UH Hilo business alumna starts law school

Alexa Hadiyanto has consistently shown professionalism, leadership ability, and an extremely resilient attitude both in and outside the classroom.

 Portrait of Alexa Hadiyanto with Warren Hall law school building in background.
UH Hilo alumna Alexa Hadiyanto has started her first year at the University of San Diego School of Law. (Courtesy photo)

By Cheylan Zimmermann.

A University of Hawai‘i at Hilo alumna has started her first year at the University of San Diego School of Law.

For Elviana “Alexa” Hadiyanto (Business Administration and Management, 2020), the road to law school took a few twists and turns as she navigated through the pandemic for two years after graduation from UH Hilo. She had planned to continue her work at Grand Naniloa Resort, which she started while an undergraduate because it aligned so well with her studies at UH Hilo’s College of Business and Economics.

However, due to COVID-19, she and many others in the hospitality industry were laid off shortly before her graduation in March 2020, and she was unable to make the advances she hoped for.

Rising to the challenge

After graduation, Hadiyanto applied for multiple jobs in Hilo, and soon became a legal secretary for the law firm Nakamoto, Okamoto & Yamamoto, which allowed her to demonstrate the skills she learned in her classes and prior job.

“I enjoyed learning about the law and helping the attorneys, as well as working with the clients and being there for them,” says Hadiyanto. The work sparked an interest in law as she realized there will always be people who need legal help, and that there are “endless law paths to work in.”

This encouraged her to take the Law School Admission Test and then apply to several law schools, including University of California-Los Angeles, UC-Irvine, University of Southern California, and University of San Diego (USD).

In August 2023, Hadiyanto began her first year of law school at USD. Currently, she has finished her midterms and is working hard to prepare for finals. Although the first year of law school has been a challenge, she has risen to the challenge making many achievements.

Large two-story building, arched windows, palms landscape.
Warren Hall, University of San Diego School of Law.

Hadiyanto is taking 15 credits and is one of USD’s Faculty Honor Scholarship recipients. She is also a representative for the International Law Society and a part of the Asian Pacific American Law Society Association.

Since attending USD, Hadiyanto has found an interest in international law and immigration law field.

“My family and I immigrated to the U.S. from Indonesia when I was five years old,” she says. “I would love to be able to help other immigrants obtain citizenship.” She adds that her goal is to “practice hybrid between Southern California and Indonesia.”

Top 5% of the class, incredible work ethic

The director of UH Hilo’s business college, Associate Professor of Management Todd Inouye, taught Hadiyanto when she was an undergraduate in his strategic management class. Inouye wrote a glowing letter of recommendation for Hadiyanto when she was applying to law school.

“She left a very positive impression due to her excellent demonstration of academic ability and motivation,” writes Inouye in his letter of recommendation. “In all cases, she was in the top 5% of the class, and I expect nothing less from her going forward.”

Red-roofed UH Hilo College of Business and Economics, covered walkway into the entrance.
College of Business and Economics, UH Hilo.

In addition to her academic excellence, Inouye notes Hadiyanto’s “incredible work ethic,” and that her “personality and attitude are quite remarkable. She has consistently shown professionalism, leadership ability, and an extremely resilient attitude both in and outside the classroom. She takes initiative and welcomes challenges and responsibilities by planning tasks and projects in a proactive manner.”

Inouye says Hadiyanto’s academic experience shows UH Hilo can serve as a platform to propel students into diverse opportunities and successful careers such as law.

“Alumni like Alexa are proof that UH Hilo is accomplishing its mission to challenge students to reach their highest level of academic achievement,” he says, adding that the university’s business college provides a foundation for students to become confident, competent, and ethical business leaders, as stated in the college’s mission statement.

“I am proud that the [College of Business and Economics] could be a part of her distinguished and diverse academic journey,” says Inouye. “I expect big things from her going forward.”


Story by Cheylan Zimmerman, an English major at UH Hilo.