Aloha everyone! My name is Reina Mitsuda and I am one of the new members for Kupu's HYCC Summer Individual Placement Program. I am originally from Japan and spent nine years on O'ahu before heading up to California for college. There, at the University of Redlands, I study Math along with Environmental Science with an emphasis in Physics, expanding upon the passion that I found for preserving the wondrous Earth that provides for us every day. Similarly, through this summer opportunity, I hope to give back to the community that exposed me to the land that I love and appreciate dearly.
Aloha, ʻo Nanea Cruz koʻu inoa. I was born on O’ahu, but raised in Keaʻau on Hawaiʻi Island where I attended Kamehameha Hawaiʻi Campus before transferring in the eighth grade to the Kāpalama Campus. As the fifth child of a large family of six kids, I think about what could happen to my family and the people of Hawaiʻi if one day we are unable to continue relying on the help of outside resources and function independently. This year, I had an amazing opportunity to be a part of a Botany class that helped me touch base with this concept and further exercise a passion I never knew I had. The opportunity of getting to know my kumu and experiencing this course allowed me to get out of my comfort zone and focus on something beyond myself. It served as a gateway for me to explore places where I can contribute to the lāhui and work with others that ʻimi naʻauao and share similar passions and values as me. Now that I have developed this sense of purpose, I aspire to perpetuate these ideas and values in my life going forward and hopefully spark interest in other people along the way, as my kumu did with me.