics, Marine Science, Math, Pre-Engineering, Undeclared.

Holly Garriques

Academic Advisor

I was born and raised on the Big Island, in Hilo.  I earned my degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon and a M.A in International Education from the School for International Training in Vermont.   I have lived and worked abroad in three different countries but Hawaii is always my home.  I could eat mochi and anything with matcha in it everyday.

Majors Holly primarily advises:  Administration of Justice, Anthropology, Chemistry, Kinesiology and Exercise Sciences, Sociology, and Women's Studies.

Keian Shon

Interim Academic Advisor

I was born and raised in Hilo and have attended every Hilo public school since kindergarten. Recently, I became a UH Hilo undergraduate alumni in Spring of 2017 majoring in Psychology. I love being able to work with students and shine light on the experiences that can be achieved at UH Hilo. I look forward to helping students obtain what interests them and creating new goals that can be reached. I've also learned that not even silk is softer than the underneath of a puppy's paw.

Majors I primarily advise: Astronomy, Agriculture (Pre-Veterinary, Animal Science Track), Biology (B.A.), Geology, Natural Science, Physics, Pre-Nursing. 



Melanie Marciel


I was born in Kāneʻohe, but raised in Hilo. One of the many things I love about my hometown is the rain, it feels so relaxing to me. I attended Waiākea High School and obtained my Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and Master's Degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. I love reading, jigsaw puzzles, and movies! My favorite experiences included a manta ray dive in Kona and horseback riding in Waipiʻo Valley. I'm always down for a Big Island adventure, so let me know if you have any suggestions! 

Majors Melanie primarily advises: Accounting, Agriculture, Biology, Business Administration, Hawaiian Studies, Japanese Studies, Linguistics

Jon Sakurai-Horita


I was born and raised in Hilo. I attended Hilo High School and went to Oregon State University to get my BA in Sociology and to Florida State University to get my Masters in Social Work. I returned to Hilo, but I went back to the mainland to get a Master's degree in Educational Psychology and eventually a Doctorate in Education in Higher Ed Student Personnel Work. I've contracted with various organizations in government, health care, and higher ed as well as starting my own recruitiing firm specializing in returning Kama`aina living on the mainland to Hawaii.

I work with students with Career questions, concerns and decisions.  I also do career workshops for classes and other groups on campus.


Our numbers

Flip phones vs smart phones

Aloha shirts in Kurt's closet *

Paper clip daily ration

Mustaches rocked

Coffees consumed per week

Seconds flat to launch MyUH

Average age of an advisor's car

Loaves of banana bread Jodi bakes -- every semester