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Started in 2012, the Engineering Student Ambassador (ESA) program was developed to increase recruitment and retention at the UHM College of Engineering. ESAs are undergraduate students trained to engage in STEM outreach to K-12 students and work with industry partners by planning and coordinating events throughout the year. This program provides our ESAs valuable public speaking and leadership training as they pursue a career in engineering, and sparks excitement about our college – and the field of engineering at large – with Hawaiʻiʻs youth.

We encourage you to reach out to the ESA team to schedule a presentation for your school or request assistance with your upcoming STEM-related event. They may be reached via email at engsamb@hawaii.edu or phone at (808) 956-0776.


Phillip Amona
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Phillip Amona

Major: Computer Engineering

Anticipated Graduation: May 2023

Hometown: Mililani, Hawaiʻi

High School: Kamehameha Kapālama High School

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: I chose to become an engineering major in my senior year of high school. I wanted to work in a field where I could apply multiple areas of math and science to benefit others.

Why you selected UH:  I originally wanted to study outside of the state for college, but I chose UH due to financial reasons. However, I’m glad that I did, since this gives me better opportunities for jobs and internships near my home.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: Arranging & playing music, mostly piano; archery; watching Arrowverse shows; leading RAPS Club.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: I enjoy the rigorous challenges found throughout the engineering program. I also like how each degree is extensive enough that there can be a wide variety of possible careers available to me after I graduate.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: Make the most of your college years. Remember that each year costs money, and there are many opportunities across the UH campus for you to try out before you graduate. Don’t be afraid to expand your horizons!


Quinn Bianchi-Lawson
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Quinn Bianchi-Lawson

Major: Computer Engineering

Anticipated Graduation: May 2022

Hometown: I spent most of my youth in Philadelphia, PA. I moved all around the east coast starting in my 10th grade year. I even spent part of my 8 th grade in Switzerland when my mom got a job opportunity with the World Health Organization.

High School: I went to four different high schools, each in a separate state and ended up graduating from Broad Run High School in Virginia.

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: Originally I thought I would follow in my mom’s footsteps and become a doctor, so I spent a year in a pre-med track. However, after some time I realized my interests were in an area that focused more on math and physics, and their applications in
computers.

Why you selected UH: My mom has lived in Kauaʻi now for a while, and she’s always been eager to have me closer to her. When I decided to tour the college, I realized how great the engineering department is, and the whole college in general. Out of all the colleges on my list, UH stood out as the best choice for me, so when I got the acceptance letter I decided to attend.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: When I’m in an active mood I like to go for a run, or hike one of our beautiful trails. If it’s a stay-at-home kind of day, and I’m not studying or doing homework, you can generally find me either reading a book or playing video games.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: I enjoy the rewarding feeling you get when you solve a complex math or coding problem. I always thought it seemed a bit off to enjoy something difficult like math, but the feeling I get when I’m able to easily understand something that seemed so incomprehensible is my favorite.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: The most important thing you can do for yourself in any new environment is get yourself out there. Get past your anxieties as best you can and meet people who share your interests, who can help you through the rough parts of your degree. Especially in engineering there will be rough parts, but if you have friends to help and you stay ahead of everything you can get through it.


Adam Hu
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Adam Hu

Major: Electrical Engineering

Anticipated Graduation: May 2023

Hometown: Kāneʻohe, Hawaiʻi

High School: Hawaiʻi Baptist Academy

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: I decided that I wanted to become an Engineering major about halfway through high school. I do well in math and science and enjoy problem-solving and making things, so engineering seemed like a good choice for me.

Why you selected UH: I chose UH after attending the College of Engineering’s Open House. I was impressed by their labs, and it seemed that I would receive a solid education at UH.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: In my free time, I like to play my guitar and write songs, go to the beach, play video games, and read.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: I enjoy the opportunity to participate in the VIP program and get involved in an engineering project.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: Take advantage of all the advising opportunities provided to you by the college. It can be confusing at first to know what classes you need to fulfill your major, so having a guide can be quite helpful.


Khaldoon Ishmael
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Khaldoon Ishmael

Major: Electrical Engineering

Anticipated Graduation: May 2022

Hometown: Kirkuk, Iraq

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: I am easily amused by science and technology, it’s one big puzzle. I learned to fix most things that broke in my house at a young age, from fixing the TV and Radio. Engineering captivated me because it is the foundation of all technology. As a student majoring in Electrical Engineering, all the processes considered for even the most straightforward assemblies have always fascinated me.

Why you selected UH: The professors at UH Mānoa all have a similar goal, and it is to make sure that students comprehend and succeed in school. UH, Mānoa is the definition of a melting pot. You will meet and see so many people with different ethnicities, and the best thing out of all of it is that most students are friendly and get along.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: I like to go for a run, kayak fishing, and I am fascinated by muscle cars. For the extracurricular activities, I took a swimming class at UH Mānoa for two semesters.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: I enjoy doing research that allows me to travel and attend conferences to meet other students from different colleges. In addition, I like mentoring freshmen students and sharing my knowledge about electrical engineering classes.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: Engineering is teamwork, so it is essential to know other students, make study groups by joining clubs and research projects. Additionally, take advantage of the great opportunities that the College of Engineering provides to students like scholarship, internships, networking, and future job offers.


Brooklyn Miller
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Brooklynn Miller

Major: Civil & Environmental Engineering

Anticipated Graduation: 2023

Hometown: Columbus, Ohio

High School: Olentangy Orange High School

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major:  I decided to become an engineer because my sister went to school for engineering and she is someone I have always followed in the footsteps of because she is my biggest inspiration.

Why you selected UH:  I chose UH Mānoa because I knew that it would set me up for success on the island better than any other school would.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: For fun I really like to hike, stay active, and it sit on the beach with a good book. If the weather is down you will definitely catch me sleeping or watching Harry Potter.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: So far what I enjoy most about the college is how smart I feel after completing a problem that is really challenging; it really proves to myself that I am capable.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students:  If I had to give any advice it would be to not fall behind and find a way to organize what is due and do it A week before it’s due if you can, once you start to wait it’s A lot harder to come back after.


Brandon Pang
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Brandon Pang

Major: Pre-Engineering

Anticipated Graduation: May 2025

Hometown: Kailua, Hawaiʻi

High School: Kamehameha Kapālama High School

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: I decided to become an engineering major because I was always good with science and math courses in high school. When I was a child my favorite toys were Legos and throughout my life I would always like to do handy things around the house. With my plans to join the military I want to help the military by improving its technology and keep its status as the best military in the world.

Why you selected UH: I am in the high school class of 2020 and due to COVID-19 I was having a hard time deciding on what school to attend. I picked UH because they had a plan laid out for me unlike the other schools I was accepted to. They were clear on what they wanted to do in terms of online, hybrid or in person. UH extended their commitment date unlike the other schools so this showed great management by the school. Knowing that management was good I picked UH because I could trust them when it came to executing things in hard times.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: In my extra time I usually like to do projects around the house. I like using machines and with the pandemic the last 1.5 years I have had the time to try everything around the house from car mechanics to pressure washing, cutting the grass, and painting.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: The one thing that I enjoy most about the college so far is how they have managed online school. Since I am only a freshman going into sophomore year I believe that the only thing I can really talk about is management. The college of engineering has adapted quickly to the new online school environment and they still are carrying out what they need to do.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students:  The one thing I would tell the new students is to meet with your advisors. Being lost my freshman year advising really helped me with my plan and guided me through it as semesters went by. I also got motivated and had a purpose instead of taking random classes not knowing if I had to be in them or not.


Christianne Young
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Christianne Young

Major: Computer Engineering

Anticipated Graduation: May 2023

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

High School: Hawaiʻi Baptist Academy

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: Math and science were my favorite courses in high school, so I knew that I wanted to pursue a STEM major. My interest in the constant innovation of technology helped me decide on studying engineering. I enjoyed programming and computer engineering allowed me to gain knowledge in both software and hardware development and design.

Why you selected UH: UH was the most cost effective option for me, and receiving a scholarship to the university gave me the ability to pay for my education independently.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: I like watercolor painting, baking, and spending time with friends and family in my free time.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: The coursework challenges and encourages me to excel in my classes. I am able to relate the concepts I learn in class to real world situations, making me eager to learn and expand on topics from my courses. The faculty advisors are there to help me succeed and to work with me in figuring out the best paths to achieve my goals.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: Push the limits of your comfort zone and take advantage of the opportunities presented to you. Allowing yourself to grow in unfamiliar situations is rewarding.


Former ESAs

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