UH Hilo business alum Raisa Ancheta heads for UC Irvine med school

Following her graduation from UH Hilo in 2011, Raisa Ancheta worked as a senior accountant at a brokerage firm in the San Francisco Bay Area, but found her interests pulled her to learning more about science.

By Susan Enright

Raisa Ancheta
Raisa Ancheta

An alumna of the business college at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo is now heading to medical school.

Raisa Ancheta, formerly Raisa Evora, earned her bachelor in business administration from the College of Business and Economics in the spring of 2011 with a grade point average of 3.98 and highest honors. And now she is headed to the University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine, which is ranked as one of the top 50 U.S. medical schools for research by U.S. News & World Report. The school accepts under two percent of applicants each year.

Following her graduation from UH Hilo, Ancheta, who hails from Hawai‘i Island, worked as a senior accountant at a brokerage firm in the San Francisco Bay Area, but found her interests pulled her to learning more about science. “I was fortunate to work in one of the greatest work environments as a senior accountant,” she says. “However, I found myself constantly reading science textbooks on my commute to work.”

She left the job when her husband was deployed and stationed in Wisconsin, where she took advantage of her new freedom during this time of transition to pursue the passion for science she had developed. And that’s when she began thinking a career in health care might be a better fit.

“I realized that I could not only have tremendous fun working in a field that I love, but I also had the advantage of understanding the management, accounting, (and) marketing related aspects of business, which is an integral part of the health care system.”

So, she decided to earn a bachelor of science in microbiology at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh where she graduated in 2018 with a 4.0 GPA summa cum laude. Then she applied for medical school. And now she’s on her way to UC Irvine.

Ancheta credits her academic success to her business background and her experience at UH Hilo, saying the combination makes her uniquely prepared for studies in life sciences and medicine.

“I do not think I could have succeeded this way had it not been for the strong foundation I received at University of Hawai‘i at Hilo,” she says. “All my professors and mentors were beyond kind and encouraging. They offered me so many opportunities to shine academically and made me feel like I could succeed in anything I set my mind towards.”

Ancheta also notes the support of her family has been central to her success.

Raisa, husband and children stand at the ocean.
Raisa Ancheta with her husband and four children.

“I am also grateful for the support of all my family on the Big Island of Hawai’i,” she says, noting her mother, Sunday Leimomi Nelson, with a master’s in education and now earning a doctorate, was an especially empowering influence on her daughter’s decision to become a medical student.

“She advocated for children and families of East Hawai’i in the pursuit of mental health parity,” says Ancheta. “Her commitment to learning and the support I had from the UHH faculty inspired me to combine my business background, my love of science, and my desire to help others into a career in medicine.”

Ancheta lives in California with her husband, two daughters and two sons.

Full story at the College of Business and Economics News website.


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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