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Alumni talk to students about post graduation success

    By Steven Gransky - News Editor. December 8, 2017 - 9:18 am

Panelist provided business cards and additional information to students at the
conclusion of the event. Photo by Lauren Martinez.

Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) hosted an event to highlight success stories of three alumni from the communications department. On Nov. 14  the Akamai Advertising Club invited the guest speakers to share their stories of how they transitions from college to professionals at the “Where Are They Now?” event.

The format was Q&A, with more than 50 students and faculty attending the standing-room-only event.

Alumni speakers were (2015) graphic designer Jairus Kiyonaga, (2012) social media specialist Thomas Obungen and (2007) entrepreneur Jason Cutinella.

Each speaker spoke about their experiences at HPU and how those experiences translated into real world opportunities before and after graduating.

Obungen spoke about the mass communication program’s capstone, National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). He described it as the most valuable experience he took away from HPU. Kiyonaga agreed, “NSAC is like the closest thing you can get, within these four walls, to industry experience.”

The speakers stressed the importance of networking while in school. Kiyonaga said that communications department professor, AnnMarie Manzulli, was a good resource, “If she doesn’t know somebody personally, she knows someone who does.”

Students enjoying J.J. Dolan’s pizza and other snacks at the event. Photo by Lauren
Martinez.

Extracurricular activities such as joining clubs, writing for the school paper or doing internships were emphasized by the speakers. Cutinella talked about the value of education beyond a college degree, “Nobody cares about that piece of paper or where it’s from, they want to see what you can do.”

As the event concluded, some students had the opportunity to talk one-on-one with the speakers about their individual goals and aspirations.


Amanda Kowalski, president of Akamai Advertising Club, said she was happy with the event and would like to see it grow, “I think it went well. It’s something that we would like to continue in the future and maybe broaden to include the alumni of other degree programs.”

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