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Meet the Staff

Center Staff

Vid RaatiorVidalino Raatior, M.A.

Director, Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Project
PISC, Campus Center 307

Vid comes to UH Hilo from Santa Clara University where he worked as the Assistant Director in the International Programs Office and as Associate Director of the Center for Multicultural Learning for over 10 years. He has also worked as Assistant Director and as a teacher at Xavier High School in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), widely regarded as the best high school in all of Micronesia. Originally from Chuuk, FSM, Vid received his bachelors degree in communication from the University of Guam and a masters degree in school administration from University of San Francisco. He co-founded the Micronesia Dental Support Project (MDSP) and the Fanapi Foundation to help the outer islands in his home country of Micronesia. Vid has been very involved in public educational reform efforts in Chuuk State and social justice, which you can read about on his website and blog at

Desha Staley-RaatiorDesha Staley-Raatior, M.A.

Educational Specialist, Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Project
Student Services Bldg 211 & PISC, Campus Center 307

Desha provides various support services to Pacific Islanders and is affiliated with Student Support Services Program.  She received her BA in psychology from Arizona State University and her MA in international and multicultural education from University of San Francisco. Desha comes to UH Hilo with experience working as Assistant Director of Student Activities and as a Projects & Training Specialist at the University of San Francisco (USF).  In her capacity at USF, she taught college success courses, coordinated leadership development programs, assisted with implementing orientation programs, advised student organizations, and organized and implemented professional and student staff development programs.  She also worked as Assistant Principal at Xavier High School in the Federated States of Micronesia and has worked as a community health educator in Arizona and California.  She is the co-founder of the non-profit organization Micronesia Dental Support Project.

Denise UeharaDenise Uehara, Ph.D.

Researcher, Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Project

Denise serves as a part-time Researcher on the project, conducting studies, investigating factors that facilitate the success of Pacific Islanders in higher education. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at UH Manoa, where she has worked since 2005, and previously worked for many years with Pacific Resources for Education and Learning (PREL) in Honolulu as a Senior Research Associate.  Dr. Uehara has conducted numerous studies and evaluated many programs in education, including throughout the Pacific Islands region.  Her extensive experience in the area of research, evaluation and assessment will not only enable her to make significant contributions to the project, but will also enable UH Hilo to develop and disseminate best practices to the nation on facilitating the success of Pacific Islanders in higher education. In addition, we will be utilizing her expertise to assist Student Affairs personnel with building capacity in evaluation and assessment, such as with developing and assessing learning objectives and outcomes.

Jim MellonJim Mellon, M.A.

Director, International Student Services & Intercultural Education
Principal Investigator, AANAPISI Project
Student Services Bldg 206

The Pacific Islander Student Center & the AANAPISI Project was made possible through the efforts of Jim Mellon who has had a long-standing interest and commitment to the Pacific island students after having served as a volunteer teacher in Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia. Jim began serving as the Director of International Student Services & Intercultural Education in July 2011. He is the Principal Investigator for the AANAPISI Grant and oversees the staff, services, and programs of the PISC. Having previously worked as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at UH Hilo, he is very familiar with the University and its students. Jim earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University and master's degree from the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where he was immersed in intercultural learning and programs as a grantee with the East-West Center. His goals are to facilitate the success of international students, as well as to promote the development of intercultural competence among all students with an emphasis on social justice.

Student Assistants

The Student Assistants work at the reception desk at the Center to welcome visitors and to help manage the Center's services and programs.

Maybeleen ApwongMaybeleen Apwong
Major: Biology (Concentration: Ecology, Evolution, Conservation)
Class: 2014
Island: Pohnpei, FSM

Mayko graduated Xavier High School in Micronesia, class of 2007 and completed an AA degree in Health Care Opportunity Program at the College of Micronesia. She is from the State of Pohnpei specifically from the fantastic municipality of Nett. Mayko is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society specifically the Theta Omicron Upsilon Chapter. She is proud of her community service projects at Xavier and COM. Mayko was accepted into the summer 2012 as part of the Pacific Internship Program for Exploring Science (PIPES) working alongside professional scientists to gain work experience in her field of studies. Someday she would like to return to her country to contribute to the conservation efforts. She advises that students join as many clubs on campus as they possibly can and get to know their advisors and counselors for they are important resources to help them reach their goal.

Jonathan ChugenJonathan Chugen
Major: Political Science
Class: 2014
Island: Yap, FSM

Jonathan is a Junior from the State of Yap, Federated States of Micronesia. A graduate of Xavier High School, Jonathan is a political science major. He loves to work at the PISC to create a safe and welcoming environment for the Pacific islanders and to help new students in their transition to college. Jonathan has served as the Vice President of the International Student Association (ISA) and President of the Waap Student Organization (WSO). Jonathan's unique experience of living in the Residential Halls at UHH has helped him understand the needs of Micronesians adjusting to the dorm life. He is very friendly, outgoing, charismatic, and looks forward to welcoming Pacific island students to the Center and to UHH.

Carli OwanCarli Owan
Major: Kinesiology & Exercise Science (pre-pharmacy concentration)
Class: 2012
Island: Maui, HI

Carli is a senior from Maui majoring in kinesiology and exercise science (pre-pharmacy concentration). She graduated from Kamehameha School, Maui campus in 2008. She advises students to get involved on campus for they make college experience a lot more exciting. She has been part of the Work Hard Play Hard Program, a community-based club, the Hawaiian Club, Pre Pharmacy Club, and participated in the National Student Exchange program where she studied for a year at UNLV. Working at the Center has been eye-opening and has helped her understand different cultures. Take advantage of all the resources out there for there are many....Student Support Services, Kilohana, Minority Access Program.

Paia ToeavaPaia Toeava
Major: Administration of Justice & Political Science
Class: 2013
Island: American Samoa

Born and raised in American Samoa, Paia graduated from Tafuna High School and received an AA from Fullerton College in Southern California. Paia hopes to continue his education at UH Manoa to finish up his ROTC training and complete a masters degree. He is actively involved in the Church or Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a member of the Samoan Club, the Kamehameha Canoe Club, and plays for the Hilo Blue Rugby Team. He is an easy to get along with and want to help any assistance. He advises Pacific island students never to give up on their education or in life.