New “Humans of UH Hilo” series showcases people in the university community

The first two people featured in the “Humans of UH Hilo” series are student Juvette Kahawaiʻi and student-athlete Randan Berinobis.

The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo has launched a new series of interviews to showcase people in the university community. The series is called Humans of UH Hilo, a concept based on Humans of New York, a photojournal project of Brandon Stanton that has garnered attention and praise since it began in 2010. The concept has been adopted at other campuses across the country, including UH Mānoa.

Humans of UH Hilo is done in a Q&A interview format for each of the profiles. The project is a collective effort of the UH Hilo Social Media Communicators team, an ad hoc group made up of representatives from Web Services, Admissions, Athletics, Campus Center, Campus and Community Service, ʻOpihi: UH Hilo Student Success (a retention program), Housing, New Student Programs, and Campus Recreation.

Here are the first two members of the UH Hilo community featured in the Humans of UH Hilo series.

Juvette Kahawaiʻi

Juvette Kahawaiʻi
Juvette Kahawaiʻi

Juvette Kahawaiʻi is an accounting and business administration major enrolled at the UH Hilo College of Business and Economics.

Juvette stands with Chancellor Marcia Sakai and a big oversized check of the prize.
UH Hilo business administration major Juvette Kahawaiʻi (right), co-winner of the student competition category of the 2017 HIPlan Competition, stands with UH Hilo Interim Chancellor Marcia Sakai. The prize is shared with another student winner from Hawaiʻi Community College. Photo courtesy of University Relations.

Kahawaiʻi recently won a special student award for her entry in the 2017 HIPlan Competition. She submitted a plan to launch Kupaʻa Tax and Accounting Corporation, a family business that will provide not only tax preparation but bookkeeping and payroll administration for small businesses. Kahawaiʻi plans to be the accountant, her father the head tax preparer, her mother the office manager, and brother-in-law the IT specialist. For the award, UH Hilo will cover the cost of Kahawaiʻi’s tuition next year, about $7,200.

“Throughout my time here at UH I’ve come to recognize that it’s hard for small businesses, especially new businesses, to have accounting expertise in-house,” Kahawaiʻi says. “With my business, it will help to meet [clients’] needs at a conveniently low cost while they focus on their craft. We already have two small business clients lined up and are working to bring on two more.”

In her interview for the Humans of UH Hilo series, Kahawaiʻi says she chose UH Hilo for the affordability and the opportunities available.

Juvette showing t-shirt with the words: You is IMPORTANT.
Above, Juvette Kahawaii, at the UH Hilo 2016 Clothesline Project, shows a t-shirt with a famous quote from The Help, a novel written by Kathryn Stockett: “You is important.”

“I joined the SAC (Student Activities Council), one of our Chartered Student Organizations, and even became the Chancellor for Delta Sigma Pi, our professional fraternity on campus,” she says in her interview. “Through these experiences, I became comfortable being by myself as well as being surrounded by others who make me feel more complete.”

She goes on to say her parents are her main inspiration.

“They’ve always disciplined me since a young child and with having that discipline, I feel like I set my own standards for myself,” she explains. “I know that going to school was something that I really wanted to do. I didn’t really want to just go out into the workforce.”

An internship in her freshman year made a big impact on her future goals. That internship led her to want to become a tax expert and help people in the community manage their finances.

“By actually taking that internship, I gained general knowledge to help myself so I know how taxes work and I can also help others in the community and empower them so that they know what’s going on with their financials,” she says. “I know that eventually, I’ll get to wherever I want to be.”

Randan Berinobis

Randan Berinobis on the court.
Randan Berinobis

Randon Berinobis is a senior majoring in communication at the UH Hilo College of Arts and Sciences. He received a bachelor of arts in kinesiology and exercise sciences from UH Hilo in 2017. Currently he’s on the 2017-2018 men’s basketball roster as a guard/forward.

Berinobis is 2011 graduate of Hilo High School (2011 league player of the year). He then went away to school at Santa Rosa Junior College, Calif., where he played basketball one year. He then transferred back home to UH Hilo.

In his Humans of Hilo interview, he says he didn’t have scholarship opportunities out of high school. He says the journey through his academic career has been a dream come true, especially given that he was able to return to Hilo while his mother battled cancer.

“Going to UH Hilo has been the best decision of my life,” he says.

After graduation, he hopes to take a look at physical therapy schools, and he’d love to be working in Hilo.

“I also want to give back to my community,” he says. “That would mean everything to me to be able to work with kids here in Hilo after graduating. Giving the other kids growing up here a mentor would be a blessing to me.”

He says his take-away from UH Hilo is to “give all you can and have fight in your heart.”

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