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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 professional staff and two student advisors. Say hello if you see us on campus!

Our team

Kainoa Ariola

Senior Advisor

Kainoa was born and raised in Kōloa, Kauaʻi. She attended Kamehameha Schools-Kapālama on Oʻahu and went on to earn a BA in Hawaiian Studies from UH Hilo and an MA in Administration, Curriculum, and Instruction from Gonzaga University. She is currently training to become a kumu hula under her hālau, Unukupukupu, and spends her free time fulfilling hula responsibilities, hiking, traveling, and writing.

Kainoa absolutely relishes the debilitating muscle aches that linger after running marathons.

Kurt De La Cruz

Senior Advisor

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

Kurt lists fatherhood as his greatest calling, and cheers for the Minnesota Vikings, his favorite football team.

Jodilyn Kunimoto

Senior Advisor

Jodi was born and raised in Palolo Valley, Oahu.  She has an M.Ed. in Counseling and Guidance from UH Manoa. Besides the work that she loves (advising students), she is mother to a future Vulcan, daughter of a Hiroshima atomic bomb survivor, and the owner of two wonderful dogs that walk her every day.  If you don’t find Jodi in her UH Hilo office, you may find her at the Student Life Center pool swimming laps.  

Jodi is a silent auction junkie.  She will seek out any opportunity to outbid anyone for the items she wants.  Watch out for the stink eye if you outbid her.

Comfort Sumida

Senior Advisor

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

Comfort loves numbers and she finds enjoyment in solving a particularly difficult KenKen puzzle.

Holly Garriques

Academic Advisor

Holly was born and raised on the Big Island, in Hilo.  She has a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon and a M.A in International Education from the School for International Training in Vermont.   She has lived and worked abroad in three different countries but Hawaii is always her home.

Holly loves mochi so beware if she spots you with some.  She may just snatch it from right under you.

Lyssa Sakamoto

Academic Advisor

Lyssa, born and raised in Hilo, attended Waiakea High School and began her college journey at UH Manoa. After taking a break from college (Ahem, we won't say how long a break) she decided to return and complete her degree. A proud alumni of the University of Hawaii at Hilo, she earned a BA in Administration of Justice and Sociology and MA in Counseling Psychology. Lyssa enjoys spending free time with family and friends.

Lyssa is a serious bacon lover.  She eats bacon, eggs, and rice almost every morning. She recently promised to cut down by not eating bacon every morning, but she's obviously in denial since she clearly hasn't (Ask Holly!)

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