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by Christina Failma, Online editor


Carissa Ching, a talent acquisition manager at Duty Free Shoppers of Hawai‘i, attended HPU under the name Hwee Ling Ting, in 1999, earned a BSBA degree in human resource management. Because Ching was on an education visa, she was able to stay and work for a year after graduation. During the time, it was hard finding a job, she recalled, and she was unemployed for four months.

One day, a college friend mentioned a temporary position at Genesys’ Conferencing Incorporated. At first Ching was doubtful, but she decided that having a job for even a short time a while was better than no job at all. When her education visa was about to expire, Ching approached one her supervisors and asked if the company would sign legal documents to allow her to work in Hawai‘i. Ching even promised to pay for all attorney and legal fees. They were willing, and Ching eventually received her work visa.

Ching changed her name when she got married. She looks back at her years on O‘ahu and describes the experience in one word, “great.” Her advice to the students: “When you know you want something, just have the courage to go and get it”.

Ian Fernandez was born in the Philippines and attended high school in Japan. Fernandez heard about HPU through a recruiter. His father wanted his son to go to the University of Hawai‘i at Manoa to get a doctorate in engineering, but Fernandez came to HPU and worked on a BSBA in computer information systems and marketing. He also served as president of the Associated Students of Hawai‘i Pacific University (ASHPU), and he recommends extracurricular activities: they gave him “the business skills” he needed in his work.

Fernandez graduated in 2001, and he remembers joking with a friend about producing a television show here in Hawai‘i. The joke became a reality, The Lei, a reality TV dating show that first aired on ABC affiliate KITV 4.

today Fernandez is the president and CEO of IMF Visions, a company that specializes in filming and editing all sorts of events, including TV shows and weddings.

“ Don’t get a job, get a career!” is Fernandez’s advice to students, and his suggestions included active networking and internships. Along with education, Fernandez said, many employers look for experience.

Freshman Victoria Christian asked Fernandez if he was looking for interns at IMF visions, and Fernandez gave her his card. Fernandez’ closing advice: “Find what you like, and you will excel in it.”

Scott Liedtke graduated from a high school in Redondo Beach, Calif. and worked construction for four years, until one day he decided that “the labor force was not for him.” Liedtke heard from a friend that HPU was looking for soccer players. He looked into the school, and at 22 he literally sold everything and headed for Hawai‘i.

He earned a BA degree in communication and an MA degree in human resource management. He worked for a time in Washington as a shoe salesman, and he coached soccer in Africa for two years, but he knew that there was something better out there.

After 9-11, Liedtke moved back to Hawai‘i. At a college fair at the Blaisdell Center, he saw an HPU booth and that changed everything. For more than four years, Liedtke has been the associate director of admissions and the assistant head coach for HPU men’s soccer. He never regrets the winding road that he took, and his counsel to students is that it’s OK to “figure things out while going to college.”

“ They shared their experiences well” said Miranda Chiu, a student from Taiwan in the MA/COM program.

Madoka Yamagata, an English as a second language graduate student, added that she appreciated knowing “what classes were useful in their fields.”

Carissa Ching summed up the presentations: students should “face [their education] with a positive attitude,” and they should keep up their spirits “by participating in school activities, making friends, and opening [their] minds to what this beautiful place has to offer.”




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