Alumni Stories

Matsuyama with members and family of the 100th/442nd

Evan Matsuyama

Masters student

Oxford, UK

After graduating with a degree in History from UH Hilo in Fall 2014, I moved to France to conduct research, learn French, and take a short break from school. While there I studied the history of the 100th/442nd and their actions in Vosges region during World War II. I also worked with the City of Bruyeres on the creation of a center for historical interpretation dedicated to the liberation of the city by the Nisei of the 100th/442nd. I have been accepted to the US History graduate program at St Antony’s College in Oxford, UK, and I hope to receive my M.A. in June 2016 and advance to a Ph.D. program soon after.

Studying at UH Hilo, specifically in the History Department, was excellent in terms of preparing me for a future in academia and graduate studies in history. The program’s curriculum does an excellent job of immersing students in the study of history while also teaching key skills like critical thinking, organization, and advanced writing. I was also very impressed by how helpful, knowledgeable, and accessible the faculty members of the department were. They were always inspiring, insightful, and willing to help all of their students excel! I am beyond satisfied with my experience at UH Hilo and I know that I would not be where I am today had I not chosen to study History at UH Hilo.

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Lee taking in the view

Shanda Lee

Masters student

School of Education, UH Hilo, Hawaiʻi

I am a proud graduate of the UH Hilo History department (2013). I am entering the Masters of Arts in Teaching program also at UH Hilo. The History program at UH Hilo was very beneficial to me because of the small class sizes and the open line of communication that was offered. The history faculty were always supportive and helped me navigate my path to graduation. By the time I was ready to graduate, my advisor had also become my friend.

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Robert Franklin

Robert Franklin

Lecturer, World History

Pullman, WA

After graduating from UH Hilo in 2011 and taking a year-long internship with the Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, I moved to Washington where I completed a M.A. in History with a Public History focus at Washington State University. I now teach World History at a local community college and serve as a historical preservation consultant. In January of 2016, I will take an administrative role in the archives of a regional WSU campus, and I am also planning to pursue a Ph.D. in History in the future.

My experience at UH Hilo prepared me in so many ways for my current and future career goals by affording internship possibilities with the Christensen Collection and leadership opportunities in Phi Alpha Theta and History Club — all in a supportive environment where the faculty treated me with kindness, encouragement, and respect. I was encouraged to think about history from multiple perspectives and to give the process of research and writing the necessary time and effort. History is an engaging and exciting field to work in, and while it can sometimes be challenging to find a good job, I was able to leverage the publishing, internship, and scholarly opportunities offered to me at UH Hilo into a solid foundation for my Public History career.

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Sato with his ipu heke

Shohei Sato

Tour guide

Pāpaʻaloa, Hawaiʻi

I graduated in 2011 with a B.A. in History from UH Hilo. I am now learning hula in Hula Meka Honua o Hamakua and run a company called Hawaiʻi Makoa, offering Hawaiian cultural and educational tourism to Japanese visitors. My tours help them learn the importance of themselves and their own culture through Hawaiian culture and lifestyle.

I went to UH Hilo because I love Hawaiian culture and history. My Hawaiian and Asian history degree gave me the skills and knowledge to build bridges between Japan and Hawaiʻi as a tour guide.

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Borges

Kylie Borges

Registrar

Westwood College, Annandale, Virginia

After graduating in 2010 with a B.A. in History from UH Hilo, I enrolled in the Masters of Business Administration at Westwood College. I recently completed my masters degree in Marketing Management and am now considering applying to their doctorate program in Educational Leadership. I am working as the Registrar for Westwood College, and have been with them since 2011.

I went to UH Hilo as a matter of convenience, but I could not have predicted how much my education, specifically my enrollment in the history program, would positively impact me in both my personal and professional lives. I had attended a few other schools before UH Hilo and had changed my mind about my major numerous times. It was Dr. Bitter’s intro-level history class that shattered my negative misconceptions about the study of history, and lead me to realize that history was the program for me.

The History program provides students with an invaluable set of skills that not only help you view and understand the world in a better, broader sense, but those skills can also distinguish you as a job applicant. Furthermore, the education you earn and the people you meet in the program (professors and students alike) stick with you forever. Having that alumni network has been really beneficial to me because, even though we may live quite far from each other, we are our own support network and it is great to be able to celebrate in my fellow classmates’ successes.

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Yoshida

Laʻakea Yoshida

Ph.D. Candidate

College of Education, University of Washington

It was through UH Hilo’s History Department that I developed the building blocks for further historical research and the work ethic it takes for graduate school success. After graduating with a degree in History from UH Hilo in 2010, I went on to receive my masters degree in Roman History from the University of Oxford in the UK, and I also received a certificate in Indigenous Political Leadership from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. At both institutions I wrote historical projects where I always applied the foundational history research methodologies I learned at UH Hilo. These skills continue to serve me as a Ph.D. student at the University of Washington, where I am studying the history of Indigenous education in North America.

In 2006, after spending a semester at Hawai’i Community College, I knew that I needed a greater challenge. I attended the “majors” fair at UH Hilo, where I met and spoke with Dr. Bitter and Dr. Mikkelson. I decided soon afterwards that history was the field that best suited my intellectual curiosity. The UH Hilo History Department was full of supportive professors who were both teachers and mentors. Every professor had an open-door policy and encouraged their students to come address any issue they had in person. Having now spent time at several other universities around the world, I can honestly and wholeheartedly say that UH Hilo is the only institution where I have experienced this kind of personal interaction between professors and students on a daily basis.

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