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Student excellence recognized at Pueo Awards


Student excellence recognized at Pueo Awards

Image courtesy of ASUHWO

Dozens of University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu students were recognized for academic and leadership excellence at the Pueo Awards, a ceremony presented by UH West Oʻahu Student Life Center on May 4 in C-208.

The program included a presentation of the Associated Students of the University of Hawaiʻi–West Oʻahu (ASUHWO) highlights and a year-in-review, and the recognition of recipients of ASUHWO Awards, Academic Excellence Awards, and Student Leadership Awards.

At the in-person ceremony, Director of Student Life Rouel Velasco shared with attendees that the event was a special day because the last in-person Pueo Awards was in fall 2019.

“As you know, the pandemic came and it changed the experience for many of us,” Velasco said to guests at the awards ceremony. “And so I want to take the opportunity to recognize how far you have come along with the pandemic, the multiple responsibilities that you have — care taker and care giver, raising family, household responsibilities, working full time, part time, your involvement in leadership and organizations, and so on — while having to manage your academic work. You are to be applauded for your efforts.”

Among the award recipients was Daphne Alohikea, one of two winners of ASUHWO’s Distinguished Service Medal. The medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with ASUHWO since June 13, 2012, has distinguished himself or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the student government in a duty of great responsibility.

Alohikea, the outgoing ASUHWO social media coordinator, served the student government by creating social media posts and stories, and revitalizing the ASUHWO website, while also being involved in the Activities Committee and Commencement Committee.

“When I joined ASUHWO last semester, my appointed position was social media coordinator, which included the responsibilities of creating important posts requested by senate members, creating stories for senate members office hours, and making continuous updates to the ASUHWO website, like uploading official senate documents and meeting agendas,” Alohikea said. “It was not required, but I took on additional responsibilities this spring semester to work with the Activities Committee to help them in their efforts as well as help represent ASUHWO on the campus Commencement Committee.”

Alohikea said she was surprised, honored, and grateful to receive the award.

“Working with ASUHWO has been one of the best experiences for me here at UH West Oʻahu,” Alohikea said. “I got to work with such amazing individuals and I loved knowing that I was able to use my skills in social media marketing to help bring awareness to UH West Oʻahu students on social media about what our student government does.”

The following is a list of the Pueo Awards recipients:

Academic Excellence Awards

Humanities Division:

  • Humanities Award, Outstanding Student Award: Jennalyn Roa (ENG)
  • Humanities Award, Honorable Mention: Kristian Monis-Cummings (HPST)

Mathematics, Natural and Health Sciences Division:

  • Applied Science Health Information Management (HIM) Top Student Award: Torie Guadiz
  • Applied Science Health Information Management (HIM) Honorable Mention: Rufina Wasserman
  • Applied Science Health Professions (HP) Top Student Award: Aiga Ale
  • Applied Science Health Professions (HP) Honorable Mention: Elmarie Manuel
  • Humanities Math Top Student Award: Justin Shimazu

Public Administration Division:

  • Outstanding Student Award – Community Health: Bayli Kaleiopu
  • Outstanding Student Award DPEM Concentration Outstanding Student Award – Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (DPEM) Concentration: Marie Villareal
  • Outstanding Student Award Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (DPEM) Certificate: Sarah Ruppenthal
  • Outstanding Student Award – General Public Administration: Jasmine Bekgran
  • Outstanding Student Award – Health Care Administration: Erica Walcott
  • Outstanding Student Award – Justice Administration: Marsha Goriainov


  • Distinguished Service Medal – Kiana Akana and Daphne Alohikea
  • Appreciation Medal – Emilly Maluyo and Keʻalaʻiliahi Ford

Student Leadership Awards

Recognition of Graduating Student Leaders:

  • Daphne Alohikea, ASUHWO social media coordinator
  • Symantha Arcalas, SAFB student coordinator
  • Nadine Castillo, Student Media Board member
  • Amberley Hao, Student Life student coordinator
  • Keola Iseri, Student Media Board member
  • Jesse Mikasobe-Kealiinohomoku, Aloha ʻĀina president
  • Yasha Ronquillo, Student Media Board member
  • Ceyber Silva, Intramurals and Fitness student coordinator
  • Noah Tomas, Student Media Board member

Outstanding Advisor Award (first semester to award this new category):

  • Manulani Aluli-Meyer