Nā Mamo A Hanakahi Alumni Project

You can reach us by phone at 808-932-7355, via email at stemploy@hawaii.edu, or by visiting the Student Employment Office in-person, during our normal office hours Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm HST.

Na Mamo A Hanakahi Alumni Project The Student Employment Office is working on a project to highlight the career journeys of UH Hilo student employee graduates!

Axel Defngin
Prior to graduating with his B.A. in Liberal Studies in the Fall of 2017, Axel worked as a UH student employee in various positions including as an Athletic Event Staff for the Student Life Center and as a Student Staff for the EEO/ Title IX office. Today, Axel works as a Graduate Assistant at the Center for Pacific Island Studies (CPIS) while working towards his M.A. degree in Pacific Islands Studies at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. In this short clip, Axel shares with us his deep appreciation for UH Hilo's Pacific Islander Student Center (PISC) which provided him opportunities that inspired both his current academic path and his asipration to help and support other pacific islander students.
Axel Defngin Alumni Interview- Director's Cut

I ended up not really being passionate about academia itself but more about education in general especially helping Pacific Islander students in higher education to be successful, especially for us Micronesians. I think coming here, whether it’s Micronesians born and raised here, or Micronesians coming out of Micronesia, it’s always been difficult; it’s always been hard. And I think we need more support and more people we can look up to. I think that’s something I’ve always wanted to do to help, is help students; be that support for them. -Axel Defngin


Rebecca Ziegler
Rebecca currently lives in Kissimmee, Florida and works as a Water Sciences Dive Master, Commercial Diver & Team Trainer for Walt Disney World. In the Spring 2015 semester, Rebecca graduated with two bachelor degrees- Marine Science and Communications. As a UH Hilo student, she worked as a student employee with the Student Life Center as an Outdoor Edventure Staff member where she took students on activities around Hawaii island. In this position, Rebecca also served as a Dive Master for UH Hilo Scuba classes.
Rebecca Ziegler Alumni Interview- Director's Cut

My personal favorite was when the professors love to use kapakahi in his lecture constantly and whenever any time anything goes crazy, I say it! -Rebecca Ziegler


Michael-Edward "La'akea" Stone
La'akea currently works as a Legislative Correspondent in Senator Mazie Hirono's office in Washington D.C. As a student La'akea studied Linguistics and graduated with a bachelor of art's degree in the Spring of 2018. He also worked as a student employee first as a Halaulani Peer Mentor with the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center; as a Linguistics Teaching Assistant with the Ka Haka ʻUla O Keʻelikōlani College of Hawaiian Language; and as a Resident Assistant and, later, an Office Assistance with University Housing.
Laakea Stone Alumni Interview- Director's Cut

My whole life I thought, ʻOh, Im gonna go to school and I know what I want to do' and then I got there and I was like, 'This is not what I want to do' so I was like, "Woah, I have to rethink my entire whatevers that I wanted to do and now figure out something else' so I switched majors.. -La'akea Stone

Interested in Participating?

  • Are you an alumni of UH Hilo?
  • Did you work as a UH Hilo student employee?
  • Do you have a story to tell?

Yes, Yes, & YES? Then we want to hear from you!

We would like to hear about how your academic background and past experience as a UH Hilo student employee contributed to your career journey and current occupation. We want to know where in the world your career has taken you and how you are serving your communities. Most of all, we want to share your story with current UH Hilo students!

Contact Raynell Espaniola for more information!

Other Resources

Candid Career

Candid Career logo

Bridge to Hope

Bridge to Hope: Education to Leave Poverty; not welfare


The University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. Title IX Coordinator: Jennifer Stotter/Jenna Waipa, eeoaa@hawaii.edu, (808) 932-7642.