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S-STEM Scholar Profiles - Cohort 2

Cohort 2 scholars received the S-STEM award Fall of 2016.

Jamae Balagot

Jamae sits on a bus and gives two peace signsHello! My name is Jamae Balagot, I am a sophomore at UH Hilo, currently majoring in Cell and Molecular Biology. I was born in the Philippines and raised on the Big Island of Hawai Ľi. In my spare time, I enjoy hanging out with friends and family, being outdoors, and I love to travel (I am currently on exchange in New York). I aspire to be a Pediatrician. Pursuing a career in the medical field has motivated me academically. My educational plans include going to a four-year university to get my bachelors degree in Biology then go to Medical school to get my medical degree to be a Pediatrician. I will achieve these goals by making sure I do well in all of my classes and do volunteer work at the hospital; that will expose me to career readiness skills and I will gain hands-on experience. Once I have attained my career goal, the ultimate objective that I would like to achieve is helping my community by saving the lives and keeping children healthy for a bright future. I enjoy being around children, so being a pediatrician will be very enjoyable and that's what makes a career worthwhile. I know that there will be ups and downs with this career but in the end, all that matters is helping children live healthy lives and reach for the stars. I would like to be a role model that inspires the community I serve, to give them an opportunity for a better lifestyle, and I hope that will cause a ripple effect for my patients to dream big.


Alec Goodson

Alec smiles with his arms crossed

Hi! My name is Alec Goodson, and I am originally from Eugene, Oregon. I moved to the Big Island shortly before beginning high school. I graduated from Kealakehe High in Kailua-Kona, with honors, and a certified STEM diploma. I was also very involved in the robotics program winning many local, state and national awards. Upon graduation, I was awarded several scholarships which enabled me to attend college and I am now pursuing a BA in Computer Science.¬†¬†I came to the University of Hawai Ľi at Hilo for unique entrepreneurship ¬†opportunities,¬†which would not be possible without the Dorrance and S-STEM Scholarships. After getting my degree, I plan¬†to create a series of video games based on an anime comic I¬†created. Hopefully,¬†I will be able to¬†start my own company one day. Being on my computer and exploring the campus are my current favorite activities¬†if I have free time. And thanks to this wonderful experience, I hope to turn my dreams into reality!


Jelyn Heaster

Jelyn sits on a rock at the top of rainbow falls

Hello everyone! My name is Jelyn Heaster, and I am a student¬†of¬†the University of Hawai Ľi at¬†Hilo. I came from the Philippines. My majors are Environmental Science and Biology in Cell and Molecular Track. I¬†chose¬†to major in both disciplines¬†because¬†of my fascination with science. To me, science opens a new world of discoveries, enlightenments, and advancements. It provides windows into a better understanding of disease and its cures. I¬†have a¬†strong desire to help people, especially those¬†who are suffering¬†fromill health. My career goal is to become a¬†Biomedical Researcher and help fight disease. I am thankful¬†to the different¬†scholarship foundations, including the S-STEM scholarship, for helping me accomplish my goals. My experience¬†at UH Hilo has enriched my life, and I am looking forward to learn more from my classes!
I believe in the saying "knowledge is wealth", so let's attain higher education and be thirsty for knowledge!


Jodice Popovich-Pung

Jodice smiles at the beach Aloha, I am Jodice Popovich-Pung. I grew up in Honoka‚Äôa and graduated from Honoka‚Äôa High School. Now I am a college student working towards degrees in Marine Science and Hawaiian Studies at the University of Hawai Ľi, Hilo. Outside from college, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, playing music, and adventuring. My goal is to earn a degree that will prepare me for a career that will sustain the family I am going to create in the future and support the family that has cared for me.


Yaeko Tagami

Yaeko smiles Hi, my name is Yaeko Tagami. I am a sophomore at UH Hilo, pursuing a Bachelor‚Äôs Degree in Biology. I was born in Hilo, Hawai Ľi, but I was raised in Texas and Louisiana. I enjoy playing softball, basketball and Taiko. I graduated from Hilo High School and I wanted to attend UH Hilo because I‚Äôve been moving in between states for majority of my life. I am so happy staying home and attending a university on the Big Island. When I lived in Louisiana, I was homeschooled. My only classmate was my brother, so the NFL was a big part of my life. My favorite football team will always be the Minnesota Vikings. My dream is to attend medical school in Minnesota, researching pathology, while working at a part time job at the U.S. Bank Stadium.


Shayla Waiki

SHayla smiles while sitting at the beach Aloha my name is Shayla Waiki and I am a Marine Science Major here at the University of Hawai Ľi at Hilo. I was born and raised on the Island of Hawai Ľi and always envisioned a Marine Science based career with a specific focus on conservation. I plan to further pursue my interest in Marine Science and gain the knowledge and experience necessary to be succesful even after my undergraduate career. My passion for the ocean was second nature due to the fact that I come from a family of well rounded individuals who practice mutliple activities such as fishing, diving, and opihi picking. On my free time I enjoy spending quality time with friends and family, and seeking new adventures. I look forward to what the future holds as I continue on my path towards my career goals.