by Barbara Andrade,
|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
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
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
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
Although the women’s softball team came up short when they
played for the national title, Lono didn’t because she
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
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.