Identify Illinois Spotlight
Identify Illinois is the DIA-branch of Inclusive Illinois, an organization dedicated to the University's commitment to cultivating a community at Illinois where everyone is welcomed, celebrated, and respected. Through education, engagement, and excellence, each voice creates the Inclusive Illinois Experience.
Q: You were a 22-time All-American at UCLA. How would you describe your time as a student-athlete?
A: My experience at UCLA was fabulous. I felt like I was able to balance my social, academic, and athletic demands fairly well. Additionally, having moved to LA from Hawaii, I think UCLA and the surrounding community was a good fit for me culturally. Academically, it took me a long while to figure out a major, but I am happy with my choice—African-American Studies. I enjoyed all of the classes for my major, along with the reading material, which helped a lot!
What is your favorite memory, as a student-athlete?
A: It's hard to pick one memory, as there were so many! Memorable moments that stick out include having morning swim workouts at the Rose Bowl on football game days, food excursions to Japan Town and China Town with teammates, eating the wide selection of wonderful food at the dorms after a hard workout, dual meets against our cross town rival (USC), and our team having an amazing meet at NCAA Championships my senior year (we placed 8th overall).
What helped you decide on a career in academic services?
A: I've always had a passion for helping student-athletes succeed in the classroom and in life. I love working with students—they give me energy and inspiration at the same time. Having been a former student-athlete myself, I struggled with finding a path academically and professionally, so I'd like to make that process easier for the students we serve here at Illinois.
Growing up in Hawaii and spending several years in California, what do you think of the Midwest?
A: I am amazed at how genuinely nice the people are in the Midwest. Surprisingly, the cold temperatures don't bother me much.
Do you have any brothers or sisters?
A: I have 3 brothers - one that's a federal prosecutor, one that's a tattoo artist and one that works for a union in Hawaii as a painter.
What are your goals for the academic services department this spring semester?
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