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by Barbara Andrade, staff writer


On March 14, HPU Career Services Center Director Lianne Maeda hosted another Winding Road to Success meeting. The room filled with laughter and fun, as two successful HPU graduates, Karina Umehara, originally from San Francisco, Calif., and Jarnett Lono, from Hawai‘i, shared the secrets of their success and the “winding road” they took to get there.

Umehara, 24, who spoke first, is a spring 2004 graduate with two bachelor degrees in justice administration and sociology. She is currently employed as an office manager at Reynolds Recycling, a job she got after graduation.

She gave credit to Career Services in helping her find a one-year internship with the Sierra Club. During her internship, she helped develop Hawai‘i’s bottle bill, the Deposit Beverage Container Law that passed in 2002. She was interested in the environmental aspect of the program and was able to parley her experience into a management position straight out of college.

“ I was deep into my justice administration (JADM) major, but after researching the FBI job field, I felt my life is more important than my interest,” Umehara said.

“ I thought [the FBI] was too stuffy for me, and the actual career wasn’t as appealing as I thought it could be,” she said.

Umehara, a sophomore then, realized she needed to speak with her HPU counselor because she was stuck. Umehara’s counselor advised her to get her associate’s degree in JADM and focus on sociology as her major.

“ I know exactly what I’m going to do, take law courses and become a lawyer.” Umehara said. “I think the wrong decision, and a foolish decision, is to not taking advantage of all your resources. Career Services are here for a reason, counselors are here for a reason, we’re here [sharing our experiences] for a reason,” she said.

Umehara ended by saying, “Make the most of your time here in college by taking advantage of the resources around you. Ask questions, invest time in your professors and counselors, because they are professionals, seek their counsel and advice. They are your greatest mentors.”

Lono had a similar message for the students. Lono graduated with a BSBA in Marketing in 1999, and an MBA and MSIS in 2000. She is currently HPU’s assistant director of Student Life, focusing on its health and wellness areas.

Like Umehara, Lono did not seek the help of career services earlier on.

HPU sophomore Jayme Seleska, a multimedia major, shared her previous perception that “career services was for the end-of-the-road sources…like your senior year.”

Lono stressed, “From the get-go of entering college, hook up with career services so that you don’t waste time and money in your degree.”

Her winding road to success started in 1995 when she was a student athlete for HPU’s women’s softball for three of her four years at HPU. The Lady Sea Warriors were a national powerhouse that ranked first.

“ We’ve came close to the national title three times. Each of those times the story ended with the softball team in the bottom of the seventh, bases loaded, two outs, and the opposing team hits a home run!” Lono said.

When she was an eighth grader, Lono attended a career fair at her local school. She was asked what she wanted to do in life. Lono said that she enjoyed computers and video games and management.” Throughout her childhood, she helped out in her grandmother’s restaurant/bar and learned about that industry. Looking at her options, she decided to study computer science as well as management and marketing.

By the time she reached high school she was already building her résumé

and signing up for classes that lined up with her interests and her planned college major. She credits her high school counselor for guiding her through high school and helping her get to HPU.

Lono said, “One of the great things about HPU is Coach Okita, one of the head softball coaches here at HPU. He came to meet my parents on several occasions and talked to my friends in high school and was interested in recruiting me from my high school days.”

Although the women’s softball team came up short when they played for the national title, Lono didn’t because she benefited academically.

“ There’s not enough time as a student athlete to enjoy college life. It was more of a routine,” said Lono. “You wake up, go to school, work, and practice, go to games, do homework, and go to bed. The next day, do it all over again.”

Lono said that daily routine helped shape her life. It was good training in management, and prioritization skills.

When Lono graduated from HPU, she stayed on another year with the softball team, earned her MSIS in 2000, and became an assistant coach. Lono landed a job with SMS Marketing and Research Company on Fort Street Mall, thinking that it’s what her degree is in and it’s what she wants to do.

She said she learned a lot, but it lacked something.

“ I love the outdoors, I enjoy athletics, and that type of position didn’t allow me to be balanced in life,” Lono said.

She asked herself, “What is it that I want to do?”

The break came in 2001, when a position as HPU sports information director opened up. Lono applied and was hired. In the position she learned good communication and organizational skill and time management.

Since 2002, she has supervised and trained students. She is very passionate about her job and her students. “You don’t want to make anyone feel left out,” Lono said.

She finally added: “Get Career Services help earlier in your college years, network with other students who share the same interests with you. Start now with experience, just get into the field of study and by the time you’re done, you will figure out what you really want to do.”

For more information on the Career Services Center call 544-0230.




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