Student Spotlight: Sarah Hoffman and Vanessa Rizzi

East coast residents Sarah Hoffman and Vanessa Rizzi seem very at home here on O‘ahu. Both students are laid back with blond, sun-bleached tresses and both describe the North Shore as one of their most favorite spots in Hawai‘i. They’ve been learning to surf, going to the beach, enjoying local food and generally taking advantage of all that Hawai‘i has to offer!

Sarah, Vanessa, and ASH classmate Lisa


Hometown, home school, and major

Sarah: Middletown, Maryland; Haverford College; Psychology

Vanessa: Long Island; Fordham University; Economics

Favorite UH class

Vanessa: Nutrition. Professor Stewart gives good lectures, and the subject is applicable to real life.

Sarah: Indigenous Studies and Indian Religions.

Dalai Lama at UH

Vanessa: We both went to the Dalai Lama’s lecture, and it was very inspiring to hear him talk about living peacefully and how to be happy.

Sarah: Buddhism is very interesting!

Favorite form of social media

Both: Facebook and lately, Instagram.

What’s on your iPod?

Both: We’ve gotten into island music while here in Hawai‘i. We especially like Jack Johnson and will see him perform live on Saturday.

What one word would you use describe each other?

Vanessa: Just one word?! Hmmm. I would describe Sarah as “free-spirited”.

Sarah: This is really 3 words, but I would describe Vanessa as “down for everything”!

Your greatest adventure

Both: Coming to Hawai‘i!

Sarah: It’s doing things spontaneously that has been so much fun – camping out, hiking, going to the beach, to name a few.

Vanessa: You never know what the day will bring. There are so many possibilities.

Fun Fact

Sarah: One day I want to run the 100-mile endurance race on the Big Island.

Vanessa: I want to learn to play ukulele. I played violin all through high school.

Future Plans

Sarah: After graduating I definitely hope to continue soccer, either coaching or playing. I play soccer at Haverford and tried out for the UH team. I was accepted and go to practice everyday at 6:30 am. Unfortunately, due to NCAA rules I can’t compete with them this semester, but the practices have been good.

Vanessa: I want to go to Physician’s Assistant school, and plan to return to Hawai‘i someday – either to visit or to work.

If I’m cooking we’re having

Vanessa: Pasta with shrimp and broccoli

Sarah: And I’ll make peanut butter and banana cookies.

Sarah Johnston


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