Aloha and welcome new freshman, I’m Vanessa!


Hey guys!

My name is Vanessa and ill be your peer mentor for this Fall Semester, and I absolutely cannot wait to meet all of you! This fall I will be finishing up my last year here at UH Manoa as a Communications major, I might be a little sad this is my last year of school. ever…. But, that’s why I am here! Because I’d love to make your college experience (and freshman year!) at UH just as amazing as mine was!

I grew up in sunny Southern California, and moved out here to Hawaii 3 years ago. Might I say its the best decision I have ever made. Here’s a fun fact for you all: My first language is actually French! My wee years I spent living with my family in Chassagny, France, a super small little medieval mountain village about 4 1/2 hours from Paris.

In the coming months you will all come to learn that Hawaii is such a beautiful and welcoming place, and that all of your experiences here will be unforgettable! With that being said, a big part of the reason why I chose University of Hawaii was because of the WAVESSS! I am a bit of surf and adventure junkie, in fact, I am actually planning on turning it into my career, but that’s a whole other story. Anyways, if any of you ever want a surf lesson, just come find me! Another passion of mine is food! Some of my favorite restaurants on the island are tiny, hole in the wall ethnic places. Jamaican or Nepalese food anyone?? If I cant travel the world while I am in school, I might as well eat like I’m in another country right??

Anyways, I cannot wait meet you, Have a fantastic end to your summer and see you this August!!!








Aloha and welcome to UH Manoa! 

My name is Derek and I will be a Junior this fall semester. I was born and raised on Oahu which is why I can’t imagine being away from paradise. I am majoring in Bioengineering and hope to one day enter Medical school. My goal as an ACE Peer Mentor is to make the transition, that all Freshmen experience, as smooth as possible. UH Manoa can be an intimidating campus due to its large size, however there is a sense of belonging that I have personally experienced and know all of you will also discover. In addition to the ACE mentor program, I am also a member of the Pre-Med Association and work on campus at the Office of Multicultural Student Services. In my free time I enjoy playing basketball, video games, and occasionally go torching.

I am eager to work with all of you and will aim to make your first semester a memorable one! UH Manoa has so much to offer and I hope that you all will fall in love with this school just as I have. I look forward to meeting you all in the fall where a brand new chapter in your life will begin!


Aloha & Welcome to UH Manoa!


            My name is Jay Gibson. I am originally from Atlanta, GA, and I have lived in Hawaiʻi since 2010. I am studying Food Science and Human nutrition to become a registered dietitian. I have a dog named Blue. I like to ride my bike to school when I am not feeling too lazy. I also like to kiteboard in Kailua, swim, play tennis, play racquetball, and go to the beach.

            I spend most of my time on campus. Lately I have been busy working on a research grant to study students’ food beliefs and food choices. I also work for several professors in the nutrition department, helping them with research. I am involved with several student organizations on campus, including the FSHN Council (Food & Nutrition Students Club), and CTAHR Ambassadors (representatives of the College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources).

1924538_10151857935637854_1462879919_n(that’s me in the grape costume)


I like to talk a lot and get into discussions and debates with people. I am really looking forward to meeting you guys. Congratulations on choosing and getting accepted to UH Manoa. You are going to have a Blast!

1531926_10151804505415108_185187801_o (in the kitchen laboratory in the Agricultural Sciences building)

Hello and welcome! (:


Hello to the incoming freshman, and welcome to your first year at the University of Hawaii at Manoa!

My name is Kelly Backman, and I’m a senior here at UH Manoa who is studying psychology. I actually entered UH Manoa as a declared geology and geophysics major, but my interest in planetary geology soon faded as I sat in my geology lab and stared at rocks for three weeks. My new passion for psychology emerged after taking a couple psychology introductory courses. I was so fascinated because I could relate concepts to situations I see everyday, and it also made me think from a new perspective. Before I knew it, my mind was set on becoming a school counselor.

I have lived here on Oahu all 21 years of my life, and I adore everything Hawaii has to offer, well except for the horrible traffic. I decided to attend UH Manoa because it’s located where my home is, and I couldn’t leave the place that I love. Throughout my three years at this university, I have come to appreciate the diverse student body, as well as the feeling of aloha that is sensed throughout our campus. If I have any regrets at UH Manoa, it’s not taking advantage of what this place has to offer like study abroad or exchange programs. So if you have the chance, consider gaining new perspectives in a new environment before your senior year!

During my free time, you can catch me getting my tan on at the beach after a morning hike; however, other days you may have to search harder because I’ll be concealed in my room slaying zombies on Left4Dead, or streaming an entire saga of Dragon Ball Z. If I had to eat one type of food for the rest of my life, it would be sushi. I recently started a new adventure to seek out the best sushi restaurants on Oahu, so if you know of any, let me know please!

So that’s a little about me, I can’t wait to hear from each of you guys! I came into this program with the goal if assisting you with your transition from your old academic setting to your new one by providing you the knowledge that is needed to make the most of your college career. However, my ultimate goal is to establish genuine relationships with each of you in hope that you feel comfortable enough to refer back to me throughout the school year if you need help.



TopherblogpicALOHA freshies and welcome to the Rainbow Warrior ohana! You made the right choice by choosing to attend the University of Hawaii at Manoa where you can study hard (and play harder) in beautiful Hawaii nei. College is a totally different experience from high school. You’ll be in a new environment with a lot of freedom and even more responsibilities. I understand if you’re a little nervous but you have to admit, it’s kinda exciting huh? Whatever emotions you are feeling right now, don’t feel that you’re alone. We have a lot of resources here on campus meant to serve you and your needs. Take me, your ACE Peer Mentor, for example.

Let me tell you a little about myself. My name is Christopher but please call me Topher. My hobbies include trying new foods and then working it off through Turbo Kickboxing. I am a Mechanical Engineering student . My goal is to work as an engineer in the field of renewable energy and sustainability. I LOVE UH MANOA and am on campus 24/7. Besides peer mentoring, I am a student ambassador for the College of Engineering and I do some undergraduate research with the Field Robotics Laboratory on campus. In the past I served as a Senator-At-Large for the Associated Students of the University of Hawaii at Manoa (ASUH), Vice President of Events for the Engineering Council at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (ECUH) I’ve also been a part of the UH Rainbow Warrior Marching Band, Manoa Peer Advisors, and various other clubs and programs. This is my second year being a peer mentor so you’re in luck! I’ve learned from my mistakes last year :P

Your college experience is more than just what happens inside the classroom. I am a big advocate of getting involved on campus whether it be through sporting events, campus jobs, registered independent organizations, etc. There’s something for everyone here at UH Manoa so take full advantage of it. Getting involved is a great way to meet and make lifelong friends as well as gain useful skills and valuable life lessons. If you have any questions or just wanna chat, I’m all ears! I want your first semester here at UH Manoa to be a wonderful experience and look forward to help guide you as you embark on your journey through college.

Welcome to UHM!

Aloha mentees and welcome to the University of Hawaii!

My name is Karl Cubangbang and I was born and raised on Oahu. I am currently a senior at the University of Hawaii-Manoa, majoring in Family Resources. I have aspirations to enter the Master’s Program for Nursing or Public Health after completing my undergraduate degree.

I am currently a research assistant for the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (AANCART).Our mission at AANCART is to reduce cancer health disparities by conducting community-based participatory education, training, and research by, for, and with Asian Americans I am also an intern at the Ronald McDonald House of Hawaii and Kapiolani Medical Center. I have assisted to provide a home-away-from-home experience for seriously ill children and their families by developing programs and partnerships aimed at improving the lives of children in Hawaii and the Pacific. I have had much experience in mentoring college-bound, healthcare-aspired students as a residential life mentor for the Health Career Opportunity Program (HCOP) at the University of Hawaii. Working cooperatively and collaboratively with the HCOP staff,  I have helped to design, implement, evaluate and encourage student participation in evening activities. I have just completed my third consecutive session as a residential life mentor this past summer. 

I am a sports fanatic following professional football, basketball, and tennis throughout the year. You may also find me playing on the basketball and tennis courts from time to time. Food and music are my other passions. I am always on Yelp looking for the best places to eat around the island. I share my creativity through my cooking in hopes of whipping up delicious, culinary masterpieces. When it comes to music, I am into songs with a catchy beat and meaningful lyrics. I once played the saxophone in the marching band and I am teaching myself to play the guitar on my spare time.

Now that you know a little about me, I look forward to meeting my ACE cluster this upcoming semester. Enjoy the rest of your summer and see you guys in the fall. 



Aloha! 안녕!你好!chào!

Hi! My name is Melody Lai.


I was born and raised here in the 808. I am the oldest of three kids. My first language is Vietnamese, but I can also understand Cantonese, Mandarin, and Korean, as well as English (of course).


I graduated from McKinley High School in 2011.  I am of senior class standing, majoring in Psychology with a Business Administration minor.  I currently work on campus at the Manoa Career Center in the QLC.  But I used to work in retail at Macy’s and Ann Taylor. Aside from my busy work and school life, I am a free lance model.

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Outside of school, I am very involved in the Chinese community. I am currently a member of the Tsung Tsin Association and the Honolulu Chinese Jaycees. In the Tsung Tsin Association, I am able to learn about my Hakka Chinese ancestry.


The Honolulu Chinese Jaycees just completed a clean up Chinatown community service, which I took a part of. I am also a member of the Miss Chinatown Organization and will be competing in the pageant in September.


Last year, I studied abroad in Korea at Soonchunhyang University. While in Korea, I took taekwondo and was accepted into the University Choir. I sang many songs in various languages; I was even fortunate enough to receive a solo. I made tons of new friends and learned so much Korean. I am hoping to go back some time in the near future.

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I am currently working on a psychology internship and helping out with studies in the Psychology department. My goal for this semester is to study really hard for the GRE, so hopefully I will do really well next Spring and get into my dream graduate school, so I can receive my PsyD degree and then get into an MBA program shortly afterwards. I aspire to become a part time Clinical Psychologist while working full time for a company.


I aspire to become a psychologist because I wish to share my experience and use my knowledge in psychology to help others. I am truly inspired by people who are so empowering, encouraging, and self-less.

I admire Oprah, Helen Keller, and Eleanor Roosevelt.

These are some of my favorite quotes:

“Turn your wounds into wisdom.” ~Oprah Winfrey

“The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched, they must be felt with the heart.” ~ Helen Keller

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt


I love to read and write, dance and sing, cook and eat (but I seriously hate cleaning), travel the world and learn new languages, go shopping, and start on nifty diy projects (like crocheting, candle making, and soap making). I love to eat my Momma’s pho, sushi, poke bowls, pasta, ice cream, dim sum (especially egg tarts) and just about 10 million other things.  But if I could spend the rest of my life eating just one food, it would probably be acai bowls!


My favorite ice cream flavors are cookie dough, anything fruity, green tea, birthday cake, cheese cake, spumoni, or anything with chocolate candy in it. I typically love romance comedies or action movies with cars. I love to watch Korean dramas, Taiwanese dramas, Chinese dramas, Japanese dramas. I also love TV shows like Sherlock Holmes, Big Bang Theory, Sex in the City, Food Network and I absolutely love anything on the Hallmark and Lifetime channels. I also love watching YouTube stars and random videos on YouTube. I love dogs; I especially love YouTube videos of dogs. I also have a small obsession with the color pink, just because it’s my favorite color. That is basically my entire life story!


Why did I join ACE and became a mentor? I was in an ACE cluster my freshman year and my mentor inspired me to re-join ACE as a mentor. Back in high school, I was an Ignition mentor and I enjoyed building that relationship with my mentees. Hope everyone is having a fantastic summer and I am looking forward to meeting all of you!


009     <3 Mel

Hello cluster 45!! Welcome to UH:)



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I can’t express how excited I am for you guys! You’ll be beginning a new chapter in your lives, which can be a little intimidating. College will seem like a different world compared to high school. But that’s where I come in; I’ll be mentoring you through your first semester; helping and supporting you through the crazy experience that is college. Don’t worry, our cluster is going to have an awesome time!

A little about me: I’m a goof. I feel like if I were to meet Will Farrell, we’d instantly become best friends and go do some karate in the garage or brainwash ridiculously good-looking male models together. I also love the outdoors: hiking, paddle-boarding, kayaking, falling off my surfboard, beaching, just basically anything to help tan my pale skin (in vain). I’m a singer and since I’ve taken piano lessons for 10 years, I also play the keys for my worship band. I’m also probably the best tambourine player that ever lived. I like to teach myself new things, so I also play guitar, bass, ukulele, and since drums are hard to play having zero to little hand-foot-eye coordination…that’s on pause for now. I also like to teach myself different languages, which sounds cool but practically speaking, it means I won’t understand what someone’s saying, however I will be able to confuse them with random phrases. But I am trilingual.

On Campus, I work for First Year Programs as a student coordinator and an ACE Mentor, I’m the German Club President, a staff writer for Her Campus Hawaii (online college mag), and I’m starting up a TOMS Club here at UH Manoa. (So if you love TOMS and community service…come see me). I’m a Biology and German double major and getting a minor in Business Admin. I’m an aspiring MD and my dream is to work with Doctors Without Borders. After a summer of serving and taking care of orphans in the countryside of China, my heart goes out for those children with real need for basic necessities and medical attention.

So, that’s enough about me haha. Again, I can not wait to meet you all. Enjoy the summer, relax and come to campus with an open mind ready to start the beginning stages of the rest of your life:)

See y’all in August,



Hey Y’all! Welcome to UHM. :)


 Howdy guys!

My first name is Anna, but I was raised by my middle name – so, please, call me Ciera, even just Ci if you would like.

I’m from a cute little po-dunk town in Northern California that is known for wine and cowboys, so if you here me let out a “y’all” or “howdy,” that’s why. I am not from the south – just a little cow town barely big enough for two high schools. Ironically, this town isn’t too far from San Francisco and Oakland, so if you hear me blaring some rather interesting songs, that was also an influence on me as I grew up.

I love many things, but my first love is food. I love to cook and bake and taste whatever random creations I end up producing in my kitchen. I have been cooking since I was tall enough to stand on the step ladder and help out my grandmother(which was like, 5 or so), and she taught me everything I know. She came over to California from Oklahoma and is a huge influence on my style of cooking, so we both use copious amounts of butter, garlic, onions, and bacon in almost everything that we throw together. 

I was recently told that I was deprived of good films while I was growing up, so my latest personal project has been viewing some of the classic movies that have been recommended to me – Forrest Gump and Gladiator were the two movies that started this whole shebang, although there are many more that I am told that I need to watch.

I was born and raised in only one house – I had never lived anywhere else but in my hometown before I packed up and moved out to Hawaii (which I had never been to before, by the way). I am the youngest of four siblings, and there was is a twelve year spread between all of us, so I am not very close to the two older siblings, as they are 8 and 12 years older than me. The other is only 3 years older than me, and I talk to her at the very least, once a week. 

Family is hugely important to me, and I would do almost anything to protect them. Out here, my friends are my family. I am an incredibly loyal person, and I will go to the ends of the Earth for those that I care about. 

Moving out to Hawaii was one of the biggest risks I ever took – I had never been out here, and I knew absolutely no one who lived out here. And I have to say, it is a risk that has paid off immensely. I have a fantastic new ‘Ohana out here, made up of some of the best friends that I could have ever asked for. 

I am a Molecular Cellular Biology major, and I eventually want to work for the CDC doing research in the molecular aspects of Immunology (the study of the immune system) and Virology (the study of viruses).

I will be mentoring for cluster 31 this Fall for Pre-Health and Life Sciences majors.

I can’t wait to meet everyone, and I hope that y’all have a fantastic rest of the summer!

Peace out!


Congrats to the Class of 2013 and Welcome to UHM!

DSP - Me and Lil EDIT


My name is Clarissa Bermodes.
I just finished my sophomore year and looking forward to sharing my experiences with you all!

First up, I’m a Business major and an Economics minor. Freshly admitted from completing the prerequisites, I am choosing to specialize into Finance.

In this field, I am looking into the CFP track which means Certified Financial Planner. As an incoming freshmen, I looked into Management and Human Resource Management since I like the interpersonal side of business. Then, I realized that looking into the CFP track is pretty interpersonal too. I am looking forward into teaching financial literacy while helping out everyday problems relating to money.

Fun Fact Time, I am not from Hawai’i. I come from a military family where I move around every 3 – 4 years.

During my senior year of high school, I had to make a tough call to either: Stay in California and study at my 1st choice (Cal Poly Pomona) or Re – apply for University of Hawaii at Manoa and relocate with the family. 2 years later, I couldn’t be happier!

My suggestion to incoming freshmen is to not be afraid into trying something new!

I remember grimacing at one of my ACE pre-cluster classes called REL 150. After attending the 1st day, I was surprisingly hooked on the professor’s unorthodox method of teaching and his sense of humor was always entertaining to watch. Goes to show that you can’t judge a class by its name!

What I tend to do on my free time is go home and sleep. But that’s rare! Other hobbies is to watch YouTube, play video games, looking up good places to eat, and reading up current events and trends.

If I am not in class, I am usually found at my on – campus job, with friends at the campus center, in one of the libraries in the books or doing an activity with a Shidler’s organization.

Currently, I am member of Delta Sigma Pi and Financial Management Association. One’s a professional co-ed business fraternity while the other is a club that specialized into people interested in the Financial fields of business.

As for leadership skills, I recently became elected into being VP of Scholarships and Awards in Delta Sigma Pi and had a little to mentor over in the Spring 2014 semester.

For the future, I am looking into government agencies or corporates. I know that I want to be able to do advising or teaching as part of my career. Eventually, I would like to earn my MBA or JD after a couple years in the workforce. My dream of mine is eventually teach at a University level with an interest in economic history or financial literacy.

Don’t be a stranger, I am looking forward into meeting you all!

If you’re interested in the Business world, let me know!

I’ll be looking after Cluster 11, Pre-Business!