March 2022

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MARCH 2022

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MARCH 2022 • VOLUME 131 • ISSUE 3

LeeAnn Lambert ADVISOR

Leiani Brown COPY EDITOR


Collin Farley COPY EDITOR













Emily Hendrickson GRAPHIC DESIGNER



Munkbayar Magvandorj PHOTOGRAPHER


Uurtsaikh Nylamdeleg PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO

Mark Daeson Tabbilos PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO

Marwin Jay Villegas PHOTOGRAPHY &VIDEO


2 KE AL AKA‘I 2021

LE T T E R FRO M T H E CO PY E D I TOR We have now successfully passed the halfway point of this Winter 2022 Semester. As many of us have been stressed out about midterms, barely making it out of bed and into class (or maybe it’s just me), studying and doing homework into the late hours of the night, it is important to take time to relax. Going to the beach, spending time in nature, hanging out with friends and perusing the latest issue of the Ke Alaka‘i magazine are ways I wind down and get my mind off of school for a moment or two. I hope that you, our readers, take time to do something similar. Although it is important to be able to relax and not let ourselves get too stressed about school, it’s equally important to not let ourselves completely forget why we are here and what our focus is; which is why in this month’s edition of Ke Alaka‘i we have chosen to focus on BYU–Hawaii’s scholars. We have included features on students, faculty and community members who have unique backgrounds and stories to tell you about who they are and what brought them to BYUH. We hope as you read these feature stories, you will enjoy learning more about these remarkable people, and be inspired by their stories. Collin Farley, Copy editor

NEWS CENTER: CONTACT: Box 1920 Email: BYUH Phone: (808) 675-3694 Laie, HI 96762 Office: BYU–Hawaii Editorial, photo submissions Aloha Center 134 & distribution inquires: ON THE COVER: Photo illustration of BYUH and the community. To view additional articles go to Graphics by Emily Hendrickson. Photo by Mark Daeson Tabbilos. ABOUT The Ke Alaka‘i began publishing the same year the University, then called Church College of Hawaii, opened. It has continued printing for more than 60 years. The name means “the leader” in Hawaiian.What began as a monthly newsletter, evolved into a weekly newspaper, then a weekly magazine and is now a monthly news magazine with a website and a social media presence.Today, a staff of about 25 students work to provide information for BYU–Hawaii’s campus ohana and Laie’s community.

© 2022 Ke Alaka‘i BYU–Hawaii All Rights Reserved

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Table of

CONT ENTS Dedication to Education

6 Art submission 7 Campus comments 8 Country highlight: Mexico

10 b digital marketing class 12 On Campus Internship Program 14 Senior thesis projects 18 Self defense class: Michelle Blimes 20 Women in marine biology 22 Guest spekaer: Tanya Joaquin


Campus & Community

25 Spiderman movie reactions

32 Careces sisters

28 St. Patrick’s Day wordsearch 30 Tropical salad

36 BYUH with the community 40 Kyla Greening 42 Merit Scholarship 46 Beginner surfer’s guide 48 Kevin Bacon, the pig 50 Faith Thompson

MAR. 2022


“Curiosity” by Brinley Dotson, a senior from Utah majoring in graphic design Share your art, photos or creative writing with us to print in our next issue. E-mail us your high-resolution photo or work with a caption at


K E A L A K A I . BY UH . E D U

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CAMPUS C O M M E N T S Wha t i s s om e t h in g you e n j oy a b ou t you r m ajor ?

BY LE VI F UAGA Anaïs Fry, a freshman from Massachusetts majoring in social work, said she enjoys learning about important social issues such as supporting the LGBTQ+ community and the Black Lives Matter movement. She also said she feels more confident speaking openly about these topics with family and friends. “It helps me better understand them and how to be an advocate [and] stand up for people who are marginalized.”

Evan Willie, a senior from Papua New Guinea majoring in business management, said he enjoys developing friendships and making connections with other people. Oftentimes in his business classes, Willie said, he works in groups to learn how to manage a business. Initially, he didn’t like working in groups but said he has come to enjoy the interactions. “You start out as just strangers in a classroom, and by the end of the semester, you become friends.”

Elizabeth Allen, a senior from Oregon majoring in supply chain management, said her major connects with her current job as a construction management intern. Her job includes helping manage the construction of the buildings on campus, she shared. “It’s been really interesting to see how all the stuff that I’m learning is very applicable to my job.”

Noé Reil, a sophomore from Canada majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said she enjoys working with people and learning how to improve their tourism experience. People experience more positive emotions when they feel that you care for them, she added. “Once you know them, I feel that they’ll let you know more about their lives. … that’ll help shape the experiences you want to give to them.”

Graphics by Katie Mower.

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Country Highlight:mexico A Mexican-Guatemalan freshman from Utah said Mexicans show love to others by making and sharing food BY XYRON LEVI CORPUZ


ahneli Garcia-Aguilar, a freshman majoring in business management, said she grew up living on and off in Mexico. Garcia-Aguilar said she loves Mexican food because they cook their food with much care and love. She added Mexican people express their love to others through food. She said her favorite Mexican food is pozole, a traditional dish in Mexico, usually eaten during Christmas. “You can put a little bit of sour cream on it and usually eat it with tostadas,” she said. According to the PrepScholar website, “Pozole is made with hominy, which is processed corn with the germ removed, and meat, traditionally pork. “It’s also often made with chicken, especially for those who don’t eat pork. The stew is seasoned with a combination of spices, and it’s typically topped with garnishes like radishes, avocados and lime juice.” Pozole means “foam” and comes from the Nahuatl word “pozilli.” “Nahuatl was the language of the Aztecs, an indigenous people of modern-day Mexico,” says PrepScholar.

lot at festivals to keep our traditions. … At a lot of festivals and carnivals over there in Mexico, you’ll see a lot of folkloric dances.” Mexican Folkloric dance is the term used in general, she said, and the different dances come from different states in the country, such as “Jalisco” and “Michoacan.” According to the Rover Atlas website, “Jarabe Tapatío [a type of Mexican folk dance] is also known as Mexican Hat Dance and the attire for this traditional dance is intriguing and unique. The men wear a charro suit, whereas the females wear a china poblana dress. … [It] is an essential traditional dance form in Mexican history.”

Mexican-Spanish and other languages

Garcia-Aguilar said the Spanish spoken in Mexico is the same in Spain but varies with the accent and different words. “In Mexico, you say ‘chido’ for ‘cool,’ and in Spain, you say ‘chévere’ for ‘cool,’ but they mean the same thing.” She compared it to British-English and American-English, which is the same language, but speakers have different accents What are some unique cultural and different words for the same meaning. Another language spoken in Mexico is practices in Mexico? Garcia-Aguilar said her mother is from called “Nahuatl,” which is becoming a dead Mexico and her father is from Guatemala. language now, Garcia-Aguilar said. She said Garcia-Aguilar, who lived in Mexico on her first name,Yahneli, came from the Nahuatl and off from elementary school to high school, language, which means “I love you much more.” said the Mexican folkloric dances are one of According to the World Atlas website, their unique cultural practices “We danced a “The most commonly used indigenous

language in Mexico is Nahuatl. … and is spoken today by 1,376,026 people in Mexico. It is mostly spoken in Veracruz, Puebla, and Hidalgo.”

What holidays are celebrated in Mexico? Garcia-Aguilar said they celebrate Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Cinco de Mayo. Día de Los Muertos is where they remember their ancestors and make food for them, she said. Cinco de Mayo is where they dance Mexican Folkloric dances and have carnivals. According to the Britannica website, Cinco de Mayo is also celebrated in Mexico and the United States to commemorate the 1862 defeat of the French by Mexico. The National Geographic Website says, they celebrate Día de Los Muertos beginning on the first day of November to honor their dead. “Assured that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Día de Los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life,” says the site. •

Graphics by: Katie Mower

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A new marketing agency class, b digital, allows students to gain real-world experience by working for real companies BY ELLE LARSON & ABBIE PUTNAM


nn Springer of the Faculty of Business & Government said she worked for several years to bring a marketing agency class to BYU–Hawaii where students gain real world experience, and she is thrilled to see it start. In the class, called “b digital,” students apply what they learn in other core marketing classes to real world experiences, she shared. “They know how to run a campaign. They know how to develop social media presence. They know the theories and the vocabulary. They just need a place to fly the plane.” That place to fly, Springer said, is the b-digital class.

How it works Springer said students in the class divide and conquer the work, collaborating in teams

to perform tasks for their clients. Each team has a student leader, so as students work their way through the marketing agency from semester to semester, they gain valuable leadership experience. Springer said, “This [class] is intended to be student led.” Sydney Sears, a junior from China studying business management-marketing, said the class is “basically functioning like a real digital marketing agency.” During her second semester taking the class, she was given more leadership roles, she said. This helped her “be more involved with … deliverables and clients,” Sears said. “I wish this class was offered years ago because I would have loved to take it for three or more semesters.” Sophie Richmond, a BYUH alumna from San Diego who is Springer’s intern, said as

part of b digital, students do branding and re-branding, promotions, sales, social media, Instagram monetizing, advertising and create web content. Jason Yamamoto, a senior from Hawaii studying marketing, said at the beginning of the semester, students could choose which of the four teams they wanted to be a part of. The teams were “social media management, sales and promotion, branding and web development.” He said the teams “are all intertwined” and work together to “make a masterpiece.” He said the class will help marketing majors and minors hone their skills and take them “10 steps ahead of [their] competition.” The class has benefitted him,Yamamoto shared, because he has been able to “shift from being a college student to being a marketer.”

Springer said the work students do in the class varies by semester because they are always working to keep the class current. Clients request certain marketing skills, Springer said, and students work together to fulfill the requests. Doing so helps students become proficient in current market demands. She said the class is important because it allows students to complete real projects, which offers them a new perspective as they overcome inevitable complications then work together as a team to create a cohesive plan. Springer said the projects allow students to “see the success … in real time.” In addition, she said, the class helps build student’s portfolios and resumes because telling a potential employer they can do something doesn’t matter. What matters, she explained, is being able to show employers what they have done.

Diverse clients Because BYUH is a global university, Springer said, clients can come from anywhere in the world. “A lot of people have reached out. The agency is definitely successful and people are hearing about [it].” She said the class is booked with possible clients for several semesters. She explained there are unique markets in different countries, from secluded Mongolia to booming Hong Kong. She said there have been and will continue to be opportunities for students to work with accomplished BYUH alumni. Mariah Jones, a junior from Salt Lake City, Utah, majoring in business marketing, said the class has been valuable to her because she has been able to “bounce ideas off 10 brains and experience what working in a marketing agency will be like.” She said it has shown her she is “capable of doing [her] dream job.” Yamamoto said the most valuable project for him has been working with the Ho‘okele Department “to bring more students, faculty and employers to the Asia-Pacific Career Conference,” he shared.

“As the sales and promotion team, I have had the opportunity to discuss and plan events with my classmates I would never have thought of initiating. They are always new ideas and initiative being taken and I absolutely love it.” Referring to the name and branding of the class, he said, “B daring. B successful. B digital.”

Building from the ground up Springer said the students who took the class during its first semester developed the name together. The name they chose, b digital, was inspired by President Gordon B. Hinckley’s “be’s”: be grateful, be smart, be clean, be true, be humble and be prayerful. In addition, she said, the name represents how a lot of companies “need to take the digitization step” and “take advantage of Generation Z and their creative power.” She said students who took the class in its first semester also worked together to develop the branding of the class and pitched it to companies to develop a pool of clients. This was valuable because it showed the students “how much work goes into launching a new brand,” said Springer. Sears, who took the class during that time, said, “Building b digital from the ground up has taught me the inner workings of a digital marketing agency and how much work is necessary to really succeed.” Moving forward, Springer said, students will have a say in everything, including clients, services and company growth. Sears encouraged students to take advantage of the class. “If this opportunity is available, take it. [Students] can take a bunch of marketing classes, but there’s no better experience than actual hands-on experience.”

She spoke of one student in the BYU in Provo class that started a $10,000 account for a client and turned it into $100,000 in revenue. “She put that on her LinkedIn,” Springer said, “and had multiple job offers coming out of the pandemic before she graduated.” Springer said students with that kind of experience are more likely to be hired for a management position. “A student with leadership experience on top of that level of return on investment is super powerful in the workplace. … For the rest of their career, they’re going to make more money.” Digital marketing is an easy field for students to get into and start themselves, Springer said. “Anybody with a laptop or a cell phone and great internet can make a lot of money.” She said this is a great opportunity, especially for female students who want to continue in the workforce and make money without working a full-time job. Springer said BYUH’s new professor, Tserennyam Sukhbaatar of the Faculty of Business & Government, alternates with her to teach the class. Sukhbaatar said he plans to share his global connections and experience while teaching. “I’m taking some notes on how to deliver the best outcome for the students,” he said. “I would like to share lots of really practical experiences and knowledge with the students.” •

Inspiration While she was envisioning the b digital class, Springer said, she was impressed with the digital marketing agency classes at both BYU–Idaho and BYU in Provo because they work with real clients, have budgets of thousands of dollars and create impressive resumes for the students involved.

Graphics by Katie Mower.

Elder and Sister McCarty have been running a program that inspires students to get better jobs following graduation



arly in the morning, before anyone else in the house was awake, Elder Roger McCarty said his mind was flooded with ideas, flow charts and inspiration from the Lord. He started drawing pictures and explanations of the ideas in his brain, marking the moment the On Campus Internships program (OCI) was born, created to foster success for students, he explained. McCarty, who was the director of experiential learning at BYU in Provo when he received this inspiration, said he fasted and prayed for months for a way to give undergraduate students work experience without needing more professors or funding at BYU in Provo. However, when McCarty first presented the program to the dean at BYU in Provo, he said he was told the program wouldn’t be successful. Despite the negative response, McCarty said he followed the Lord’s direction and implemented the program in 2008 with just 25 students per semester. By 2016, he said his class size grew to 1,000, meeting his goal of 2,000 students participating in OCI each year. “This is not my program. This is the Lord’s program. … I know this program came from the hand of the Lord and I am thankful for the part Sister McCarty and I were

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able to play in its development and implementation,” he said.

The OCI program McCarty explained OCI is a program he initially created and implemented at BYU in Provo in 2008 before quickly expanding it to BYU–Idaho and then BYUH a few years later. The program provides students with professional work experience before they graduate to set them apart from other prospective employees. The OCI program was implemented at BYUH a few years before the he and his wife,

Sister Marsha McCarty, were called. Elder McCarty said it was a blessing when they were called to serve at BYUH because he helped give the program a solid foundation to be successful in the future when their mission is over.

Learning from the students Today, the McCartys, who are from Utah, are serving as senior missionaries called to be professors in the Faculty of Religious Education. He said they also oversee the OCI program on campus. Elder McCarty said the students of BYU/h have taught him just as much as he has taught them. He said the most important thing he has learned is the true potential of each student and every person he meets. He said many struggling students have come to him and Sister McCarty when their confidence was diminished and they felt like they are failing, Elder McCarty explained. When this happens, he said he tries to “metaphorically grab a hold of them, lift them up,” and help them understand and try to see their potential. After this, he said, “They rise up.” He said he used to think certain people have more potential than others and he would look for those individuals. However, during his time teaching at BYUH, Elder McCarty said he realized all people have “infinite potential.” Sister McCarty said their goal while serving at BYUH was to “help students leave [BYUH] and have better lives.” Elder McCarty said they achieved this goal by teaching classes and overseeing the OCI program. Keina Ichimi, a senior from Japan majoring in business management-marketing who participated in OCI, said learning from the McCarty’s experience was inspiring. “I really appreciate their sacrifice for students so they can get better jobs. … I hope [even after they are gone] lots of students will take advantage of their sacrifice,” said Ichimi. She added the OCI she completed has improved her future immensely. After her internship, Ichimi had an interview with Amazon in Japan. She said Amazon searches for candidates with leadership attributes and because of her internship, she could provide examples of how she embodied a leader.

Ichimi’s internship involved working with Domo, a company that turns numbers and statistics into meaningful visualization. She said she applied her learning by working for BYUH Career Services, turning alumni files into something they could visualize. She said without her experience from the internship, she would not have secured this job with a strong company after she graduated.

Called to serve, in the Lord’s timing When Elder McCarty retired from his position as a director of experiential learning at BYU in Provo after 10 years, he said he and his wife wanted to serve a mission. Sister McCarty said they had been praying about serving a mission but consistently got the answer “not yet.” However, after general conference, she said they wondered again if they should put in their papers. “We both prayed about it, and we got one of the strongest answers we ever had to a prayer. And it was, ‘It’s not time and don’t ask me again. I’ll tell you when it’s time.’” Six weeks later, she said they got the phone call from the missionaries serving at BYUH over the OCI program. They asked for recommendations of who should serve next because their mission was almost over. Sister McCarty said as soon as she heard that phone call, she knew they were meant to serve a mission there and thought, “That’s our mission. We’re supposed to do that mission.” She said she knew she should recommend her and her husband to serve. The next day at the temple, they both said they received the strongest impression they were meant to serve a mission here. Elder McCarty said, “This is what the Lord wanted us to do. … Coming here, I was able to bring the full power of the program because I knew it inside and out, and I was able to get it going faster than anybody else could.” Sister McCarty said within a week and a half of turning in their papers, they received their call and reported to the mission field 90 days later. Through it all, she said they saw how every little thing from doctor and dentist appointments to travel plans worked out perfectly, and they knew it was God’s doing.

The impact of teaching

impact and change they see in their students. They teach Jesus Christ and the everlasting gospel, designing your life, career transitions and two on-campus internships. He added he and Sister McCarty came to Hawaii because Heavenly Father wants BYUH students to have these programs to bring blessings to their lives because he loves them. “We’ve been given the opportunity to help make that come to pass.” Amanda Penrod, a senior from California majoring in English, said she is currently taking the McCarty’s designing life class. She said being in the course for only a few weeks has helped her reevaluate her life and make changes. “I’ve been able to see how I’m spending my time and what I want to do to create a more balanced and fulfilled life. … They taught me all of this from one lesson! Imagine what they’ll teach me in an entire semester!”

Serving together Elder McCarty said getting the opportunity to serve together for three years “has been a dream” for them because they love being together and teaching together and hope to do so, along with raising families, for eternity. Sister McCarty said it brings her joy to have a strong marriage and be an example to their students at BYUH of what a good marriage looks like. She said she hopes this assures those who are worried that it is possible. She added her and her husband “couldn’t be happier” about what they have done and are “very, very sad to leave.” However, she said they “have a very clear feeling” they are to move on to the next chapter of their lives because they’ve “made the impact [they] needed to.” She added their lives have been touched by students just as they have touched their lives. She continued, “It’s been a wonderful experience.” Elder McCarty said they will “do the next thing the Lord wants us to do.” • For the past three years, Elder Roger McCarty and Sister Marsha McCarty have been serving as teachers in the Faculty of Religious Education and helping oversee the On Campus Internships program, which Elder McCarty created. Photos by Uurtsaikh Nyamdeleg. Graphics by Marlee Palmer.

Elder McCarty said what he and his wife love most about teaching their classes is the MA RCH 2022 13


SENIOR PROJECTS? Whether artistic or analytical, senior projects reflect students’ knowledge and understanding of a subject, say BYUH professors BY LEVI FUAGA


eans and professors from four different BYU–Hawaii programs describe the major projects required for seniors to graduate. From art shows to a 20-page paper, each senior project is specific to their major and allows students to research and explore a topic of their choosing.

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Dean of the Faculty of Arts & Letters Patricia Patrick said seniors in the English Program must present an argument, theme or idea of their choice with scholarly research. She said there are professional or creative options, but it must be 15-20 pages, citing 12-20 academic sources. Examples of creative options include movie scripts, poems and commentaries or prefaces on short stories, she explained. Upon completion, she said, seniors present a condensed version of their final project to faculty members. The presentation should last 20 minutes, leaving 10 minutes for questions from the audience. “A good senior thesis reflects that you spend a good amount of time reflecting on it, thinking about it [and that you were] willing to revise your own thinking and ideas,” Patrick said.


Visual Arts

To complete a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in the Visual Arts Program, seniors must complete a multiple-part project that includes a research paper, 100 sketches, a presentation and a BFA show, said Jihae Kwon, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts & Letters. Media students utilize print, two- and threedimensional art work, as well as motion graphics, packaging design, etc, Kwon explained. Kwon said this year students chose themes such as spiritual self-discovery, the hero’s journey and respect for Hawaiian history. The 100 sketches must relate to their topic, explained Kwon. Students propose their sketches and research on what they hope to create and their intended medium. In the two-week BFA show, students present their work at the McKay Auditorium Lobby. The final project must include graphic design elements, Kwon added, such as typography, composition, logos, etc.

Graphics by Katie Mower.

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Communication, Media and Culture Mason Allred, an assistant professor in the Faculty of Arts & Letters, said for their capstone project, seniors in the Communication, Media and Culture Program must write a 20-page paper on a topic of their choice and analyze any media relevant to their topic. Some examples of past topics include: the use of fear in political discourse, feminism in Disney princess movies and representations of mental illness in films, explained Allred. He added this capstone project is split across two courses. In COMM 360, or Communication Theory and Method, students pick their topic and conduct preliminary research; then, in COMM 490 or Senior Seminar, students implement their own analysis on their topics. Allred said one of the goals is for students to “look at the media in a new way” or “set up a research design to notice or analyze something no one else has thought of.” The capstone project showcases a student’s knowledge, ability to analyze media and apply theory, explained Allred, and it helps them gain a better appreciation for media and culture.

Graphics by Katie Mower.

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Exercise and Sport Science Joel Reece, an associate professor in the Faculty of Sciences, said seniors in the Exercise and Sport Science Program are required to conduct a two-part research project over two semesters. During the first semester, he said, seniors research a topic of their choice and develop a research question related to it. “You have to find studies that have already done stuff in that area, and then see what they’re saying needs to be done next.” Performance enhancement tests, descriptive studies and correlational studies are some of the general topics, Reece shared. During the second semester, students conduct an experiment, he added. He said they must submit an Institutional Review Board (IRB) application that qualifies an individual to conduct their research. The application must explain what the project is and that it is safe for participants.•

After a break during COVID, professor says the empowerment self-defense class is being taught again in Spring BY RAHEL MEYER



ichelle Blimes, an adjunct professor in the Faculty of arts and letters and certified Empowerment Self-Defense (ESD) Instructor, said teaching empowerment self-defense has changed her life and she has developed a deep passion for it. “As a society, in general, we’re better starting to understand assault and what it is. A lot of people for a long time didn’t recognize that things that happened to them were sexual assault. “Most often self-defense doesn’t look like ‘Oh somebody is going to be jumping out of the bushes and attacking you. Most of the time it is somebody you know, a family member or someone you’re dating.” Recognizing red flags, setting boundaries, recognizing that people are not respecting your boundaries, learning verbal skills to protect yourself, and then listening to your intuition and your gut feelings, will be topics that will be taught in class, said Blimes. “Sometimes it’s hard, especially for girls, because you have an uncomfortable feeling, but you don’t know what to say or you’re like, ‘Oh, is this just me being weird as a person?’ How can you stick up for yourself in a safe way?”

A unique program Empowerment Self Defense Training is an evidence-based primary violence prevention

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program, according to the BeEmpoweredESD website. Blimes said the program combines mental and verbal skills with traditional physical self defense techniques developed towards girls, women and other vulnerable populations. On the website it says, “85-90% of assaults are perpetrated by someone known to the target. … Over 60% of assaults are prevented by yelling, running away, or physical resistance. Research shows that women trained in [empowerment] self defense were not only less likely to be raped if attacked, but less likely to be attacked at all.” There is this common phenomenon that women often stay silent because they are afraid to appear rude and hurt somebody else’s feelings, shared Blimes. However, Blimes said, these situations can quickly become more and more uncomfortable and not saying anything can lead to something you don’t want to happen. In those moments, girls often experience a trauma response where they freeze and can’t say anything, said Blimes. “So, in class we spend a lot of time practicing different phrases you can say and getting familiar with saying them. It helps you to remember those phrases and become comfortable saying them out loud.” There are several different phrases, but one of the phrases often used in class belongs to the communication formula where you

acknowledge the behavior, said Blimes. Saying “You have your hand on my leg” and then expressing how that makes you feel by saying “That makes me feel uncomfortable. Take it off,” are simple phrases that can prevent future uncomfortable interactions, explained Blimes. Although self-defense classes and topics of sexually assault are often more connected with women, Blimes said the class is also helpful for male students to gain an understanding of what it’s like to be a female and understand their experience.

Becoming a self-defense instructor Réka Bordás-Simon, an Empowerment Self Defense (ESD) instructor and BYUH alumna from Hungary, said she was always interested in self-defense and attending the class a couple of years ago made her want to become an instructor herself. Bordás-Simon, who also taught classes with Blimes, explained the program is a global program, and after she graduated from BYUH, she flew to New York to be certified as an instructor. “I was so excited. It’s amazing how you see women from different cultures with different ethnicities sharing similar experiences. It’s a powerful feeling to come together and make the world a safer place for women.” Developing self-defense skills turned out to be very practical in her everyday life, shared

Bordás-Simon. “This training gave me so much confidence in all aspects of my life, especially relationships, and I am not afraid to walk around all by myself or confront somebody who makes me feel uncomfortable.”

Speaking Up Bordás-Simon shared it is mostly the simple things that can turn away an attacker. “Speaking up, yelling or saying a loud, ‘No,’ take the attacker by surprise and give you the chance to search for help or run away.” Bordas explained this is one of the things being learned in class. “We encourage the students to use their voices. There are women who feel very uncomfortable raising their voices,” said Bordas, “and practicing it will definitely help women in the real world when they are facing dangerous situations.” Blimes said speaking up about an assault can also help people heal because they know they are not alone and it can be a powerful experience for both people. “That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to tell everyone. But sharing your experience with a close friend or a counselor can really be helpful and a part of the healing process.” • Bordás-Simon explained that sometimes women don’t realize they are in an abusive relationship and that it is important to know that, even if you feel overwhelmed, you have every right to leave the situation. “Predators want easy targets. The ones that won’t speak up. The ones that they know won’t go to the police.You don’t really think like that but to some extent you have power over the attacker by not being intimidated and by voicing your opinion.” Hellen Nuti Taanoa, a sophomore from Australia majoring in social work and communication, media and culture, said she is excited to take Blimes’ class next semester. “I want to learn to defend myself not only physically but also verbally. Learning in a safe environment how to defend myself, and how to prevent assault- it was a no brainer for me to take Professor Blimes’ class.” Although it is a serious topic, Blimes shared that it is a fun class to take. BordásSimon said, “It is such a good environment to be in.You play fun games and also strengthen your confidence at the same time. I’m so glad Michelle is teaching it again this semester.” • Michelle Blimes showcases her equipment, and self defense techniques from her ESD class. Photos taken by Emarie Majors.

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WOMEN IN MARINE BIOLOGY Despite STEM fields being male-dominated, women outnumber men in the Marine Biology program at BYU–Hawaii BY KYLEE DENISON


arine biology specifically is “one of the exceptions [in the STEM field] where there is a very strong female presence… which is awesome, you feel so empowered,” said marine biology major Emmalee Moore, a junior from Seward, Alaska. Moore, along with four other marine biology students, expressed there is a strong female presence within the marine biology program here at BYU–Hawaii. In the marine biology major at BYUH, female students outnumber the men. This is very different from most STEM fields in the United States. According to a 2019 American Community Survey from the U. S. Census Bureau, the STEM field national average consist of 26 percent women and 84 percent men. However, this is not unique just to BYUH. According to the Career Explorer website, 69 percent of marine biologists are women, and 31 percent are men. Moore said she thinks there are more women studying marine biology because for women, there is a “nurturing connection to the environment, especially marine biology. There is definitely a lot of emotion connected to [nature] as well, which I think is a huge strength.” J Ungos, a junior from Melbourne, Florida, majoring in marine biology said, “Women are on a different level of passion towards nature.” She added women are more nurturing and women want to see the environment taken care of. To further explain this, Luckaia Strand, a senior from Cedar City, Utah, majoring in marine biology, said, “I feel like naturally, we have a very nurturing side to us as women, and I think we have a love and care for the planet and animals.” Something Moore has noticed is while there are a lot of women in the marine biology field, sometimes it seems like men have most of the leadership positions in the field. Ungos agreed. While interning at Brevard Zoo, she noticed the curators and directors were all men, despite the keepers being almost half women. “It felt very male-dominated,” she said. However, Ungos explained she has never felt disadvantaged while being a woman attending BYUH. She stated she feels a camaraderie with the other women in the program. Cayden Eliason, a junior majoring in both marine biology and biology education from Howard, South Dakota, said, “It is interesting how society and history have come and told [women] that we’re

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not as smart or capable as men, when really we just haven’t had an opportunity to show that because we’ve been having to stay at home.” She said now women have more educational opportunities. For Eliason, however, while attending BYUH, it has not been a competitive environment but “very collaborative,” she shared. Eliason explained each student has their own specific set of passions they want to pursue and they each are “working together” to help the ocean. For Strand, she said she did feel disadvantaged and overlooked studying science in high school but not while attending school at BYUH. She said here she feels “very empowered.” For Moore, those within the marine biology field have had to deal with “significantly less sexism than in other fields.” Moore said she has had to deal with little sexism within her field, but it is still good for everyone to be aware because sexism still does happen. There are organizations attempting to help with this issue, such as Women in Ocean Sciences, a non-profit whose purpose on its website says, “Supporting women is protecting the ocean - we’re creating an international movement to elevate the female voices working to protect our marine environment.” A Filipina, Ungos is part of an organization called Minorities in Shark Sciences, which “offers a lot of opportunities including scholarships or paid experiences,” she shared. Another one of the powerhouse female students is Anameere Tennaba, a senior from Kiribati studying marine biology. She shared she plans to go back to her country to educate her people about their main resource, the ocean. With fishing being their main source of food, she said she wants to go back and enforce the laws of fishing. Studying here has “opened my mind to see that we as people don’t have to destroy the ecosystem and biodiversity,“ said Tennaba. “We just need to know our limits in taking the fish.” She said she wants to educate people on the species and the overfishing. “They tend to take any size of fish,” she said. Being an IWORK student, she said she is very grateful for the scholarship because her parents could not afford her education. She said she loves the professors she has worked with. Tennaba had the opportunity to intern researching the deep-sea animals in the Pacific, while she was on a boat for six weeks. She never got seasick the entire time because her father was a fisherman, and “instead of taking a bus, you take a boat,” said Tennaba.

Left to right are female biology majors Lauren Christiansen, Anameere Tennaba, Sahara Schroader, Luckaia Strand and J. Ungos. Photos by Marwin Jay Villegas.

Growing up in Kiribati and her background there helped her decide to continue her education at BYUH in marine biology. She shared on her internship she learned the sea can be used for more than food. There are many medicinal benefits the ocean provides. Strand said she has always loved the ocean. Her parents called her a fish because she would spend all day in the water, said Strand. It was at age 7 when she learned what marine biology was and from then on she said she knew that was what she wanted to do. Today she plans to work at a Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, Strand shared. For two summers in high school, she went to visit her aunt in Surf City, North Carolina, and worked at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center, she shared. Strand said that is where her passion for sea turtles started. For Strand, attending here was plan A with no plan B. She said she has enjoyed her experience here and is even the president of the Marine Biology Club. Her name, Luckaia Strand, has a lot of meaning, she shared. According to Strand, her mom wanted to name her Kaia, which means “ocean” and “sent from heaven” in Hawaiian. “I was born pretty prematurely,” said Strand, and the odds were stacked against her. So her parents added “luck” to the first part of her name, hence Luckaia. Her last name even means “beach” in German, said Strand. In conclusion, Strand said, “marine biology girls here are like a power team.” Ungos said she shares a similar passion for manatees as does Strand for sea turtles. Growing up in Melbourne, Ungos said she was close to both a river and the ocean, so she grew up always learning and understanding wildlife, she explained. As she continues in her education, she said she has understood more about the purpose of the ocean and the importance it has to all humans. Ungos plans to go into restoration after graduation. This is personal for her because she said she watched the Indian River Lagoon where she grew up get murkier and murkier. Ungos said she has read articles from 50 years ago explaining how clear the river used to be, and for Ungos it is “a dream of mine to one day see that happen again,”

she said. Ungos believes that as humans, “our responsibility is to set boundaries of where we can go into it, to understand there are limits to what we can do,” she stated. Moore said she is majoring in marine biology because as long as she can remember, she has loved the ocean. She grew up in a coastal town volunteering, working, and loving the Alaska SeaLife Center that conducts research, is an aquarium, and does rescue and rehabilitation, said Moore. She said even as a kindergartener she wanted to work at there. For Moore, this is one of her biggest passions, and she attributes it to being raised near the ocean in Alaska where there is a really strong connection to nature. “It has always captivated me, and I always felt a really strong connection to it and a huge care for it,” said Moore. Moore also does art, and she said the ocean and nature has been a big inspiration for her art. She said those passions feed off each other. While deciding on which school to attend, she said she debated between staying within the Pacific Northwest or Alaska, or she could attend BYUH and learn about a whole new ocean ecosystem she knew nothing about. After graduation Moore plans to go back to the Alaska SeaLife Center, which is holding a position for her. For as long as she can remember, Eliason said she has wanted to study the ocean. Eliason is unsure where it stemmed from because she was living in, “the most landlocked part of the United States,” she said. But her mom grew up in Northern Florida, and they would often go visit family out there and spend time in the ocean, said Eliason. One time they went to the Georgia Aquarium, and it has been her dream to work there ever since, she said. That aquarium is the biggest in the United States, according to the Statista website. For Eliason, she believes women love to study marine biology because they see the trouble humans are causing these helpless animals and they see the connection between human health and the ocean, she said. One of the biggest problems the ocean faces is pollution, explained.• N O V E M B ER 2021 21


Emmy nominated journalist Tannya Joaquin encourages students to take risks and believe in themselves BY NICHOLE WHITELEY 2 2 KE AL A K A‘I 2021

Tannya Joaquin speaks to student audience in the HGB.


tudents crowded into a room in the Heber J. Grant Building to hear television journalist Tannya Joaquin speak as part of a weekly lecture series. When she walked in, Joaquin said, the students gave her hope. “I see in you the hope, and I see where I was 30 years ago.” Joaquin, an Emmy nominated journalist from Los Angeles, California, now living in Honolulu, visited BYU–Hawaii on Jan. 13 and shared how success is found by aligning passion and purpose. Answering a student’s question about how to get around closed doors and missed opportunities, Joaquin emphasized the importance of having a thick skin and staying persistent. “If you have the heart and commitment, I guarantee that’s going to break down doors.” Joaquin told the story of an Oahu native and aspiring chef who wanted to be mentored by and work with Thomas Keller at his restaurant, The French Laundry.

The aspiring chef sent a letter and toothbrush to Keller saying he was willing to scrub Keller’s toilets just to work around and learn from him, shared Joaquin. The aspiring chef got the job and mentorship from Chef Keller, said Joaquin, and has become one of the most sought-after chefs in the industry. This story sets the example of the level of commitment all students need, said Joaquin. “The thing I hope [BYUH students] take away [from my story] is believing in yourself. “Whatever the passion and purpose are for you, stick to it. … What is your toothbrush?”

Choices and risks

Throughout her career, Joaquin said, she received every promotion and always stayed top-rated because she had faith in herself and her abilities. Although she was successful, her job was demanding and allowed little to no time off, Joaquin shared. She said she has had

to make many hard choices regarding what she was willing to compromise throughout her career. Prioritizing “sunshine, lifestyle, family and acceptance” was what Joaquin said brought her to Hawaii and to her current job as co-host for “Living808,” Hawaii’s first lifestyle TV show on KHON2. Madi Halliday, a freshman from Utah majoring in communications, said it was inspiring to hear how Joaquin made the choice to move across the country because she felt it was where she needed to be. She said after hearing her story and knowing she had that same potential, “taking risks seems a little bit less intimidating. … My biggest takeaway is having the confidence in yourself to get where you want to go with your goals.”

Proving them wrong

To the BYUH students who attended her lecture, Joaquin said, “If someone tells you MA RCH 2022 23

Tannya Joaquin speaks to a student after the lecture.

that you can’t get there, prove them wrong.” When applying to UCLA, Joaquin shared, she was told not to apply because she would not be accepted. To that, Joaquin said, “How do I know until I try?” After graduating from UCLA in political science, Joaquin said, she learned to have faith in herself and realized there are multiple ways to succeed. This was a lesson she turned back to frequently throughout her career, she shared. She said after UCLA, during her internships, a news director asked her, “Are you sure TV is for you? … It is really cutthroat, and you are a really nice girl.” Joaquin said she answered with a firm, “Yes,” and refused to let his words affect her.

Inspiring others

In Joaquin’s introduction, Lindsay Hadley, adjunct professor for the Faculty of Business &

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Government and lecture series coordinator, said Joaquin was a producer and news anchor in California. Hadley said Joaquin was also a news anchor in Ohio before settling in Hawaii in 2002 and joining KHON as an anchor for morning news. Hadley said she chose Joaquin to speak because she considers her a “powerhouse” who has many accomplishments. However, Hadley explained, she wanted more than Joaquin’s success to inspire the students. She said she brought Joaquin to BYUH because of her heart and desire to “give back and make a difference in the world.” Joaquin said God had placed people and opportunities in her life who have helped her to where she is today. She said most important choice to make is “being there and being true

to what you know you can do and what you want to do.” “I know my passion and purpose, and I know that people have been brought into my life for a reason.” She said Hadley was one of these people because if not for Hadley, she would not have had the opportunity to speak to the students at BYUH. “I couldn’t believe the different skill sets, enthusiasm and energy throughout the crowd.”•

Photos by Marwin Jay Villegas. Graphics by Marlee Palmer.



BYUH students’ marvel at the latest superhero flick “Spider-Man: No Way Home” BY LEVI FUAGA Disclaimer: This article contains spoilers from the film


he nostalgia of bringing back actors from earlier Spider-Man movies is one of the reasons BYU–Hawaii students said the latest movie in the series is a success. “I think it’s anyone’s childhood dream come true to see people they grow up with, role models or superheroes reunite together,” said Ian Carroll, a freshman from Waianae, Hawaii, who is majoring in psychology. In the fourth week of its release, Marvel’s “Spider-Man: No Way Home” surpassed the “Titanic” and became the sixth highest-grossing film of all time, with a revenue of $668.7 million, according to Jamie Lovett on the Comic Book website. With all the rumors circulating about the film, Adon Eccles, a sophomore from Live Oak, California, majoring in business management, shared the film lived up to the hype people expected. “That’s what everyone wanted. Everyone wanted a movie like that. And they’ve delivered it in a really good way.”

Familiar faces Amidst the fanfare, says Andi Ortiz on The Wrap website, certain fan theories were manifested, such as the return of former Spider-Man actors Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. In “No Way Home,” Ortiz shares, Dr.

Strange enacts a spell that pulls in characters from previous Spider-Man films, including both Maguire’s and Garfield’s versions of the spider-hero. Carroll said it was nostalgic watching three of them [Maguire, Garfield and Holland] together and how old they are now. Belle Pulido, a freshman from San Diego, California, whose major is undecided, said the film united the different generations of Spider-Man and families and communities who grew up watching the different Spider-Man franchises. She said she grew up watching the earlier Spider-Man movies but didn’t consider Spider-Man one of her favorite heroes until she watched “No Way Home.” “Watching them [Maguire, Garfield and Holland, ] all together helped me to appreciate their differences and brought back the nostalgia that I didn’t realize I had,” she said. She added that Maguire’s and Garfield’s entrance generated a “roar of verbal excitement from the crowd.” Eccles said he enjoyed watching the three generations of Spider-Man and his classic villains all in one movie. “I had seen all of those characters before, but [I got] to see them again and also see them leveled up in a way where it’s like you’re going to see something new from them.”

Having watched Maguire’s and Garfield’s films, the movie celebrated the character of Spider-Man, said Kaleb Montgomery, an undeclared sophomore from Mesa, Arizona. “It shows how important of a character he is to people.” He said seeing the same actors reprise their roles is exciting for those who’ve grown up watching the Spider-Man films.

With great power… Beth Spackman, a sophomore from Eagle, Idaho, majoring in intercultural peacebuilding, said Holland succeeds in portraying every emotion out of Peter Parker/Spider-Man. “Tom can be comedic, lighthearted, goofy and romantic, but he can also portray being brokenhearted.” His portrayal, she shared, allows people to sympathize and understand his character. Holland’s Spider-Man was very selfless, said Macey Cobabe, a sophomore from Sacramento, California, majoring in painting. She shared how he resolved the issue at the end of the film by getting rid of his fame, which Cobabe said reminded her of Christ giving all the glory to Heavenly Father. The film puts Peter Parker on the same path as in the comics, said Montgomery. “A lot of people don’t like this version of Spider-Man MA RCH 2022 25






Above: Scenes from the latest Spider-Man movie: No Way Home. Graphics by: Marlee Palmer

because he’s always using Iron Man’s technology. … Spider-Man in the comics is usually on his own and has to only rely on himself to solve all of his problems. So, I think fans of the comics will be excited for his future movies because he no longer has Iron Man’s technology to help him.” For Carroll, the death of Aunt May was the saddest point of the film, but he admired her motherly role that influenced Holland’s development of the Peter Parker character. “She was gone, but she would always be with him no matter what. She knew that what she instilled in him would always live with him.” In this scene, Aunt May’s dying advice was a version of the famous line, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” However, as Nicolas Ayala from Screen Rant points out in an online article, “No Way Home” employs the exact line as found in the captions of the final panel in “Amazing Fantasy #15,” a 1962 comic book: “With great power, there must come great responsibility.” Ayala writes, “It makes sense that ‘No Way Home’ brought back the original line, as the movie serves as a bookend to nearly 20 years of live-action adventures for the web-slinger.” Cobabe said she also adored the relationship between Holland’s Spider-Man and Aunt May. “Even though she didn’t have powers, she was still first to support him, … and Peter wanted to make her proud.” It was heart-wrenching when Aunt May died, she commented, as she and Peter shared a strong relationship with each other. “His 2 6 KE AL A K A‘I 2021

love for her was very strong, and it made me feel like I wanted to be there and help. It was very special.” Eccles shared his admiration for Maguire’s and Garfield’s characters mentoring and comforting Holland’s Parker, who lost all of his family up to a certain point in the film. “They obviously have lived a lot more of life, and they are and were Spider-Man too.” In one scene, he shared, Maguire’s Spider-Man stops Holland from killing the Green Goblin. Having experienced the death of his uncle and wanting revenge, Maguire’s Spider-Man helps Holland realize that killing the Green Goblin wouldn’t be worth it, said Eccles.

Humanizing the villains Diana Velasquez, culture editor of The Pitt News, explains in an online article that when the multiverse opened, villains from past Spider-Man films entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) in search of Peter Parker. These villains include Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus (Doc Ock), Willem Dafoe’s Green Goblin and Thomas Haden Church’s Sandman from Maguire’s films. In addition, Jamie Foxx’s Electro and Rhys Ifans as the Lizard from Garfield’s films. Montgomery shared his admiration for the Green Goblin portrayed by Willem Dafoe. “You could just tell he gave it his all, like he was right back into the character from the original movie.” He said Dafoe’s

role is more menacing towards Holland’s Peter Parker who has no idea who the Green Goblin is. Dafoe portrayed the Green Goblin/ Dr. Norman Osborn in Sam Raimi’s 2002 Spider-Man film, featuring Maguire, in “what is arguably one of the most iconic villains” in the world of Spider-Man bad guys, says Preeti Chhibber of Polygon. Carroll said that the film managed to portray a more humane side to the villains. He shared examples such as the Green Goblin being psychologically troubled and the Sandman who just wanted to return to his family. In the 2002 Maguire Spider-Man, Dafoe’s character was a scientist who tested a human performance serum on himself that alters his personality becoming the Green Goblin. “At first, Norman doesn’t seem to be aware of the things he’s doing as the Goblin, but once he does, … he leans all the way in,” says Chhibber in the Polygon article. In “Spider-Man 3” the Sandman, or Flint Marko, was an escaped criminal trying to find money to save his sickly daughter.While evading the police, he fell into a particle accelerator that fused his body with sand and he became the Sandman, explains Chhibber. Like Carroll, Cobabe said the film sheds light on the villains’ backstories and why they became the way they are. “It was interesting how you don’t know what people want from their looks.You have to get to know their heart.”

PETER PARKER PETER PARKER PETER PARKER Pulido shared she enjoyed the concept of the villains being redeemed and given a second chance. “Villains can be saved. Sometimes as seen with many of the characters in the movie, they needed someone else to assist them in fixing their mistakes, otherwise they’d be stuck forever or even die.” Unlike most superhero movies, “No Way Home” focuses on Holland’s character helping the villains turn from their evil ways, Nicholas Brooks of CBR News shares. Each of the villains sought for direction or purpose in their lives, says Brooks. “As a result, they often learned how cruel fate could be by turning into beings who were as unstable as they were powerful,” he adds. He uses the example of Doc Ock, who was corrupted by his own invention that he intended to help humanity.

Redemption for Andrew Garfield Despite not being well-received for his movies, Garfield’s Spider-Man finds redemption in this film through saving Zendaya’s MJ character, said Eccles. At the end of Marc Webb’s 2014 film, “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Garfield’s Spider-Man juggles battling a supervillain and saving his girlfriend, Gwen Stacy, played by Emma Stone. He shoots a web to save her as she falls but is too late as her back hits the concrete. In “No Way Home,” Garfield’s Spider-Man shares his grief and rage from failing to save his girlfriend, Eccles explained. Later, Garfield’s Spider-Man saves Holland’s girlfriend, played by Zendaya, in a very similar situation. “You finally got to see the best version of him [Garfield’s Spider-Man],” said Eccles. Pulido added Garfield’s Spider-Man saving Zendaya’s MJ from falling was a redemptive act

for the character. “It felt like everything was tied up and complete.” An HT Entertainment article says Garfield explained this particular scene is what brought him back to star as Spider-Man. “The actor said he wanted to do the film only if his part had something meaningful to do, which this scene brought on.” Garfield shared that his character got to save Holland’s romantic relationship, the HT Entertainment article says, which healed the trauma from the character’s failure in his previous Spider-Man film. “I am so grateful I got to tie up some loose ends for the Peter I was playing,” HT Entertainment quotes Garfield as saying.

Delivering on the hype Montgomery said watching the film was a “wild ride.” He continued, “I was happy, and it’s just like really satisfying. I’m excited for the future of Spider-Man.” For Spackman, the movie balanced action with humor, which she said made it enjoyable to watch. “Sometimes if there’s too much action, I kind of zone out.” She said seeing three generations of Spider-Man and the multiverse made it enjoyable and simple to understand. “I’ve had a hard time wrapping my head around the Avengers, and everyone being in the same movie, and there’s just so many plots going on.” Pulido added, “It got me emotional to the point where I felt like the biggest advocate for the film.” She said her favorite character was Ned’s mother Lola, who reminded her of her own Filipino family. “Her [Lola’s] response was something I could see any of my aunties say and her expression of it. I think facial expressions or body language can be culturally

derived to an extent. I appreciated that it was pretty accurate or relatable.”

The future of Marvel Spackman described the film as quite the “rollercoaster of emotions.” Although Holland’s Spider-Man was able to solve the conflict, she said, his family and friends no longer know who he is. Spackman expressed wondering what will happen to Holland’s Spider-Man in future films. She shared that the post-credit scene was exciting in knowing that Doctor Strange is returning for a sequel film. According to HT Entertainment, the end scene acts as a trailer for “Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness,” coming in May 2022. In this post-credit scene, says HT Entertainment, Doctor Strange confronts Wanda from “WandaVision,” also known as the Scarlet Witch, and consults about the multiverse. Another post-credit scene depicts Venom, played by Tom Hardy, leaving behind a piece of the symbiote, hinting his possible presence in the MCU, HT Entertainment adds. Velasquez from The Pitt News says this film marks a “tentative end” for Holland’s run as Peter Parker. Despite MCU’s plan to include him in future roles, Velasquez explains, Holland expressed he’d be willing to step away from the role as his trilogy is now complete. No matter what happens to him, Velasquez concludes, “He’ll always be our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.” •

Top left: Spider-Man showing off his new suit. Graphics by Marlee Palmer.

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“Whatever principle of intelligence we attain unto in this life, it will rise with us in the resurrection.” - Doctrine and Covenants 130:18

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tropical jungle salad Something fresh, healthy and delicious with an island twist

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Lettuce Cucumbers Carrot Avocado Mango Grape tomatoes Papaya dressing Sesame seeds

Start with a base of lettuce and cucumbers. Add chopped carrots, sliced avocado, chopped mango and sliced tomatoes. Sprinkle with papaya dressing and sesame seeds. •

Photo by Emarie Majors.

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FAMILIA UNIDA JAMAS SERA VENCIDA After their father was murdered during his trip to get a Christmas tree for their family, Nandy and Raisa Caceres say tender mercies got them through BY KYLEE DENISON

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Jorge Antonio Gordillo Morales (Right), who was kidnapped and murdered 15 days before Christmas, and Angelica Maria Caceres Sosa de Gordillo (Left). Photo by Emarie Majors. N O V E M B ER 2021 33

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t was Christmas time when sisters Nandy Gordillo Caceres and Raisa Gordillo Caceres awaited their father, Jorge Antonio Gordillo Morales, to return home with a freshly cut Christmas tree. They were 4 and 3 years old at the time, said Nandy Caceres, a freshman from Guatemala majoring in TESOL and exercise and sports science. “I never saw him again,” she said. Her last memory of her father was asking him if she could go get the tree with him, to which he responded, “No.” She said her father was on his way to cut down a Christmas tree for the family when he was kidnapped and murdered. This all happened 15 days before Christmas and five days before their brother, Hafid’s, birthday, Nandy Caceres added. Her father was 28 years old at the time.

A family that stays together Nandy Caceres said, “My father used to always say, ‘Familia unida jamas sera vencida,’ which translates to, ‘a family that stays together will never be defeated.’” “The year my father was killed was the year we were supposed to get sealed in the temple.” She said she remembers being in the temple and her mother told her their father was there with them. Since being sealed to her family, Nandy Caceres said, she knows families can be eternal. “That is my favorite part of the gospel.”

The Christmas tender mercy Raisa Caceres, a freshman from Guatemala majoring in hospitality and tourism management, said she doesn’t have many memories of her dad, but she does know him through photos. Nandy Caceres said after the murder, their mother, Angelica Maria Caceres Sosa de Gordillo, took the family and fled to her brother’s house in another part of Guatemala. Raisa Caceres said they were then advised to go to the United States, so they went to Rhode Island first, then California to seek refugee status. Their mother did this to protect her family, she added. She said when they went to California, the apartment they moved into was completely prepared for them to move in by donations from the local ward. Nandy Caceres said during their time in California, she and her sister were 9 and 8 years old. Their family struggled, they were in a new country with no family, she explained. At Christmastime, they expected a small Christmas, said Nandy Caceres. This was difficult because in Guatemalan culture, Christmas is a huge celebration with family, making it difficult for them to be alone in California without their father. Raisa Caceres said to their surprise, they came home

to a lot of food, including two turkeys, many presents, the first gingerbread house they had ever seen and a beautiful, decorated, natural Christmas tree “touching the ceiling,” all given to them by Church members. Of the experience, Nandy Caceres said, “God takes care of his widows.” For their family, it was a tender mercy because their father used to always bring home real Christmas trees, not the fake ones. Raisa Caceres said, “I really wanted to open those presents, but my mom asked everyone to kneel and say a prayer to thank God for everything.” Nandy Caceres said although their mother often says she did not give her kids a lot of material things, she did give them the most precious thing, which is the gospel. Raisa Caceres agreed, “The gospel is the best thing she gave [our family].” She continued, “My mom’s example of faith was always there.” She said their mom made sure their family read in the Book of Mormon in the mornings and the Bible in the afternoons. After about a year in the United States, she said, their mom decided to move back to Guatemala. “My mom’s main priority was protecting our family.”

A double acceptance to BYUH Nandy Caceres said she and her sister are very grateful to now be studying at BYU–Hawaii, and they owe this blessing to their mother paying tithing while they were growing up. “When she had to decide to buy food for us or pay her tithing, she would pay her tithing. We would then see angel people bringing food to us,” she said. Raisa Caceres said because BYUH’s IWORK program focuses on helping the Pacific Island and Asia populations, there are limited spots available for students outside that geographic area. When applying, Raisa Caceres said, she and her sister prayed the other sister would get the spot, but then both of them were accepted. Nandy Caceres said, “It has been a healing process and a huge blessing knowing God cares. He is taking care of [my family] like a father takes care of his children.” She emphasized she believes she and her sister “are here to help him [God] build his kingdom because he has given so much to [them].” • Nandy Gordillo Caceres and Raisa Gordillo Caceres with photos representing memories with their late father, Jorge Antonio Gordillo Morales. Photo by Emarie Majors.

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A beginner’s guide to respecting Laie and bridging the gap between the community and school BY KYLEE DENISON

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aie local and senior manager in the Student Leadership & Service Department, Terry Moea’i said he and his brother, Kerry Moea’i, have a vision to bridge the gap between BYU–Hawaii and the community. Terry Moea’i said because he and his brother were raised in Laie, they have relationships “on both sides of the wall”–with both students and community members–and would like that to be the case for more people. Those walls, Kerry Moea’i explained, are the ones in front of the school. He said the community is divided. “Everybody knows where Temple View Apartments are. Everyone knows where faculty housing is. When [people] drive up Moana Street, there is ‘Haole Mo Street,’ then there is ‘Mo Street.’ All the professors live on ‘Haole Mo Street.’”

A beginner’s guide to respecting Laie President of the Hawaiian Club Kamaua Yamamoto, a senior studying marketing from North Kohala, Big Island, said students need to find the balance of making the local communities their home while also realizing they are guests. “No matter if [people] stay here for a week or a semester, there is an impact [they] will leave. Even if [they] think [they] are just doing [their] own thing, it is going to affect someone who lives here,” explained Yamamoto. Yamamoto said the best way for students to respect this community is by living the honor code and getting to know the people within this community. Kerry Moea’i added it is important to recognize there are cultural barriers everywhere, which is why it’s important to be educated about them. Because of this, he said he makes a special effort to address the divide between BYUH and the community in the social work department. He said his mission is a phrase in Hawaiian, “E kulia i ka nu’u,” which translates to “strive to reach the highest summit.” Terry Moea’i clarified the summit is a place where “the needs of both the students and the community” are honored. He said one example of this gap was the party on Laie Point in September 2021 that violated COVID-19 guidelines and the honor code. Terry Moea’i said the gap can be bridged

by creating a “space where dialogue can happen, where I can say to the students in a loving and Christlike way that what [they] are doing is hurting [the community]. There could be this opportunity where truth, mercy, justice and peace can happen. I believe we can collaborate in so many ways.” However, he said, conflict between BYUH students and the community is still happening and has been happening for a long time. For Native Hawaiians, there has been a “constant and repetitious state of taking” due to historical conflicts between the Native Hawaiian people and newcomers, including American settlers and the Church, he explained. Terry Moea’i added this mindset “is really a roadblock and an obstacle” keeping the community and BYUH students from having the unity they need to have. He said an intersection between the two groups must happen to keep the conflict narrative from controlling the relationship. Kerry Moea’i, who is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Education & Social Work, said people should not wonder whether or not this healing can happen, they should simply be determined to make it happen.

Gratitude is the key Emarie Majors, a junior from Hamilton, Montana, majoring in art and political science, said, “I feel very welcomed and respected by the Laie community within the little interactions I have had with them.” She offered her thoughts on how to bridge the gap. Majors encouraged students to get to know the locals, and the locals can also get to know the students. “An openness from both sides needs to be exercised,” she shared. Majors said the Laie community has been much more welcoming than the university she attended previously. She shared an experience when a friendly man she didn’t know waved and smiled at her. “ That really struck me,” she said. “I found myself saying, ‘Hi,’ to more strangers that day just because that guy was so friendly to me.” Majors said students need to be cautious not to “get so caught up in what [they] are doing” they don’t recognize the hospitality and kindness of the locals. It is more the student’s responsibil-

ity, Majors said, to express gratitude for living in the local communities, especially because “in general, with any student population anywhere, [they] are often consuming and not really putting back into the community. [They] are taking more than [they] are giving back.”

Respectful ‘Do’s’ and ‘Don’ts’ The Hawaiian Club presidency got together and spelled out basic guidelines for anyone who is unsure or wants to understand how to respect Laie and surrounding communities, Yamamoto said. The guidelines included a list of dos and don’ts and came down to three words, “malama,” “kuleana” and “aloha.” According to the wehewehe website’s Hawaiian dictionary, malama means “to take care of,” kuleana means “to be responsible” and aloha means more than a greeting, it is “respect,” “love,” “compassion” and “family.” The following list created by the Hawaiian Club presidency outlines key ways for students to better respect the community:

Malama Pick up after yourself Treat this like it is your home Don’t walk barefoot Don’t bring dirt inside Respect the land, do not litter

Kuleana Learn about Hawaiian culture and history, from the right sources Know our limits and nature safety Don’t turn your back to the waves, when in doubt, don’t go out Wear honor code Don’t walk in the middle of the road Don’t speed through Laie Don’t blast music, especially late at night Don’t make this your vacation

Aloha Make local friends Say hi to people, shaka back! Treat this like your home, you are a guest Listen to our kapuna (ancestors) Have a sense of humor Don’t think you know everything

Graphics by Emily Hendrickson.

MA RCH 2022 37

Two local brothers, Terry and Kerry Moea’i stand with students, xxxxxxxxxxxxxx on the streets of Laie. photo caption 3 8 KE ALhere. A K A‘I 2021 goes

MA RCH 2022 39

KYLA GREENING Former student from New Zealand debuted her first single that reflects her passion and appreciation for family

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he song “Rich Girl” is a “shout out to all the people I love—my friends and family—who make my life rich,” said Kyla Greening, a singer from Hamilton, New Zealand, and former BYU–Hawaii student. She said the song is meant to remind people that what they’re looking for has been there for them all along. “I think it can speak to a lot of our whanau [family] who come from humble beginnings and still live humble lives and do the best to make the most of what [they] have.”

‘Rich Girl’ reflects what matters most According to several family and friends in the Laie community, Greening’s song acts as a reflection of who she is and her humble perspective on life. Nancy Tarawhiti, an associate professor in the Faculty of Education & Social Work who has known Greening since she was born, said the song is genuine and authentic and blended with R&B flavor. Tarawhiti said the first line of the song, which is, “We drive the same van we’ve had since I was 9 years old,” reflects Greening’s reality. The beat, rhythm and Greening’s voice empowers the message she is delivering, said Tarawhiti. Greening’s cousin, Chesser Cowan, a 2021 BYUH graduate from Hamilton, New Zealand, said “Rich Girl” shows who Greening is and where she comes from. Knowing of their simple circumstances, he said, it felt “wealthy” to be with his family. “When you have family and friends, materialistic things don’t really matter. It’s just the richness of the relationships.”

Learning new sounds In 2014, Greening attended BYUH and studied vocal performance, where she learned a more academic side of singing, she said.

Although she mostly liked soul and jazz, Greening said, she enjoyed learning a more classical-singing style at BYUH. This included operatic and theatrical-styled music, she said. “I like to think that it helped unleash my inner Disney princess.” Milton Randell Kaka, a Polynesian Cultural Center musician from Hauula, said Greening was friends with his niece and had jam sessions at his house when she was at BYUH. Eventually he learned Greening was working in the Aotearoa Village and asked her to perform for the Night Show. “In the village, you really get a scream out of your voice. … Her voice was getting wasted.” He said Greening gladly accepted the invitation to work as a musician for the Night Show. Knowing she could sing Maori music well, Kaka said he asked Greening if she could sing a song in Samoan for a short film he was producing. “She’s willing to try anything even though it’s out of her comfort zone, especially when it comes to another language.”

A voice for Maori women Kaka said Greening participated in three of his virtual choirs and was one of the leads when singing Maori songs. “She’s such a reliable person. She knows what I want when it comes to whatever song that I’ve written.” Although Greening didn’t graduate from BYUH, Tarawhiti shared, she believes Greening is where she needs to be as she begins her career. Greening said she completed her degree in New Zealand and graduated from Waikato Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s of media arts, commercial music. Tarawhiti said Greening’s passion for singing and her success as a musician is “raising the profile for Maori women and young Maori girls.”

The expression of song Growing up in a musically inclined family, Greening said she always enjoyed singing. “Whether it was with family or friends, at church, school, at home or with family–I loved the sense of togetherness music creates.” Cowan said Greening would sing at family gatherings, baptisms and other family occasions. He shared a memory of attending a YSA dance and seeing her, her father and their band performing on stage. “It’s just evident to me that singing was always a part of her life.” Greening said she tends to be shy and reserved, but singing allows her to be in touch with her emotions. “When you sing you can pretend you are sad, mad, in love, unsure, sassy. I like being able to use singing as a way of telling a story.” She said singing allows her to offer praise and gratitude to Heavenly Father. She expressed her adoration for the hymn “Lord, I Would Follow Thee,” specifically the line, “I would be my brother’s keeper, I would learn the healer’s art.” “[This line] encourages me to serve others using my music and to sing messages that might bring hope or comfort to others,” she shared. She said the verse has become her mantra and inspired her to become a part-time massage therapist.• Album cover and photo provided by Kyla Greening. Graphics by Katie Mower.

MA RCH 2022 41


What happened to the


scholarship? Scholarship changes to be put into place Fall 2022 Semester



ccording to BYU–Hawaii President John S.K. Kauwe, the recent scholarship changes have already had a positive impact by increasing the number of work-study opportunities. Students seeking financial assistance can look forward to the

Dean’s List scholarship, apply to other existing scholarships and programs, or speak to Dean of Students James Faustino for further help. BYUH Advancement Vice President Laura Tevaga gave insights into why the merit scholarship was discontinued and other existing opportunities available for fiancial aid through the university.

Why was the merit scholarship discontinued? Tevaga said, “The main goal was to use financial aid resources to support students who have financial need. “The main mechanism for needs-based support is through the international and domestic work-study programs.”

Does the school not have enough money for the scholarships? Tevaga said, “There has been no reduction in the overall funds available. Merit scholarships in individual departments [example: Eric B. Shumway scholarship for the English program] remain unchanged in total amounts and in award amounts.” 4 2 KE AL A K A‘I 2021

Positive impact on work-study programs Jerius Gutierrez, a junior from the Philippines majoring in TESOL and anthropology, said his biggest concern was how the money would be used if not for the merit scholarship. But he said, “If they’re doing it for the right purpose: to fulfill the university’s mission and vision. … I will support it 100 percent. I always support President Kauwe. … I trust him with everything he says and does in this university.” President Kauwe said the change will help shorten the wait time for students who want to participate in work-study programs. “We are already seeing the impact of this change-this spring we will have more work-study students than we have ever had, over 1,000 students. “In the past, students with financial need have waited several semesters for work-study funding to be available for them to start school. This spring, no one is waiting extra semesters for availability of work-study funding. They will be able to start right away.”

Dean's List Scholarship to replace Merit Scholarship The BYU–Hawaii News website states, “The Dean’s List Scholarship will replace the University Merit Scholarship.

“Each semester, any student who achieves a cumulative GPA of 3.75 or higher will be placed on the dean’s list and considered for a $500 scholarship for the subsequent semester.”

Extension of David O. Mckay Scholarship The David O. Mckay Scholarship, which includes “half or full-tuition” will now be offered for one full year rather than one semester, according to a BYU–Hawaii news article. The Ho‘okele Admission page says to qualify for the David O. Mckay Scholarship, or David O. Mckay Recruitment Award, students must be: • “An admitted new freshman or first-time transfer student seeking an undergraduate degree” • “Enroll[ed] and complete[ed] at least 14 credit hours in each semester” According to the site, “Former BYUH students and IWORK students are not eligible” for this scholarship.Check out the Ho‘okele David O. McKay Recruitment Award page for more information.

Pacific Area Scholars (PAS) Program to include travel stipend The Ho‘okele Financial Aid & Scholarships page says the Pacific Area Scholarship (PAS) Program is “the most coveted and prestigious

scholarship at BYU–Hawaii. Being admitted to this program is a oncein-a-lifetime opportunity as only a few candidates are selected.” This scholarship covers tuition, room & board, books and now a travel stipend for all four years, according to the Ho‘okele page and a BYU–Hawaii news page announcement. Those who are currently eligible to receive this scholarship, states the Ho‘okele page, are “only students from church schools in the Pacific area” and must be in the “top 5-10% of students from their respective church school.” For more information on the PAS program, see the Ho‘okele PAS page.

Minimal Changes to IWORK The BYU–Hawaii News announcement page states, “There are no changes in requirements or eligibility for the IWORK program for the upcoming Fall 2022 Semester,” but the university l is expecting to increase the number of IWORK students by 250 come Fall 2022.

Hukilau Domestic Work/Study program This work/study program is currently being offered to candidates of various backgrounds and talents, according to the Financial Aid & Scholarship website. N O V E M B ER 2021 43


The work/study program covers: • All university tuition • Class fees (only those pertaining to the student’s major) • Student Medical Benefit • Room and board in excess of the student’s semester contribution

To qualify for this program, the Hukilau Domestic Work/Study website says candidates must complete the following: • “A applicationtion” • “FAFSA” • “An application for the Hukilau Work/Study Scholarship Program”

Student's thoughts & reactions to the changes Gutierrez said he thinks taking away the merit scholarship will result in students focusing more on learning and less on getting a good grade to qualify for the scholarship. He said he knows students who take easy classes that don’t challenge them because they need the letter grade in order to qualify for the merit scholarship. John Zenger, a junior from Idaho majoring in music and intercultural peacebuilding, said he was “sad and a little confused” when he first learned about the changes to the merit scholarship. However, he said, “after thinking about it a while,” he understood and supported the decision. Although he said he wishes the school had kept the scholarship for those who were under the impression they could receive it upon acceptance to the university. “I want people to know this isn’t about them. If you work hard, in most cases, you can pay for school. [BYUH] is still incredibly cheap with no scholarships. 4 4 KE AL A K A‘I 2021

“You are not lucky to be here.You are blessed to be here. Honor the institution and the culture.” Fahina Lauti, from California and a junior political science major, said she was initially “shocked” and “confused” when hearing about the merit scholarship changes because she was worried about herself and others who rely on the scholarship to attend the school. Lauti, who is Tongan American, said BYUH is “the perfect place to connect with [her] cultural roots,” but without the assistance of the merit scholarship, it will be much more difficult for herself and others to attend the university who also come from the mainland and are of Pacific Island descent. Douglas Madruga, a senior from Brazil majoring in business, also said he feels the scholarship changes should have only been implemented for new incoming students. He said he understands how hard it must be for the university to give scholarships to everyone and to represent everyone. However, he said since the targeted areas already have the IWORK program, he feels the university did not think about other international students when making these changes. He said he feels forgotten about. In response to students feeling forgotten about and underrepresented by these changes, Tevaga said, “These students should follow the instructions in the announcement and apply to IWORK if they have financial need. “Current international students will be considered based on financial need regardless of the country of origin of their application.” Despite Tevaga’s direction, Madruga said he was concerned about his eligibility for any of the scholarships. He said he sat down with employees at the Financial Aid office, and they told him he could apply for all of the scholarships, but it was unlikely he would get any of them.

Without as much access to scholarships, international students can not afford to live here with only a $10 an hour job, 19 hours a week, said Madruga. He said students from the mainland can get higher paying jobs and work longer hours off campus, but students from other countries are at a disadvantage only being able to work on campus or at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Tevaga said if students face financial need, come Fall 2022, they “will be asked to apply for the IWORK or the Hukilau Program. If a student is not selected for a work-study program, they may appeal to the dean of students for consideration of other means of financial aid.” • For more information on the recent changes to the scholarships visit:


Student paying for college tuition and filling out checks. Photos by Sugermaa Bataa. Graphics by Marlee Palmer.

photo caption goes here.

"If they're doing it for the right purpose: to fufill the university's mission and vision ... I will support it 100 percent." -Jerius Gutierrez

N O V E M B ER 2021 45

e h t

4 6 KE AL A K A‘I 2021

BYUH alumna says if she gets caught under a wave while surfing, she combats fear by remembering if she stays calm, she will find the surface again BY KYLEE DENISON If you are learning how to surf, here are some tips from Janna Irons in an Outside Magazine online article titled, “A Beginner’s Guide to Surfing”

Her remedy is, “be more present and more mindful and more faith-filled. It helps to say a prayer,” she explained. “Meditating, taking deep breaths and grounding yourself can help alleviate fears.”

Step One: Find a beginner spot

‘Know that it is okay to be afraid’

Step-by-step guide

The first thing Irons suggests is to go to beginner spots, and before paddling out, make sure to watch the surf for at least 30 minutes to learn how the waves break. Castles Beach in Laie and Pua’ena Point in Haleiwa are good beginner spots close to campus and on the North Shore. Step Two: Know the right of wave

It is also important to understand the rules and be respectful, says Irons. Surf etiquette is important to understand, which includes only one person per wave. The surfer closest to the break gets the right of way (or “ride of wave”), and paddle out away from the break, says Irons. Step Three: Find a foam board and get out there!

Amanda Penrod, a senior from Oceanside, California, majoring in English, suggested borrowing a soft top/foam board if you’re a new surfer. “If you don’t have any friends to go with you, one option is taking a lesson, but the other option is just doing it and watching other people surf,” she said. BYUH alumna Katie Mower from Boise, Idaho, agreed. When she first learned to surf, her sister-in-law gave her instruction once, then every time she went out with her brother, he would leave her to figure it out herself, said Mower.

Overcoming fear Getting past the fear of surfing “just came from watching people and trial and error,” said Mower. Penrod said even though she loves surfing there is still fear involved sometimes.

Mower said her family friend often says, “At the end of the day, it’s just water,” and the wave will pass over you.You might get hurt while surfing, but “to learn to surf.You kind of just have to be okay with that. ... Embrace the water,” she said. Mower explained if she falls and is stuck underneath a wave, she will try to relax and stay calm instead of tensing up. Eventually, “I’m going to get up, find the surface again and I’m going to be okay.” If someone loves the water, loves being outside and loves being active, there is no reason they shouldn’t give surfing a try, she shared. “It is a great way to have fun.” However, Mower warned if you’re not experienced, to not go out in bigger waves. Penrod added with more experience comes more comfort. For her, understanding people are all in God’s hands has helped her relax. Mower said her favorite time to surf is during the sunset hours. “The water is reflecting the colors, and you’re just out there enjoying a beautiful sunset,” she said. “Doesn’t get any better than that.”

Go out there and try! Nichole Whiteley, a junior majoring in communications from Saratoga Springs, Utah, said she went surfing for the first time last Fall Semester. She explained despite her fear of drowning and sharks, “I promise you’re going to regret not going.” She said she is trying to get out of her comfort zone while in Hawaii. “Live life to the fullest and experience new things because that’s the whole point of life … [to] learn and grow,” said Whitely. While first surfing, Whiteley was unable to catch a wave, but she said her experience led her to make a goal to start going to the gym and get stronger. During her first day, a wave came and Whiteley’s surfboard was titled just enough for the wave to knock her over. At first, she was frustrated, but after falling in the water for the first time, she shared she felt more comfortable after that. •

Amanda Penrod (top left), Katie Mower (top right) and Nichole Whitely (middle right) surfing together. Photos by Emarie Majors.

N O V E M B ER 2021 47

KEVIN Pictures of the “iconic neighborhood pet” pig, Kevin Bacon, relaxing in his home, hanging out with his owner, Kate McLellan, and visiting elementary school kids for show-and-tell. Photos provided by the McLellan family.



evin Bacon is the “world’s greatest pet,” according to owner Dr. Kate McLellan, assistant professor in the Faculty of Sciences. Kevin was “our iconic neighborhood pet,” said alumna Manda Nielson. Sadly, Kevin Bacon is now in “hog

4 8 KE AL A K A‘I 2021

heaven,” said McLellan. Kevin passed away on Nov. 20, 2021. On Feb. 4, 2022, he would have had his golden birthday, McLellan explained. She and her family found Kevin Bacon at a pop up stand on the side of the road in Temecula,


California, and McLellan said she immediately thought, “This is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen.” Emotionally, McLellan said, her favorite memory of Kevin was “he and I would cuddle every night.” When the children went to bed and the house became quiet, Kevin would go to the kitchen rug and wait for her, McLellan shared. “He was my guy. He was my shadow. He followed me everywhere. He was my pig, and I was his human. We were bonded.” Kevin Bacon was a type of domestic pig breed known as the Juliana pig, which is “the Chihuahua of pigs,” explained McLellan. This breed is also known as a Micro, Mini or Teacup Pig, said McLellan. When Kevin passed away, he weighed nearly 200 pounds, she added. However, “pigs grow for 5 years,” said McLellan, so Kevin still was not done growing when he passed away at the age of 3. Kevin Bacon got his name originally because the McLellan family loved the actor Kevin Bacon, said McLellan. At first, the breeders told them Kevin was a male. After looking at pig anatomy, however, McLellan was unsure, so she took Kevin to the vet where the vet informed them Kevin was actually a female, said McLellan. “He’s a girl. Kevin Bacon is a girl,” said Nielson. When McLellan found this out she said, “Okay, one, good. Two, I’m right.” In the long run, this was good for the McLellans because male pigs need their tusks shaved regularly and the neutering process is more invasive, said McLellan. She added they decided to keep the name Kevin and the pronouns he/him. McLellan related their experience to the character Kevin from the movie “Up.” Kevin

is a bird everyone thinks is a male but ends up being a female, explained McLellan. Additionally, “Kevin’s personality was kind of like toxic masculine,” and Kevin was a little overbearing, brutish and aggressive, said McLellan. She said the name “Kevin works on so many levels.” McLellan said taking care of Kevin was not easy, and most pigs are not easy pets either. She said, “80 percent [of pigs] end up in the pound.” They take a lot of effort and work, said both Nielson and McLellan. But, “We were buddies,” said McLellan Holland Barker, a junior from Eagle, Idaho, majoring in communications, spent most Sundays at the McLellans’ home with friends. Barker said her favorite memory of Kevin was when he bit one of her friends, and for the rest of the evening they each sat with their feet off the ground. Kevin was “a staple and a big part of every Sunday,” said Barker. McLellan said Kevin’s Instagram handle is:, and people can still follow the account. Nielson said, “His [Kevin’s] two main life passions and motives were food and sleep.” She said her favorite memory of Kevin was when they let Kevin outside to roam but forgot about him until they got a phone call from the neighbor, explaining they saw Kevin on the side of Kamehameha Highway. “Not chickens crossing the road, just a giant pig,” said Nielson. Whenever it rained, Kevin would go play in the mud, Nielson added. However, Kevin is an indoor pig so they would have to hose him off before letting him in, she explained. Whenever they hosed him off, “You just hear the most grotesque sound.

It sounded like animal torture, but it’s just Kevin,” said Nielson. “With any pet, they’re always a member of the family; and losing a pet is hard.” “Kevin was just a part of the family and honestly a greater part of the community,” said Nielson. He was like a “sense of home,” she added. Kevin even became part of the Laie Tram Tour, explained Nielson. When they would drive by, you could hear on the microphone: “‘Here is our iconic neighborhood pet, Kevin Bacon.’” Nielson also said Kevin would go to childrens’ birthday parties and the school for “show-and-tell.” A couple days after Kevin passed, students and teachers at Laie Elementary decorated a 10-foot banner with signatures to show their love and support after the family’s loss, shared Nielson. “We we miss Kevin Bacon. It’s definitely been different since he’s been gone, but I know he’s always in our hearts. Especially for the people who are close to him,” said Nielson.• In honor of Kevin Bacon February 4, 2017 – November 20, 2021

Remembering Laie’s pet pig MA RCH 2022 49

THIS THIS ONE’S ONE’S FOR YOU Album “Ku’u A’ina Aloha” released by Laie-born Faith Thompson makes the final five for Hawaiian Album of the Year at the Na Hoku Hanohano Awards 2021 BY ANNA STEPHENSON


aith Thompson Ako said she was born and raised on Moana Street and left Laie at 27 with two small children. She was the youngest of 15 children and described her family as a musical one. She said they all played instruments and sang, though they had no formal training aside from the church choir. “My piano was my first love.” Ako said she drew inspiration for her album, “Ku’u A’ina Aloha,” from her childhood in Laie. “I remember [songs] from the May Day programs at Laie Elementary and Kahuku High School,” she said.

Laie Heritage She also attended BYU–Hawaii for two and a half semesters, and was exposed to music from around the world through various clubs there, Ako said. Additionally, she is an avid participant in hula, having found “quite a few” hula groups to work with in California, she explained. “I play. I sing. They dance,” she said. “We tell the story together.” Her work with various hula group directors inspired and motivated her as she 5 0 KE AL A K A‘I 2021

worked on the album, she said, because of their passion and support for her. Another one of her inspirations, she said, was Auntie Genoa Keawe, an influential Hawaiian musician who spent part of her own childhood in Laie and was also a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. According to the NEA website, Keawe, who was born in 1918 and passed away in 2008, received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts in 2000. Ako also spoke of her maternal grandmother, who lived in Laie who inspired her music. She said her grandmother was blind in one eye, played the harmonica and “was a firecracker!” According to Ako, it was through this side of her family, and this grandmother specifically, where her family gets their musical talents. When Ako’s grandparents came to Laie from Samoa, she said, Laie was a “purely Hawaiian” town with very few Samoans. She said her grandmother, a “visionary woman,” was the one who prompted the move. “She said, ‘We’re gonna go on a boat somewhere.

We’re gonna go on a mission,’” Ako said. “That mission was to Laie.” Ako said her grandfather, a carpenter, helped build the temple, as well as the Church College of Hawaii (now BYUH).

Her Album: “Ku’u A’ina Aloha” “Ku’u A’ina Aloha” contains two songs written about Laie: “Nani O Laie” (“Beautiful Laie”), and “Laie Ku’u A’ina” (“Laie, My Beloved Land”). The latter was written by Sam Kamauoha during the 1940s, and Ako said she received permission from Kamauoha’s family, who are from Laie, to cover it in her album. Ako said it was common for Hawaiian artists to go to a certain beach, hill or mountain to cultivate the feelings they needed to write their music. “I can’t do that,” she said, “because I live here in Northern California, and right now it’s about 40 degrees.” “If I lived at home in Hawaii, it would be so much easier for me,” she said. “I didn’t appreciate it until now that I’m older and have lived in California for 37 years … When I’m home in Hawaii, I look at the mountains and the ocean, and it brings on new meaning for me. How did I not realize [how beautiful it is] growing up here?” Many of Ako’s family members live in Hawaii, and she is able to visit frequently, she said. On one such visit in 2015, she took the photo that is now the cover of her album. In the background of the photo is Mokolii, or Chinaman’s Hat. Another topic on “Ku’u A’ina Aloha,” which took four years to record and produce, is the Savior. The song “Your Love” is written about him, and Ako’s feelings about “what our Primary teachers … [and] kupunas used to talk about.” Ako said her entire album, not just “Your Love,” was inspired by “all the Church leaders I’ve ever had,” including Primary and Young Women’s leaders. “The Church has always been great about teaching … music from a young age,” she said.

A Family Pride & Joy Hope Moea’i, a Hauula resident and Ako’s older sister, said she was proud of her sister. “I always think of my mom as looking down on her with pride.” Moea’i said her favorite song on the album is “Nani O Laie.” “She didn’t mention it,” Moea’i said of her sister Ako’s nomination for the Hawaiian

Album of the Year award. “She didn’t dwell on it.” The nomination came as a surprise to Moea’i, but she thought it was well-deserved. “Every album I think she’s just getting better and better,” Moea’i said. “Ku’u A’ina Aloha” is Ako’s 4th album. Ako said she received and continues to receive a lot of support from her family with her music career. Moea’i said Ako always makes them feel very appreciated. Chauncey Ako, an adjunct faculty in Exercise Science, and Faith Ako’s son, said when his mom first went into music professionally, he was shocked. “I was a senior in high school … We said, ‘You’re too old already, Mom!’” He said his mother worked incredibly hard to record and produce her albums, and that he was “extremely, extremely proud of her for following her passion.” “She never would have thought about getting this nomination 25 years ago,” he said. His own children, he said, love “Ku’u A’ina Aloha” and play it “all the time” at his house. His personal favorite songs are “Nani o Laie” and “Your Love.” His children provided vocals for the song “Keiki O Ka Hula,” but they didn’t hear the song until the album was released. “I feel blessed and privileged to have her as a mother,” he said. “I think this is full circle for our family, and our [great-]grandparents who came to build the temple and had a vision of thriving in Laie.”

New Releases In December 2021, Ako released a new single, a duet with her cousin and BYUH alumnus, Joe Napeahi. Ako said she returned home, they recorded the single in studio on Dec. 9, and “nailed it!” The song, “Behold Laie,” has been sung by many people before at town gatherings and functions, said Ako, but she and Napeahi are the first Laie residents to record it. She credited Esther Macy, a music teacher at Kahuku High School, for encouraging her to record “Behold Laie,” and also thanked Honolulu-based Dave Tucciarone, music producer and recipient of the Grammy Award and the Na Hoku Hanohano Award, for the use of his studio and recording equipment. “This one’s for you, Laie,” Ako said. “Behold Laie” is available to listen to on Pandora, Apple Music and Spotify. • Right: Faith Thompson Ako with her ukulele. Photo provided by Thompson Ako.

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