Student Spotlight: Rachel Durkan

Meet Rachel Durkan, a super-energized student who goes all-out in everything she does!

Rachel and the split coconut

Rachel and the split coconut

Home School: Virginia Tech

Home Town: Malvern, Pennsylvania

Major: Horticulture

Favorite UHM Class: Herbs and Spices. It’s a super interesting and chill class. We recently took a field trip to a small chocolate factory in Chinatown. Itʻs also a very small retail store, but the owner grows the chocolate plants on site and makes the chocolate. I ate a raw chocolate bean.

Favorite Form of Social Media: Instagram. I’ve been posting a lot of my Hawai‘i pictures lately. I also like to write letters and have sent lots of postcards to my friends and to my boyfriend who is studying in Holland right now.

What’s on your iPod? Everything! I listen to reggae when I study and chill out. I also love Lana Del Rey and Rihanna.

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Passionate

What one word would your friends use to describe you? Chaotic and maybe goofy.

Fun Fact: I’m obsessed with orangutans. One of my goals is to go to Indonesia to volunteer and work at an orangutan preservation.

What is your greatest adventure? This semester in Hawai‘i has been one of my biggest adventures! This is the farthest and longest I’ve been away from home. Honolulu is different than I thought it would be. It’s a much bigger city than I expected. I’ve also learned a lot about different plants, things I wouldn’t have learned at Virginia Tech. Over spring break I had a weeklong internship at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai. It turned out to be a great week, and they even gave me a scholarship to take back to Virginia Tech for next year. One of my duties included weeding out invasive plant species, and I also learned about propagation and endangered plant species on Kauai.

Rachel, on right, with a friend from her Kauai Internship

Rachel, on right, with a friend from her Kauai Internship

Dream Job: My “reality” dream job would be professor for a college, teaching about something I love – plants, and heading up a study abroad program so that I could travel. My “fantasy” job would be to live with orangutans in the wild, studying them and the plants around them.

What’s next? This summer I will have an internship in South Carolina at the Moore Farm Botanical Gardens.

Best Talent: Persistence! It took me 5 years to convince my parents to let me have a dog. I would write them letters, bring home books, and do other things to let them know how much I wanted a dog. Finally after I put myself on a waiting list for a pet goat they agreed to get a dog!

Greatest Vice: I tend to over think every thing I do. It’s been better since I’ve been here. I’ve learned to balance worrying about schoolwork and going out for experiences and adventures. I still go to the library every evening for 2 hours but try to take advantage of the daylight hours and go explore.

Favorite Movie: Stand By Me, or Law Abiding Citizen, the first movie I saw with my boyfriend.

Favorite Book: Time Travelerʻs Wife. My favorite book that Iʻve read here is Tears of the Desert, about the War in Darfur.

Favorite TV Show: Vampire Diaries. I used to watch this show with my little sister before going to college, and now when I call home on Fridays, we always talk about what happened on the show!

The Reality Show I’d Go On: The Amazing Race. My brother would be my partner. Weʻd get mad at each other but would get over it in 2 minutes and get back to the race!

Craziest Ambition: To travel someplace new every year.

Person Iʻd Most Like to Meet: Jane Goodall

If a Movie Were Made About Me, Iʻd Want this Actor to Play Me: Jennifer Lawrence

If I’m cooking we’re having: Something with avocados in it!

Favorite Spot on Campus: The grove of banyan trees across from Hamilton Library. Itʻs super shady there.

Favorite Local Food: Malasadas! When my family visited, we went to Leonardʻs everyday.  

Favorite Hawai‘i Place: The North Shore of Oahu – itʻs so different from Honolulu. I like how itʻs so chill.

Favorite thing to do in Hawai‘i: Go to the beach. I also joined an open water swim club, the “Waikiki Swim Club”, and we go on weekend swims. One weekend I swam with turtles, and once we swam out to the Moke Islands off the east side. Editorʻs Note: most people kayak the long distance to the Mokulua Islands!

Swimming to Mokulua Islands

Favorite Hawai‘i Tradition: Lei giving. One of my goals is to take a lei-making class. Next year at Virginia Tech Iʻll be a TA for the class “Floral Design”, and I hope to show students how to make a lei!

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How I Met Felix Xie: Student Spotlight

Get to know Felix Xie, a wonderfully typical college student who chose the University of Hawai‘i for a study away experience.

Felix atop the Lanikai Pillbox

Felix atop the Lanikai Pillbox

Home School: Bates College in Lewiston, Maine

Home Town: Skowhegan, Maine

Major: Environmental Studies

Favorite UHM Class: Painting

Favorite Form of Social Media: Actually I like face-to-face interaction. Hanging out with my friends is my favorite way to be social.

What’s on your iPod? Arctic Monkeys and Vampire Weekend

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Ambiguous. I do a lot of different things and don’t really identify myself in one particular way.

What one word would your friends use to describe you? Cool – I hope.

Describe a turning point in your life: Transitioning into college was monumental. I’m a different person now than I was in high school. I appreciate the process that college has in developing a person. College has been eye opening; I grew up in a small town in Maine, and now at school I have international friends.

Fun Fact: I’m a huge fan of the TV show How I Met Your Mother.

Ambitions: To travel the world.

Greatest Vice: I take long naps.

Dream Job: Professional soccer player.

What’s next? This summer I’ll go to New York City for an internship with an advertising agency. It’s going to be a blast.

Favorite Book: The Great Gatsby

Favorite Movie: The Wolf of Wall Street. I just saw it — it was an amazing film!

Favorite TV Show: How I Met Your Mother, of course.

The Reality Show I’d Go On: I don’t really watch those shows, but I’ll say Survivor.

If Movie Were Made About Me, I’d Want This Actor to Play Me: Joseph Gordon Levitt

Favorite athlete: Kobe Bryant

The Most Famous Person I’ve Met: Paul Fourgous

Person I’d most like to meet: Leonardo DaVinci

If I’m cooking we’re having: Sushi

Favorite Thing to Do in Hawai‘i: Go to the beach

Favorite Thing to Do in Maine: Fish

Favorite Local Food: Poke

Favorite Hawai‘i Tradition: The shaka – it’s an “all is well” kind of sign.

Favorite Hawai‘i Place: So far I’d say the North Shore, Hanauma Bay, and the Big Island


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Student Spotlight: Laura Butler Shines with the Stars of Hawai‘i 5-0

Communications major Laura Butler produces her own ticket to Hawai‘i by creating an internship with television show Hawai‘i 5-0.

Home School: Ithaca College in Ithaca, NY

Home Town: Ho-Ho-Kus, NJ

Favorite UHM Class: Hawaiian Studies. I’m learning different things and studying a culture I didn’t know anything about before.

Favorite Form of Social Media: Twitter; you can pass a lot of time on it!

What’s on your iPod? Maroon 5, Broadway musicals, and Demi Lovato, Apollo Run, OneRepublic

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Determined

What one word would your friends use to describe you? Busy!

Describe your top accomplishment: I worked on “DJ3K”, the documentary about New York Yankees Derek Jeter’s 3,000th hit. I was 18 years old and 2 days out of high school when I began the job. Since I knew about the technology that they were using on the production, I became involved with managing the content coming off the memory cards, for the documentary and even received a credit on HBO. The show was nominated for an Emmy. (Editor’s note: click this link to view “DJ3K”.)

Describe your internship with Hawai‘i 5-0: I’ve always been a fan of the show, and I’m also very interested in TV production. So I decided to think of a way to get an internship on the show and come to Hawai‘i. I researched and discovered how film students at UHM become interns. I realized that wouldn’t work for me because I am a communications major. Later after more research I discovered I had a connection to the show through an alumnus from Ithaca. After more research and perseverance I was able to craft an internship within the wardrobe department. In fact, I am the only intern who specializes in wardrobe.

The back of the on-set chairs the actors sit in during the break

The back of the on-set chairs the actors sit in during the break

What are your duties? There is quite a range of duties. I sort the stock of clothes worn on the show, help with paper work, shadow and help the set dressers, help pull cloths to dress extras, and even help “age” clothes to make them look like the actor went through a particular experience, like getting shot! I can easily spend 10 hours on set. I enjoy it very much since the environment is very open and kind. I feel ok asking questions, but also know when not to.

The stock where all the clothes are kept and pulled from when needing to dress extras.

The stock where all the clothes are kept and pulled from when needing to dress extras.

What have you learned through your internship? I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t wok in communicating with various departments within the production. I’ve learned how easily things can slip through the cracks without good communication. Also, I’ve seen how important it is to balance controlling things and letting them happen on their own, trusting the people and situations involved. Lastly, I’ve learned that one must have quick problem solving skills in this business!

Original Five-0 stage where many of the interior scenes of McGarrett’s house and the medical/lab scenes are currently filmed.

Original Five-0 stage where many of the interior scenes of McGarrett’s house and the medical/lab scenes are currently filmed.


What’s Next? I plan to graduate from Ithaca and get a job in production.

Dream Job: Producer of a hit TV show.

Craziest Ambition: My craziest ambition is the same as my dream job and my hopes for the future! Becoming a producer is really tough!

Favorite Movie: Right now it’s Frozen.

Favorite TV Show: Hawai‘i Five-0, of course. But also NCIS, Royal Pains, and Intelligence.

The Reality Show I’d Go On: The Voice. I like to sing!

Fun Fact: I play the guitar.

If I’m cooking we’re having: Chicken Parm. I’m the only one in my family who can make it.

Favorite Thing to Do in Hawai‘i: Go to the beach

Favorite Local Food: Fish! The on-set catering always has delicious fresh fish!

Favorite Hawai‘i Place: The North Shore. It’s a great place to go to get away from all the excitement of town. The North Shore is calm and relaxing and has a small town feel to it.

Favorite Hawai‘i Tradition: Lei-giving. After you wear the lei, you can hang it in your room, and it makes the room smell wonderful.

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Student Spotlight: Two Mid-Westerners Fly Out of the Polar Vortex and Dive Into the Waves of the Pacific Ocean

Get to know Samantha Mathes, a biology major from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and Erin Walsworth, an environmental geoscience major from DePauw University.

Cara, Sam, Rachel, and Erin at Sunset Beach

Cara, Sam, Rachel, and Erin at Sunset Beach

Favorite UH Class
Sam: “Cell and Molecular Biology”. I like this class because it’s interactive, not just lecture after lecture.
Erin: “Geoethics”. This class covers the both the geology and the ethics of geological hazards.

Favorite Form of Social Media
Sam: Twitter and Snapchat. My friends back home hate me because I keep posting pictures from the beach.
Erin: I’m not that great at social media, but I’d say I like Twitter because it makes me laugh and Instagram because it makes me feel like I’m there with the person.

What’s on your iPod?
Sam: iTunes Radio, like Top in Pop and Top of the Charts, and also Brittany Spears, Back Street Boys, and *NSYNC.
Erin: Country music and rap.  Country music reminds me of summertime at home, driving around with the windows down, playing music. Rap gets me amped up before a test or during a run.

One Word That Your Friends Use to Describe You
Sam: I hope my friends would say I’m fun.
Erin: Peppy.

One Word That You Use To Describe Yourself
Sam: Ambitious
Erin: Optimistic

Greatest Adventure
Sam: My greatest adventure is coming here! I knew about the ASH program for an entire year before applying. I’ve been excited about this for a long time.
Erin: This semester is my greatest adventure as well. This is the farthest and longest I’ve been away from home.

Something Few People Know about Me
Sam: People are surprised that I have a twin sister.
Erin: Hmmm. Well, I went to state in the Vocabulary Bowl in 7th grade. And I’ve broken every one of my toes.

Person You’d Most Like to Meet
Sam: Elvis.
Erin: Mia Hamm.

Greatest Vice
Sam: I worry too much about school. If I’m at the beach I think, “I should have brought my notes!”
Erin: Oreos! I haven’t been without them in my room all semester.

Best Talent
Sam: I love to organize things! Picking out my schedule for the next semester is so much fun. I enjoy getting all the time slots to work out.
Erin: I’m good at encouraging other people.

Dream Job
Sam: If I could be anything and get paid I would be a professional tennis player.
Erin: My dream job is head up Social Responsibility for an NGO (non-government organization), and I’m going for it!

Favorite Movie
Sam: A Cinderella Story
Erin: Sound of Music

Favorite TV Show
Both: Friends

Reality Show I’d Go On
Sam: Either The Hills or Wipeout
Erin: Most Extreme Eliminations

If A Movie Were Made About Me, I’d Want this Actor to Play Me
Sam: Blake Lively
Erin: Reese Witherspoon

If I’m cooking we’re having
Sam: Fiesta Lime Chicken!
Erin: Hay Stacks

Favorite Thing to Do at Home
Sam: Hanging out with friends, playing Just Dance.
Erin: Playing soccer with my family and going to concerts in the summer with my friends.

Favorite Thing to Do in Hawai‘i
Sam: Swimming in the ocean. I went to the North Shore last week, and the big waves were so much fun to play in!

Sam at the beach

Sam at the beach

Erin: Swimming in the ocean and also hiking. There aren’t any mountains in the mid-west!


Erin at the top of Mt. Tantalus

Erin at the top of Mt. Tantalus

Favorite Spot on Campus
Sam: My dorm! We’ve got air-conditioning, study rooms, and a game room.
Erin: The Japanese Gardens. It’s so peaceful there and a great place to get sun and get some work done.

Favorite Place in Hawai‘i (so far)
Sam: Top of the Makapuʻu Lighthouse trail. We saw whales the last time we were there.
Erin: Kaʻena Point, the westernmost tip of the island. We jumped in the ocean once we got there.

Favorite Local Food
Both: Acai bowls – they’re everywhere, all over the island.

Favorite Hawai‘i Tradition
Sam: Giving leis to the opposing basketball team members. It’s such a friendly gesture!
Erin: I like lei-giving as well. On my 21st birthday my friend gave me a lei.


Erin and Sam meeting pro bowl players

Erin and Sam meeting pro bowl players

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Student Spotlight: Two football players from Bates College take the off-season to study in Hawaiʻi

Get to know Brian Carilli, a politics major and Josh Freedland, a psychology major, who traded the snow and cold of the infamous winter of 2014 for the sun and adventure of the tropics.

Cliff Jumping

Cliff Jumping


Favorite UH Class
Brian: “Political Design and Futuristics”. This class is very thought provoking.
Josh: “Culture, Gender, and Appearance”. The professor is really good. She was a psych major and at one time worked for Gucci.


Favorite Form of Social Media
Brian: I’d say face-to-face interaction. I’m not into technological communication.
Josh: Yeah, I like hanging out with real people.


One Word (or a few) That Your Friends Use to Describe You
Brian: Brazen or insane
Josh: Mellow, relaxed.


One Word That You Use To Describe Yourself
Brian: Outgoing
Josh: Laid back


Greatest Adventure
Brian: My greatest adventure is coming up. After graduation my friends and I will hike the Long Trail, a 272-mile trek through the Green Mountains, from the Massachusetts – Vermont border to Canada. It’s the oldest hiking trail in the US.
Josh: My coolest adventure was a two-week trip to Israel with a group of high school peers. My greatest adventure here in Hawai‘i was a 40-foot jump off Kapena Falls. I’m terrified of heights and stood at the top for 20 minutes before taking the plunge into the water.


Something Few People Know about Me
Brian: I played trombone in middle school band.
Josh: I was an extra in Grownups 2 and met Adam Sandler.


Person You’d Most Like to Meet
Brian: Ronald Reagan
Josh: My future self


Greatest Vice
Brian: I get a little too engaged. I wear my emotions on my sleeve.
Josh: I’m not laid back enough, especially here in Hawai‘i.


Best Talent
Brian: My persuasive powers.
Josh: Not getting stressed out. Oh, and I’m learning ukulele. That might be a best talent soon.


Dream Job
Brian: Maybe an adventurer or adventure guide — something to do outdoors. Anything but sitting behind a desk!
Josh: Something to do in sports. I had an internship at an agency that represents football players, and that type of profession interests me.


Favorite Movie
Brian: Synecdoche, New York. It’s a deep movie.
Josh: Lion King


Favorite TV Show
Brian: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Josh: Seinfeld


Reality Show I’d Go On
Brian: Jersey Shore, but just for a month or so.
Josh: America’s Got Talent. I’ve been practicing my ukulele.


If A Movie Were Made About Me, I’d Want this Actor to Play Me
Brian: DeNiro
Josh: James Franco


Favorite Thing to Do at Home
Brian: Probably paintball for the adrenalin rush or hiking.
Josh: Going to sporting events. I like to go to Fenway Park in the summer for baseball.


Favorite Thing to Do in Hawai‘i
Brian: Hiking
Josh: Hiking or tanning


Brian on the trails

Brian on the trails

Favorite Hawai‘i Place (so far)
Brian: Kapena Falls or Maunawili Falls. I love cliff jumping!
Josh: The same for me, or maybe Waikiki.


Favorite Local Food
Brian: Shave Ice
Josh: Shave Ice or Malasadas


Favorite Hawai‘i Tradition
Brian: Hawai‘i Time! Things are slower paced and more relaxed here, compared to Boston.
Josh: Yeah, I like the laid back atmosphere. I also like the tradition of handing out ti leaves at UH basketball games. Fans wave them to distract the opposing players.


Favorite Spot on Campus
Brian: The weight room
Josh: The dining room

Josh, a friend, and Brian enjoying the night life

Josh, a friend, and Brian enjoying the night life

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Student Spotlight: On the Run with Cara Bennet

Vassar student Cara Bennet brings a love of running to her study away in Hawai‘i.

Cara beach running.small

Home School: Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, NY

Home Town: Bethesda, Maryland

Major: History, with a minor in Native American Studies

Favorite UHM Class: Hawaiian Studies. I’m learning new things in this class, things I’ve haven’t heard before, and yet there are also similarities to my Native American studies.

Favorite Form of Social Media: Probably the phone. I’ve had one since 4th grade. My parents are telecommunications lawyers, so it’s in our blood! After 9-11, my mom wanted me to have a phone at school to stay in communication in case something happened.

What’s on your iPod? Mostly Jack Johnson. I’ve always been a fan since high school. My family has a connection to Hawai‘i since my mom travels here a lot on business, and Jack Johnson’s music also keeps me connected. I’m going to one of his concerts in Columbia, MD in June. This past fall as I was warming up for a cross country race in Saratoga Springs, he was doing a sound check for a concert later that day. I had one of the best races of the year after that!

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Tenacious.

What one word would your friends use to describe you? Responsible. My nickname as captain of my cross country team was “Responsible Cara”.

Describe one of your top accomplishments: My senior year in high school I was voted captain of the cross country team, and even though it was predicted throughout the year that another team would come out on top, we won the county, regional, and state championships.

Fun Fact: Hmmm… well… I ran my first half marathon by accident. My parents were running a half marathon in Virginia Beach, and I needed to do a 7-mile long run for training, so I was just going to run along with my dad for ½ of the race. But we got to the 7-mile mark, and I just kept going! It felt great! Another fun fact is that I eat A LOT of peanut butter. My roommate has to limit me. Peanut butter at only one meal!

Craziest Ambition: To run an ultra marathon one day.

Greatest Vice: (1 minute later) I’m pretty indecisive. I guess that’s why I’m having a hard time answering this question. Here’s one example: on our cross country team runs it takes about 20 minutes to decide on a route. We have a place called the “Corner of Indecision” at the beginning of our runs.

Dream Job: Possibly working with Disney. My friends and I are a huge Disney fans. Instead of going to beach weekend after senior year, like the rest of the class, we went to Disney World. It was loads of fun!

What’s next? I’ll finish up senior year and my last season on the cross country team. I’ll also figure out my senior thesis for history, which will possibly involve Native American or Hawaiian studies.

Favorite Book: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Favorite Movie: The Lion King. I’ve seen the Broadway show in NYC and London.

Favorite TV Show: Veronica Mars. Even though the show is no longer airing, a movie is coming out, funded by Kickstarter, which was instigated by the fans of the show.

The Reality Show I’d Go On: Maybe The Amazing Race

Person I’d most like to meet: Jack Johnson or Apollo Ohno.

Favorite athlete: Marathoners Kara Goucher or Joan Benoit Samuelson

If I’m cooking we’re having: Lots of vegetables. I can’t imagine a meal without them.

Cara north shore.small

Favorite Thing to Do in Hawai‘i: Running and hiking. Incidentally I’m running the Hapalua Half Marathon in Waikiki this April.

Favorite Local Food: Fresh fruit. And poke — I love seafood.

Favorite Hawai‘i Tradition: The general friendliness of people. Here in Hawai‘i people strike up conversations so easily, unlike in the DC area.

Favorite Hawai‘i Place: The North Shore or Waimea Canyon on Kauai.

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Waiting for Spring Semester 2014

January in Hawaii can’t come sooner for this semester’s ASH students! They are flying in from some of the coldest places in the US, having endured this past week’s polar vortex! Students  hail from Bates, Ithaca, and Vassar Colleges in the North East, DePauw and U. of Wisconsin in the Mid-West, and Virginia Tech and U. of Arkansas in the South. We even have a student attending from the U. of Copenhagen in Denmark. Warmer weather, sunshine, and exciting new adventures await all of them!

It’s actually winter time here in Honolulu as well, as temperatures dropped down to 75 degrees. Snow actually covered the mountains on the Big Island earlier this winter. For some striking pictures of snow atop Mauna Kea, click here.

Now I’ll jump on the “Throwback Thursday” bandwagon and post a picture from the ASH photo library. Enjoy and come visit soon!





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Fall Semester 2013 Media Contest

The results of the Fall Semester 2013 Media Contest are in! This time we left the contest open-ended, meaning video, stories, pictures, text, and anything else that falls in the category of web-worthy would be accepted. Hence the name “Media” Contest. We didn’t get any videos of big wave surfing on the North Shore, fabulous hula, or green flashes during sunsets, but we did get some wonderful photos submitted by two students, Emily Appleton and Sarah Hackshaw.

Enjoy the pictures and think about joining us soon for a study away in Hawai‘i.

Sara on the Sailboat

Sara on the Sailboat

Winning Photo by Emily Appleton

“Sailing on the Makani charter. Sara found herself a job working on the boat. Not getting paid but the hours she works will go towards her captain’s license if she chooses to pursue it at some point!  Took the picture at sunset on friday, they do about a 3 hour sail that finishes off with the friday night fireworks on Waikiki beach.”

Hiking Kahana Bay

Hiking Kahana Bay

Runner Up Photo taken by Sara Freshley, submitted by Emily Appleton

“Photo credit to Sara Freshley from our Kahana Bay hike. Wouldnt recommend the hike to novice hikers! we were unprepared to say the least and found ourselves in some sticky situations. good teamwork saw us safely to the ground.”

Here are the other entries.

Shaka on the beach

photo 1


Handstand on the beach

On the Manoa Falls Hike

photo 2

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Student Spotlight: Sarah Hackshaw

Student Spotlight: Sarah Hackshaw


Honolulu is just one more stop for ASH student Sarah Hackshaw as she dances across the US!


Sarah announcing her home state on the beach

Sarah announcing her home state on the beach

Home School: Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio.

Home Town: Columbus, Ohio

Major: I’m a double major in Dance and Psychology

Favorite UHM Class: Hula class. We learn a bit of culture and language as we learn the dance style.

Favorite Form of Social Media: Twitter and Instagram. I like to travel and post pictures of where I’ve been. And I have lots of funny friends who post entertaining things.

What’s on your iPod? A lot of mainstream artists like Beyonce, Rihanna, Drake, some reggae, and what I call “beachy music,” like Jason Mraz.

What one word would you use to describe yourself? Lively.

What one word would your friends use to describe you? Spontaneous!

Sarah and fellow ASH student Margo

Sarah and fellow ASH student Margo

What is your top accomplishment? Getting on So You Think You Can Dance. This summer I travelled to Memphis by myself to audition for the show. It was a long and difficult process! I got through 4 auditions before I was cut just before the televised audition in Vegas.

What was your greatest adventure? I travelled to Fiji with the VESA organization (Volunteer Eco Students Association). We volunteered at a local school, sanding, painting and refurbishing the buildings and teaching English. We lived with host families, enjoying their cooking and hospitality. The second part of the program was a trip across the country. We visited 7 different islands. It was a wonderfully humbling experience. I definitely grew as a person.

Dream Job: My dream job is to be a cruise ship dancer so I can get paid to perform and travel across the world.

What’s next? Next semester I’ll go back to Ohio State, but next year I’d like to do either a Semester at Sea or the Disney College Program.

Fun Fact: Each summer I do a dance intensive program. I’ve been to Colorado, Los Angeles, and last summer I did a program with the New York City Rockettes.

Greatest Vice: Spending too much time on Social Media! I just did a speech for class about the ill effects of this. My brain is probably turning to mush!

Favorite Movie: The Lion King

Favorite TV Show: All those 90s shows like, That’s So Raven, Powder Puff Girls, and 3’s Company.

The Reality Show I’d Go On: The Amazing Race

The Most Famous Person I’ve Met: Denzel Washington and Morgan Freeman. When I was at the Debbie Allen Dance Academy, we were invited to a party at Ms. Allen’s house. There were lots of actors there.

If a movie were made about me, I’d want this actress to play me: Gabrielle Union.

Person I’d most like to meet: Malcolm X – he was so controversial!

My favorite dancer: Josephine Baker, who was very famous in Paris in the 1920s.

If I’m cooking we’re having: Grilled cheese sandwiches because I can’t cook!

Favorite Spot on Campus: The Aloha Courtyard near the dorms. We play volleyball there and hang out with friends. It’s so nice there in the evenings.

Favorite Local Food: I haven’t eaten too much local food, but I do like Spam Musubi. My friend from Waianae invited me to his house for Thanksgiving, and I’m really excited to have a Hawaiian style Thanksgiving meal!

Favorite Hawai‘i Tradition: The Shaka! I like what it stands for.

Favorite Hawai‘i Place: The Koko Head hike – the views of two sides of the island are astounding at the top – or Makaha Beach  – it’s so pretty and not crowded. The waves were just rough enough to make it fun to swim. My friends and I stayed all day!

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Student Spotlight: Emily Appleton and Sara Freshley

Student Spotlight: Surfing from Maine to Hawai‘i

 The ASH “Student Spotlight” series profiles two students from Fall Semester 2013 who bring east coast-style surfing skills from Maine all the way to Hawai‘i.

Emily Appleton and Sara Freshley are marine science majors from the University of Maine who enjoy the water, adventures of all kinds, and cruising on skateboards around campus. They fit comfortably into the scene at the University of Hawai‘i at . Emily began surfing off the coast of Maine when she was about 8 years old, learning from her dad, and Sara began to surf about 2 or 3 years ago. They are both picking up all the ins and outs of surfing on the Pacific coast with its different shore breaks and reefs. “We’re still figuring it out,” says Emily. But hey, it’s only been a few weeks since their arrival!

Emily and Sara at China Walls

Emily and Sara at China Walls

Favorite UH Class
Emily: Conservation Biology. It’s a small class with about 20 -30 students including a mix of grad and undergrads. We discuss both Hawai‘i and global issues dealing with conservation.
Sara: My class Beverage Crops is fun. We actually make juices and taste test. The professor is kick.


Favorite Form of Social Media
Emily: Instagram.
Sara: Facebook or Instagram.


One Word (or four) That Best Describes You
Both: Easy going, chillin‘, fun loving, adventurous


Greatest Adventure
Both: This semester in Hawai‘i!
Emily: Everyone at home thought we were crazy when we talked about our plans.
Sara: It sounds unoriginal, but everyday really is an adventure here. We find something new to do all the time.
We’ve done a sunset surf at Diamond Head, visited Sunset Beach on the North Shore, gone body surfing at Sandy’s, jumped at China Walls, and this weekend we’re flying to Maui to visit a friend of mine who is also a surfer.


A Famous Person You’ve Met
Last year at the University of Maine we were driving to campus to watch a showing of “Come Hell or High Water”, a documentary about body surfing. Walking along the road was Mark Cunningham, one of the most famous body surfers ever, who happens to be from Hawai‘i and one of the subjects of the movie. We stopped to pick him up and brought him to the showing. At that time we were still considering whether or not to come to Hawai‘i, but seeing him and talking to him must have been fate. We decided to go to Hawai‘i after that chance meeting!

First Job
Sara: Junior Camp Counselor at a local nature conservancy, doing trail work and other things.
Emily: When I was 12, the ice cream man at the beach (in Maine) would hire me to walk up and down the beach with a tiki torch and Sponge Bob pinata, ringing a bell. Lots of people followed me back to the ice cream.


Fun Fact
Emily: I like to rock climb and hope to do some here.
Sara: I spent a gap year between high school and college travelling to Mexico, California, Costa Rica, and Florida, participating in NOLS and Outward Bound wilderness trips. The experience helped me decide what to study at school.


What’s Next?
Both: We hope to do a summer program through the University of Maine where we study 2 weeks at the Darling Marine Center, a research facility on the ocean, and then 2 weeks in the Arctic, working with research scientists, snorkeling with beluga whales and studying polar bears.


Favorite Hawai‘i Place
Both: China Walls! We went on a beautiful; well, actually everyday is beautiful here.


Favorite Local Food
Sara: The fruit, like guava and papaya, things we don’t have in Maine.


Greatest Vice
Both: We have way too many activities!!


Proudest Accomplishment
Sara: I think we’re still looking for that.
Emily: We’re on our way there.

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