Counseling Services Staff
Chun Fang "Frank" Kuo, Ph.D., Counseling Services Director
Frank Kuo received his M.S. in Counseling and Counselor Education at Indiana University at Bloomington and earned his Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He utilizes Rogers’ Client-centered approach. Frank listens and tries to understand how things are from the client's point of view. He treats the client with the utmost respect and regard. Frank also uses Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. The basis of this orientation is around the concept of peoples’ thoughts affecting their actions and if their thoughts change, their actions can change, even if the situation stays the same. He uses many different strategies and techniques in this school of thought, along with borrowing from other approaches if he believes it will be beneficial for his client.
Frank looks at a student’s entire life, i.e. social, family, personal beliefs, environment, and genetics. He views mental health as a continuum, where students should be continuing their growth to the next stage and reaching their highest quality of life. Frank’s areas of interest include multicultural issues, international student outreach, diversity issues and cross-cultural adjustment, spirituality issues, supervision and training, and group counseling. Frank is able to provide bilingual counseling in English and Mandarin Chinese.
Andrew Polloi, M.A., LMHC
Andrew Polloi received his M.A. in Counseling Psychology from UH Hilo. Andrew seeks to create a supportive, culturally sensitive, understanding, sincere, and approachable working alliance. Andrew's approach to counseling is based on cognitive-behavioral theories and humanistic and person-centered theories. Andrew invites students to explore their potential and make the most of their personal and academic experiences.
Andrew also directs the Men of Strength program at UH Hilo.
"At the core of my counseling practice I am a person centered therapist. In that, I believe that the human body and mind is designed to heal itself and if I provide an individual the opportunity they can feel empowered to make the changes they want in their lives. Providing empathy, authenticity, and unconditional positive regard are the core of all my interactions whether it be with students seeking counseling, faculty and staff consultations, or in my role as leader for Men of Strength. My vision for myself is to be a competent mental health counselor, be a resource and advocate for Pacific Island students and address gender based violence in our communities."
Ekaterina Kapoustina, M.A., Mental Health Counselor
Ekaterina (aka Ekat) holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from UH Hilo, and a B.S. from the University of Toronto, Canada. Ekat’s person-centered approach to counseling provides a safe, non-judgmental environment for clients to learn about themselves, navigate challenging life transitions, and foster resilience. Ekat draws from attachment theory and views connections with others as central to understanding the person in a holistic way, as such a strong therapeutic alliance is at the core of her practice. Ekat’s passion is working with couples and individuals through an attachment lens to help clients gain a deeper understanding of their interactional patterns, increase emotional awareness, develop better communication skills, and form deeper connections.
Ekat has completed trainings such as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) and an Emotionally Focused Couples Therapy 4-Day Externship to further her growth as a counselor. She has experience working with adults, adolescents, children, and families in various settings such as communities, in-home, over the phone, and online. Ekat has worked with individuals displaying symptoms of anxiety, depression, conduct disorder, ADHD, among other disorders. Ekat’s experience as an international student brings a unique perspective to understanding issues of acculturation and assimilation, values, and cultural attitudes that contribute to a client’s experience and identity. In the future, Ekat hopes to become certified in Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), provide educational workshops, consultation, and mentorship to new therapists.
Tatiana "Hinano" De La Cruz
Hinano is a graduate student in the Counseling Psychology program at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Before pursuing her master's degree, Hinano graduated with her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Hilo with High Honors and was recognized as the Psychology Department's "Outstanding Senior" in 2020. She also works as a Peer Mentor and Student Assistant at the Kīpuka Native Hawaiian Student Center where she organizes events geared towards academic success, personal development and student engagement.
Born and raised in Hawaii, Hinano is passionate in giving back to her community and has committed herself to aiding ethnic minorities and marginalized populations across Hawaii. Hinano employs an integrative approach to therapy; recognizing that each person is unique in their needs, goals, beliefs, values and aspirations. She holds unconditional positive regard as essential when working with clients to ensure a safe and non-judgemental environment which is especially important when working in such a diverse population. Her overall goal for all her clients is to help them in their journey of understanding themselves and those around them while also empowering them with skills to lead a fulfilling life.
Samantha (Sammy) Bailo
Samantha (Sammy) Bailo is a second year Counseling Psychology student at UH Hilo. Sammy takes a collaborative approach with students, inviting them to explore their family of origin, cultural identities, gender and sexual orientation, and spiritual beliefs to form a positive sense of self.
Sammy has worked with a variety of young adults in therapeutic settings including horticulture therapy, case management, and at a rape crisis center providing advocacy and support. She is passionate about the power of a positive therapeutic alliance and is a big fan of experimenting with clients and hands-on expressive activities such as gardening and Sandplay.
Sammy speaks fluent Tongan and some Spanish. She served in the Peace Corps from 2014-2017 in the Kingdom of Tonga.
Meriah Nichols, M.A.
Meriah Nichols is currently a 2 nd year graduate student in the Counseling Psychology program at UH Hilo. Prior to pursuing her counseling degree, Meriah received a master’s degree in International, Intercultural Management and worked for over a decade in Career Development and International Human Resource Development and Training. Meriah’s bachelor’s degree was from UH Hilo. She has also received training and certification in career planning, job development, and expressive arts therapy.
Meriah’s areas of interest include career counseling (career profile assessments, social media, resume and cover letter reviews and mock interviewing), cross-cultural transitions/issues, grief and trauma, issues related to the non-traditional student (single mothers in particular), and all areas of disability: disability pride, accommodation, access, and integration. #BlackLivesMatter #LoveIsLove
Originally from the San Francisco Bay Area but raised in the Pacific and Asia (- Hilo, Fiji, Japan, Taiwan), Meriah understands the importance of narrative in both framing future and past trajectories. She leans into an integrative, creative, unconditionally positive, person-centered approach in counseling. Meriah believes that her role as counselor is to provide an empowering framework through which students may glean the threads whereby a new pattern of wellness can be woven.