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Home Spotlight ‘Amazing’ shared experience at UH West Oʻahu for husband and wife

‘Amazing’ shared experience at UH West Oʻahu for husband and wife


Image courtesy of UHWO Staff

“All in the ‘Ohana” is a new series of stories that celebrates families who share a special connection with the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu as students, graduates, employees, or alumni. The series will run throughout the spring 2023 semester.

The University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu Fall 2022 Commencement was a momentous day for ‘Ewa Beach couple Mavric Agustin-Carino and his wife Rebecca Carino-Agustin.

Agustin-Carino, 34, received a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Media with a concentration in Design and Media. He transferred from Leeward Community College in 2020 at the height of the pandemic and enrolled at UH West O‘ahu as a recipient of the inaugural Roy and Hilda Takeyama Foundation Scholarship, the first-ever full scholarship in the Academy for Creative Media program at UH West O‘ahu.

The ceremony was also significant for Carino-Agustin, 29, a College Success Advisor and First Year Experience Coordinator at UH West O‘ahu. Carino-Agustin served as a Fall 2022 Commencement faculty marshal — a duty of honor and distinction — one of two marshals selected because of her significant professional achievements in the past year, including receiving the Dr. Ernest “Niki” Libarios Outstanding Filipina/o Faculty & Staff Award.

As a faculty marshal, Carino-Agustin had an up-close view of her husband graduating — and with that, many thoughts that went through her mind during the ceremony.

“I thought about all of the struggles and joys that we went through together leading up to this day,” Carino-Agustin recalled. “I tried not to get emotional when I saw him walking down the stage and shaking hands with Chancellor (Maenette) Benham. To see him grow and navigate higher education in a way that I never had to (as a result of the pandemic) really hit me in that moment.”

A married couple at the husbandʻs graduation ceremony. The husband is wearing a cap, gown, and many lei.
Rebecca Carino-Agustin (left) with her husband Mavric Agustin-Carino at the UH West Oʻahu Fall 2022 Commencement.

UH West O‘ahu ‘there every step of the way’

“My experience of attending UH West O‘ahu is and will be different from many as I attended most of my classes via Zoom meetings and online for two years because of the pandemic,” Agustin-Carino said.

He continued, “Even though there were many obstacles and difficulties along the way, the faculty and staff of UH West O‘ahu were there every step of the way to help me get through in making sure I received the knowledge and skills with each class — whether online, through email, or in person — and that I graduated with my degree on time.”

Agustin-Carino, a former journeyman in the labor industry for almost a decade, chose to go back to school and start over.

“One of the main reasons that I decided to go back to college was because I wanted to pursue the career that I was passionate about,” Agustin-Carino said. “Another reason is falling along the lines of breaking away from the narrative of working in a labor career for the rest of my life like my family before and after me, also so that I may inspire them to pursue their dreams like I am.”

Today Agustin-Carino is a graphic designer, animator, and social media influencer, and has been exploring starting a side business in creating and designing custom stickers.

“Starting my student career at Leeward Community College and and finishing it at UH West O’ahu — the faculty, staff, and students here made it even clearer that I don’t have to settle for a well-paying job and that I deserved the career I was passionate about,” he said.

A ʻwarm and welcoming’ campus

Like her husband, Carino-Agustin also graduated from UH West O‘ahu. She enrolled in fall 2011 and graduated in spring 2015, when she received a Bachelor of Arts in Humanities with a concentration in English.

She recalled the moment she knew UH West O‘ahu was the right choice.

“It wasn’t until I went to orientation that I felt like I was meant to be there as so many of the people involved were so warm and welcoming, and they looked like me, seemed like me,” Carino-Agustin said.

During her years attending as a student, then working professionally at UH West O‘ahu, Carino-Agustin found joy in being involved with the campus community.

“UH West O‘ahu was the first time in my educational journey that I felt seen and heard,” she said. “My advisors, supervisors, and professors saw excellence that I had not yet seen in myself and that is the legacy I carry with me in my work now.”

Throughout their journeys at UH West O‘ahu, both found a sense of belonging and purpose at the university, as well as inspiration in each other.

“Having this shared experience with my wife is amazing,” Agustin-Carino said. “She is the most hardworking person I have ever met and she continues to inspire me to this day as we both break barriers that previous and future generations of Filipinos usually do not aspire to.”

Click here to read more stories from the “All in the ‘Ohana” series.

Image courtesy of Rebecca Carino-Agustin