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About Us

Ensuring our success, sharing our cultures, building our community, renewing our spirit

Mission & Goals

Recognizing that under-represented students are sometimes marginalized on college campuses, the Pacific Islander Student Center at UH Hilo encourages and supports the goals, achievements and contributions of Pacific Islanders on campus.

The goals of the Center are to:

  • provide a welcoming, supportive and safe environment
  • provide access to resources such as computers for students
  • offer a gathering place where students can meet to study, socialize and hold meetings
  • increase interaction and dialogue among students from different cultures
  • support intercultural understanding and social justice in the pursuit of a more just society
  • enable students, faculty and staff from all cultural backgrounds to learn about Pacific peoples, histories, languages, cultures and contemporary issues
  • combat stereotypes and ethnocentrism

Meet the Staff

Professional Staff

talaite petrowski

Talaite Petrowski
Phone: (808) 932-7795

Talaite oversees the Pacific Islander Student Center and coordinates Center programs and activities. At UH Hilo, Talaite previously coordinated AmeriCorps, service-learning, and campus and community service programs. She is a past recipient of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs award for excellence in service. A graduate of UH Hilo, she has also worked as a language and culture coordinator/trainer with the US Peace Corps, a language instructor at the University of the South Pacific, a Regional Supervisor with the Fiji Bureau of Statistics, and a family visitation program monitor with the Hawaii Island YMCA. She has lived and traveled extensively, including throughout the Pacific Islands, Egypt and Boston.

Talaite with Senator Brian Schatz

Talaite with Prosecutor Mitch Roth

Student Assistants

The Student Assistants are the front-line support crew for the PISC serving as receptionists to provide hospitality to visitors and users and to help manage the Center's services and programs.

Jacob Kom
Major: Business Administration
Island: Chuuk, FSM

Mapo Kesi
Major: Communication & Sociology
Island: American Samoa

Ipolani Kebekol
Major: Accounting
Island: Palau

Seupepe Sinclair
Major: Computer Science
Island: Western Samoa

Rudy Milne
Major: Anthropology
Island: Marshall Islands