Author: Marco Leon

Nate Tengbergen

Nate Tengbergen is a 19-year-old general business major from Mililani. His home campus is the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu, and he is currently taking a math course at Kapi‘olani Community College.

Tengbergen graduated from Mililani High School in 2018 and enlisted in the Army National Guard. After boot camp, he came back home to Hawaiʻi, registered for college, and works full time as a pavement marking specialist.

“It’s pretty much painting all the lines, arrows, parking stalls and crosswalks you see on the roads and parking lots,” Tengbergen said. “That’s what I do. It’s a fun job, and I really enjoy it because it’s outside work.”

Tengbergen is a self-taught photographer and videographer. The passion for it started his freshman year of high school. Eventually, his talent led to a drone sponsorship with Drones Plus Hawaiʻi in 2016. Tengbergen enjoys having a bird’s-eye view. 

“My passion is looking for adventure and creating amazing content,” Tengbergen said. “My favorite things to shoot are landscape and concerts. I’ve been doing this for over five years now and been shooting concerts for just over a year.”

Nate hopes that the Business degree will help make his passion a career one day.

“I’m hoping to be able to film EDM concerts full time,” Tengbergen said. “I feel with Business being my major, I’d be able to understand a lot more on how to put my own name out there and possibly start a brand or a company.”

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Keanu Rochette-Yu Tsuen

Keanu Rochette-Yu Tsuen is a 20-year-old bio-engineering major from Faaʻa, Tahiti, French Polynesia. In Fall 2018, Rochette-Yu Tsuen began to conduct his own research project. 

“It was my first time doing research that was my own,” Rochette-Yu Tsuen said. “It was supposed to be a botany-based project that was to be a semester long, but it turned out to be a year and a half.”

Rochette-Yu Tsuen’s research project involves the use of the Naupaka Kahakai plant by extracting a compound that could be used in sunscreen. His hope is to reduce the damage to coral reefs caused by current sunscreens on the market. What he has found to be enjoyable was that the project applied microbiology, chemistry and marine biology concepts and skills.

Yu Tsuen has attended three conferences: the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) in Arizona, National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Georgia, and the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference (HCC) in Honolulu. All of which he presented a poster showcasing his data. He won the “Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation” award at HCC. Rochette-Yu Tsuen will be presenting at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Honolulu on Oct. 31.

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Bryan Suechting

Bryan Suechting is a 33-year-old from Folsom, Calif., and is currently working on completing the science courses needed to get into a science based-master’s program.

Suechting has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from UCLA, and due to not being able to market the degree well, was unable to find a career in the field. For the past two years Bryan has been working as a bartender at Yard House in Waikiki. During that time he learned how to brew beer and has won two first-place and second-place medals. 

Bryan fell in love with Hawaiʻi after visiting his brother in 2017. The decision to move to Oʻahu was based on finding a location that would calm the symptoms of eczema, and where the brewery market was up and coming.

“In the week and a half I was here, my eczema cleared up, it was the humidity. I wanted to open a brewery with my brother, but after a year I decided not to and go back to school,” he said. 

Suechting’s advice for students is to make connections and get as much hands-on experience as possible.

“I made the mistake of not making connections my first time through college,” he said. “I just thought that If I got good grades and put that on a resume it would get me a job. That was not the case. Connections are key.”

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Erin Turban

Erin Turban is a 36-year-old former KCC student from ‘Ewa Beach who has begun her first semester at UH Mānoa for Fall 2019.

She originally started taking nursing classes, and one of those prerequisites was John Berestecky’s Micro 130 class. She “found it really interesting” and is now pursuing a BS in Microbiology. 

Erin enjoys hanging out at KCC.

“I love it here!” she said.

She can be found working alongside a research team investigating Campylobacter spp., a bacteria that is commonly found in poultry. 

“We are looking for a specific gene that Campy has,” she said. “It’s the type VI secretion system, the hcp gene. This gene provides cells with a needle like method of passing on its genetic information to other cells.” 

Turban got involved in research by joining the on campus organization, Kapiʻolani Association of Research in Microbiology (KARM).

“KARM has been a supportive environment,” she said. :This will for sure help me with my Microbiology degree. I get to work with the equipment and learn techniques from Becky Kanenaka [a mentor for KARM], JB [Berestecky] himself, and my lab mates.”

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Voices & Views

  • Ana WhiteAna White
    Ana White is a third-year student majoring in Pastry Arts. White's decision in making Pastry Arts her major resulted from an experience that she had while on a trip to Chicago three years ago. While spending the Thanksgiving weekend with a few friends in Chicago, she decided to go Black Friday shopping with them primarily to buy desserts for her family. White impulsively bought chocolate covered almonds during her shopping spree but was unsure who she would give it to later on. Eventually, White and her friends stumbled upon a homeless man after they left the dessert shop. Feeling terrible for not having any money to give, White then remembered the chocolate covered almonds that she had bought, handing it to the homeless man as a gift. While her friends gave him money, he asked them to pass on his gratitude to White and that chocolate covered almonds were her favorite. "That just made me, like, want to work with pastries because I was actually considering either going into culinary or something as I saw as more practical, so I almost didn't come here for pastry arts," White said. "After that [experience], that solidified my decision and I'm going to graduate [in Fall 2018]."

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