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Past Scholarship Recipients

This year the Alumni and Friends Association is honored to add four new students to its list of scholarship recipients.

Keala Cowell
pursuing a B.S. in Agriculture in the Pre-Veterinary track
Ashley Fukushi
pursuing a B.A. in Chemistry with minors in both Japanese Studies and Biology.
Katherine Hu
pursuing a Masters of Arts in Teaching.
Kalena Spinola
pursuing a B.A. in Biology.

Besides fulfilling its mission to create and promote lasting relationships between the university and the larger community, for over ten years, the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo Alumni and Friends Association has helped the efforts of deserving UH Hilo students through its scholarship program. With monies raised through the Distinguished Alumni and Service Awards Banquet, the Alumni Scholarship Golf Tournament and generous donations from the community, the Alumni and Friends Association Scholarship has supported undergraduate and graduate students with alumni roots to the university, meet their goals, fulfill their dreams and significantly add to the fabric of our community. To find out more about how you can support the scholarship program, call the Alumni Office at (808) 932-7672.


Keala Cowell

Keala Cowell Keala, is proud to have graduated from Kaʻu High School in Hilo. Now she is a pre-veterinary major here at UH Hilo, with dreams to one day establish her own low-cost veterinary clinic here in Hilo. The Alumni Scholarship award has benefited Cowell by giving her opportunity to further pursue her long-term goals. She says, “The Alumni Scholarship has helped me achieve my college dreams by allowing me to have more time to focus on my studies and agricultural work in the community…”

Cowell believed that UH Hilo’s students and alumni are a vital resource for the community. She hopes that one day she can help support the community, the way it supports her, today. She elaborates: “UH Hilo has helped me succeed by providing excellent services, small class sizes, and some amazing professors who genuinely care about their students. I believe UH Hilo is such a unique campus. I hope to come back one day and mentor other UH Hilo students who are enrolled in the College of Agriculture.”

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Ashley Fukushi

Ashley

Ashley, a senior at UH Hilo, majors in chemistry, with minors in both Japanese studies and biology. Fukushi was born in Japan, and raised between Hawaiʻi and Tokyo prefecture. She graduated high school in ‘Oʻahu from Moanalua High School. Fukushi says, “Hilo is a growing college town and a number of opportunities have become available to students and the community through UH Hilo. I have been very fortunate to receive academic scholarships and professional opportunities from UH Hilo that would not have been available elsewhere.”

As Fukushi approaches graduation, she reflects on all that UH Hilo has provided her: “UH Hilo was a great undergraduate experience as the small, personal classroom atmosphere allowed for a lot of networking and research opportunities with faculty. Comprehensively, I have learned how to conduct my own undergraduate research project with Dr. Leng Chee Chang and I am very appreciative of everything UH Hilo offered in my four years.”

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Katherine Hu

Katherine Katherine, who grew up on the Big Island, graduated from Christian Liberty Academy, located in Keaʻau. Hu is currently pursuing her Masters of Arts in Teaching at UH Hilo; she will be completing the program this coming spring. Hu is currently an elementary school teacher, and has plans to continue her career down the path of education here in Hawaiʻi. Hu appreciates the opportunities that the Alumni Scholarship has provided her, stating, “The Alumni Scholarship has helped me to achieve my dreams in many ways. The scholarship has enabled me to pursue a master's degree in something I care about and am deeply invested in, while helping to alleviate financial burden. To have people give me their support through the scholarship means a great deal to me.”

Hu says, “Giving back to UH Hilo holds value, as it communicates a belief in the community's students and empowers them to go out and achieve great things. I feel a strong responsibility to use the opportunities and support that I have been given to serve the keiki of our island. UH Hilo has helped me to achieve success in both my academic and professional life. The education and guidance I received from my professors equipped me to move forward and obtain a career that I not only enjoy, but also find profoundly meaningful.”

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Kalena Spinola

Kalena

Kalena, from Kailua-Kona, graduated in 2014 from Kealakehe High School. Since then, she has set her sights on furthering her education here at UH Hilo. Spinola is majoring in biology, and hopes to one day go to medical school. She says the Alumni Scholarship has provided her with the fantastic opportunity to work towards her life goals. Kailua states, “The Alumni Scholarship has helped me to attend school, but it also gives me the opportunity to broaden my knowledge in a field I am passionate about. It supports me in achieving my long term goals of going to medical school by equipping me with a network and support system of UH Hilo alumni who have pursued the same goals.”

Spinola dreams of using her education to support the local community here on the Big Island: “After graduation, I hope to attend medical school at John A. Burns School of Medicine on Oʻahu, or perhaps another medical school on the west coast. I want to become a doctor and eventually find a job on the Big Island. I have personally experienced the shortage of healthcare workers in Hawaiʻi and I want to become part of the solution to Hawai’i’s healthcare needs.”

Spinola is thankful to have a wonderful community to support her, and her education. UH Hilo has provided Spinola with a number of amazing opportunities to grow. “UH Hilo has given me the opportunity to study and learn about my home. I love being able to discover new things through school about Hawaiʻi because it is of interest to me, as well as connect what I am learning to examples from Hawai’i because it helps me to learn and give me a greater appreciation of home...attending school at UH Hilo has helped me to develop network with people within areas that I one day hope to work in,” said Spinola.

“I believe UH Hilo is a big component of the community. From what the students learn to the research conducted by professors and even the projects performed on campus, it all works to benefit the community of Hilo and our island. By helping UH Hilo succeed we help our community do the same.”

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