Category: Voices & Views

Kiara Bell

Kiara Bell is a 30-year-old Liberal Arts major from Warner Robins, Ga. Although majoring in Liberal Arts, his focus is in History.

Before attending KCC, Bell served for seven years as an Embarkation Specialist in the U.S. Marines. During his service, he was deployed twice to Afghanistan under Operation Enduring Freedom.

At 19-years-old, Bell joined the Marines to support his family. He also came from a family of veterans, including his mom and brothers. Bell explained that he was able to experience more than his peers at that age, and had opportunities to travel and interact with different people and high-level agencies. Bell feels that he was presented with many positive influences.

During his deployments, Bell explained that because of always being forward deployed, and not always able to communicate, there was a lot of stress on his family. He was unable to attend the birth of his first son, and his marriage became strained. After he returned, he struggled with the impact of engaging in combat, losing friends in combat, and having to cope with everything on his own. Bell struggled with negative thoughts and emotions that impacted his personal life.

Of all of the places that he was able to travel, Bell states that Germany was one of his favorites. His favorite aspect of serving in the Marines was the ability to travel, and the opportunity to see the world and meet new people.

When asked what advice he would give anyone considering joining the military, Bell said, “Do your research. Do your research and know what you want. Take note of your skills and don’t let anyone pressure you into taking a job you don’t want.”

Now Bell spends his time attending classes at Kapi’olani Community College and can often be found helping out his peers in the Veteran & Military Resource Center. In his free time, he enjoys exercising, going to the beach, and hiking with his dog.

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.”

Jing Xiong

Jing Xiong is a 20-year-old Liberal Arts Major from Zhong Shan, China. 

Xiong enjoys playing video games in his free time, his favorites being turn based, strategic, and any extremely difficult level game. He likes playing on console, mobile, and PC. 

When he is not gaming, Xiong likes to study, go hiking, and get lost in the world of YouTube. 

“I’m the person that’s up at 3 a.m. watching all of my recommended videos,” he said. “I always learn new things on YouTube. I love learning new things.”

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.

Justin Lospoc

Justin Lospoc is a 34-year-old Liberal Arts major from Waipahu. He plans to start Respiratory Therapy classes next semester.

Lospoc worked with respiratory specialists while serving as a corpsman in the U.S. Navy.

“It just intrigues me that breathing is essential to life, and I want to know how the human lungs work,” he said.

After graduation, Lospoc wishes to move to Washington or Oregon after graduation to be closer to snow, but if he can find a job in the respiratory field here in Oʻahu, he will stay.  

In his free time, Lospoc enjoys snowboarding, body boarding, and fishing.

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.”

Giuliana Salinas

Giuliana Salainas is an 18-year-old first-year KCC student from Honolulu. She graduated from Moanalua High School.  

Salainas is currently pursuing her liberal arts degree and certification in the Dental Assisting program. She hopes to one day start a career as a dental hygienist. Salainas expressed that she has always wanted to work in the dental field and wants help out in the community.

In her free time, she enjoys reading books, watching movies, painting, and going for hikes around the island.

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

  • Matthew YoshikawaMatthew Yoshikawa
    Matthew Yoshikawa is a 22-year-old student at both KCC and HCC. As a native of Hawaiʻi Kai, Yoshikawa is majoring in the Fire Program over at his home campus, HCC. As a fourth year student, Yoshikawa hopes to receive an associate degree from the Fire Program so that he can become a future firefighter, a job that he said he has always wanted to go into. Along with wanting to become a firefighter, Yoshikawa is also majoring in Botany here at KCC. "I took a couple of classes for Botany to see what it was like, and I liked it," he said. Yoshikawa's love for Botany stems from his likable and passionate instructor, Mike Ross.  As a 2015 high school graduate, Yoshikawa has interest in plants and loves to learn new facts about them. Along with looking forward to being a firefighter, Yoshikawa said that majoring in both a Fire Program and Botany is "a good mix."

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