UH Hilo students excel at state leadership conference

All 10 UH Hilo delegates competing at the conference placed in their events, with one team taking first place in their category. In the process, students honed public speaking and interpersonal communication skills, gained knowledge, and networked.

By Susan Enright.

Group photo with the Representative.
State Rep. Mark Nakashima (center) stands with UH Hilo HOSA delegates (l-r) Jeremy Villanueva, Lark Jason Canico, Kelly Gani, Leslie Arce, Travis Taylor, Sheldon Cabudol and Deserie Pagatpatan. Missing: Daniel Kimura, Kateleen Caye Bio and Kendrick Justin Dalmacio. Courtesy photo.

Students from the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo excelled at the 13th Annual Health Occupation Students of America (HOSA) – Future Health Professionals State Leadership Conference held in February on O‘ahu. All 10 delegates placed in competitive events, with one team taking first place in the public service announcement category.

The students are undergraduates at UH Hilo and have varying majors and fields of interest such as nursing, pre-nursing, pre-pharmacy, and pre-medicine.

“Our UH Hilo students involved in HOSA are driven to become future leaders in healthcare,” says Jarred Prudencio, assistant professor of pharmacy practice at the UH Hilo Daniel K. Inouye College of Pharmacy and advisor for the group. “The students put in a great amount of effort into studying and researching their respective topics in order to prepare for these competitions.”

The Public Service Announcement (PSA) Team A, with members Sheldon Cabudol, Lark Jason Canico (UH Hilo alumnus) and Kelly Gani, earned top honors for their video on “Prediabetes: Stopping a Runaway Train.”

Canico recently ended his term as the Hawai‘i HOSA state officer and regional coordinator and is now co-advisor for the UH Hilo chapter along with Prudencio.

Team B, with members Leslie Arce, Deserie Pagatpatan, Travis Taylor and Jeremy Villanueva, earned third place with their PSA video on the same topic.

In individual competition, Daniel Kimura placed second in the Medical Terminology category. Kateleen Caye Bio placed second in Pharmacology, and Kendrick Justin Dalmacio placed third.

Prudencio says the skills that students gain in the competition are valuable for their current academic career and future employment opportunities.

“Students are able to hone their public speaking and interpersonal communication skills, enhance their knowledge, and practice professionalism and networking,” Prudencio explains. “Though this is an extracurricular activity, the knowledge and skills they are learning are part of the critical foundation that all healthcare professionals must have. The HOSA conferences also feature interactive workshops from current healthcare professionals that gives the students insight into various careers opportunities.”

The UH Hilo HOSA delegates are now looking forward to the HOSA 41st Annual International Leadership Conference, to be held June at the Dallas Convention Center, Texas.


Story by Susan Enright, a public information specialist for the Office of the Chancellor and editor of UH Hilo Stories. She received her bachelor of arts in English and certificate in women’s studies from UH Hilo.

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