Kyra Cohen

Kyra Cohen

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Major: Civil Engineering

Year in Program: This is my fourth year of college, technically I am a standing junior. I have two years left in the program. I went to a junior college in Santa Cruz, CA after high school. Then transferred here to UHM for two semesters. I went back home to Humboldt County, CA and attended Humboldt State University where I continued my engineering degree. I transferred back here to UHM for fall 2019 and plan on finishing my degree here in the Civil program.

Hometown: Humboldt County, California

High School: Arcata High School

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: My dad is a Civil Engineer for CalTrans in Humboldt CA. I grew up admiring him and really interested in the projects he travelled around for. I love math and problem solving so he pointed me in that direction once I started thinking about careers. I wasn’t sure if it was going to be a good choice for me, but after applying myself and learning more about the opportunities I’d have in my future I started to really the grind that comes with this major.

Why you selected UH: Since I can remember I’ve loved Hawaiʻi and the people here. I always knew at some point I want to live here, and figured college is the best time. I’ve moved around a bit but am really glad that I have decided to graduate from the COE here at UHM. I think because I have experienced different schools and programs, I can bring a lot of different perspectives.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: I was a competitive dancer for about ten years, until my junior year of high school. I love to swim and be outdoors in general. My mom is personal trainer and I love taking workout from her classes I used to take. Anything outside, hike or even yard work, I enjoy.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: I enjoy the grind that engineering comes with. It is very rewarding to me to understand the material in my classes after working hard to understand it and apply it in real life. I had to learn how to be a good student in college, such as how to study and take notes. I was not a very good student in high school so its something I am very proud of myself for.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students:  I believe that everyone can be an engineer, as long as they are willing to apply themselves to the work. You don’t have to be the smartest in the room or even the most experienced, everyone has something to offer.


Kevin Liu

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Kevin Liu

Major: Computer Engineering

Year Program: Senior

Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaiʻi

High School: Roosevelt High School

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: 
From a young age, I have been exposed to technology by playing computer games and fiddling with electronics. Thus, with my curiosity in computers, I decided to become a computer engineer to pursue a career in an intriguing specialty.

Why you selected UH: 
UH Mānoa was my university of choice because of its affordability and close proximity to family and home. Because of its location, I was able to stay close to my family living in Hawai’i while still enjoying the benefits of college.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities:
In my free time, I like making videos, listening to music, and dancing.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college:
I really enjoy the sense of community alongside the unique opportunities that the college provides for its students. By joining various engineering student organizations on campus, I was able to venture outside my comfort zone and become more involved outside the typical academics, getting a deeper connection to the college and my classmates. I also took the opportunity to study abroad in South Korea for classes that count towards graduation, further expanding my perception of engineering internationally and immerse myself in the Korean culture.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: 
When entering college, push yourself outside your comfort zone. Take that new opportunity; join a new engineering student organization; Talk to your professors. As RM from K-pop group, BTS, said, “I hope you know your limits well, but don’t stay within those limits. Overcome the limits each day.”


Tiana Saito

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Tiana Saito

Major: Construction Engineering

Year in Program: Senior

Hometown: Kailua, Hawaiʻi

High School: Hanalani Schools

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: I decided to be an engineering major in my freshman year of high school because my grandpa would always talk about his job and I found it interesting. Also I always knew I wanted to work with buildings and I did best in math.

Why you selected UH: I selected UH because I wanted to stay close to home.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: I enjoy going to the beach, tandem surfing, and watching crime shows/documentaries.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: I like how we have mandatory advising every semester because it helps make sure I’m on track and my advisor lets me know which course is best for me to take based on my interests and course requirements.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: Take advantage of office hours and get help immediately because once you don’t understand the material, it’s hard to catch up and faculty is always willing to help you succeed.


Kacie Shimabukuro

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Kacie Shimabukuro

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Year in Program: Senior

Hometown: Wahiawa, Hawaiʻi

High School: Hanalani Schools

When and how you decided to become an Engineering major: I decided to become an Engineering major in the Fall 2017 semester. I switched from being a biology major because the math and physics courses that were required within the biology course curriculum interested me more than the life science courses. The projects that were offered within the Mechanical Engineering curriculum became of greater interest to me due to the ability to gain hands-on work of mechanical systems.

Why you selected UH: I selected UH due to the reasonable in-state tuition that is offered and I also wanted to stay closer to my family.

What you do for fun, and any extracurricular activities: I enjoy going out with my friends/ family, listening to music and traveling.

What you enjoy most about your program/the college: I enjoy the hands-on courses that are offered and the opportunity to work in laboratories and on projects that help me to gain both technical skills and the ability to collaborate with others as a team.

Any advice to incoming/prospective students: I would recommend to join clubs and get to know some of your classmates since that allows for the opportunity to form study groups and gain help/ advice from your peers.