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Leoshina Kariha

Leoshina smiling Who are you? (where are you from?) Tampara! My name is Leoshina Kariha, I grew up in Papua New Guinea. I am a Junior currently undergoing my bachelor’s degree in Political Science with a minor in Geography.

As a Papua New Guinean, I am fortunate to be given the opportunity to study in Hawaii under an international exchange program called the United States South Pacific Scholarship Program (USSP) funded by the East West Center and United States Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. I am very appreciative to have the experience of completing my undergraduate studies at the University of Hawaii Hilo, where there is diversity of cultural backgrounds and we have the opportunity to make connections with people from around the world right on our campus grounds every day.

Why are you interested in the subjects of political science? I decided to take up political science as a major because I am passionate about helping in sustainable development and reconstructing systems to meet the needs of the grassroots, who are often neglected. What I value most about political science is that it influences so many aspects of life. No matter how many times we try to ignore political science, it is the doorway of understanding how other systems in the world run. Our land, resources and people are all managed and governed by some sort of leadership. My two friends, Mio and Hannah once told me, “if you want to change the system, you must first be in the system”. By studying political science, I hope that I can learn valuable skills, tools and knowledge that can be combined with my passion, to help promote youth development and assist in bringing basic literacy and numeracy to children in the villages and rural areas of Papua New Guinea.

My father was a part of the generation that fled from Bougainville during a conflict in 1989, concerning the Panguna copper mine, which was the second largest open pit mine in the world at that time. Since then, there have been peace processes that Bougainvilleans go through with all warring parties and beneficiaries of the resources from Panguna mine. Learning political science knowledge will help me to be well-versed with legal processes for the purpose of guiding locals when they are signing agreements that give access for their land to be used by foreign companies. My dream is to see an educated generation that returns to Bougainville to restore the same level of development that the region once had and bring back essential services after the destructive conflict.

What do you want to do or be once you graduate? After graduating, I hope to return to Bougainville (still a part of PNG) and work with a non-governmental organization associated with the ministry of education. I believe that education can change the course of anyone’s life and that it empowers people who desire to improve the economic status of their family. Through education, people in Bougainville will be better informed citizens, especially in this crucial time when they need to be aware of the changes of becoming an independent nation will bring. Also arising out of a crisis, today’s generation will need to be critically aware, to know how to use their resources and skills to build self-reliant communities. In the long-term, I am hoping to become a diplomat for Papua New Guinea, to help students with opportunities to further their education overseas and foster world connections beneficial to communities back-home.


Joshua Liu

Joshua Liu

My name is Joshua Liu, 26 years old and I am a Singaporean living in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia. My family and I have been living in Kuala Lumpur for 23 years now. For the last couple of years I have been based in Hilo as a student athlete majoring in both Political Science and Communications with a minor in History. I am interested in the subjects of Political Science due to the fact that I’ve lived now lived in 3 countries with all totally different thinkings and political beliefs. Even though Singapore and Malaysia’s political system follow that of the British, they both adopt a completely different approach compared to each other. Furthermore they are completely different compared to the political beliefs of the United States. Majoring in 2 subjects and having a minor can be a bit tough to choose what I want to do after I graduate. But I do hope that I can work in the political field working at the government sector or in the communications field for a motor racing team.


Mariah McCaskill

Marian McCaskill

Aloha, I'm Mariah McCaskill, originally from the San Francisco Bay area of California. I am a double major in Political Science and Administration of Justice in my senior year. A few of my areas of academic interest are Civil Rights, Indigenous Rights and Politics, Environmental justice, International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution. My goal is to seamlessly transition into the dual degree program in the Fall term of 2023 at William S. Richardson’s School of Law to obtain a J.D. and M.A. in the Political Science graduate department.

My vision for the future would be to pay the academic gift of knowledge in the areas of Political Science and the practice of Law forward to the next generation of young adult and nontraditional students like me. A juris doctorate coupled with the passing of the Hawaii State Bar exam allows the opportunity to participate in effective policy change where change is long overdue, and provide pro bono services to underserved communities within the State of Hawaii.