Behind the Resume #51 – Emma Ka’aha’aina

Emma Ka'aha'aina new employee photoWhat is your title at EvCC, and what will you be doing in your day-to-day endeavors at the College?
I am the new Program Manager within the Diversity and Equity Center. My position will expand the center’s initiatives to Monte Cristo where our new, student-advocated-for, First Peoples Gathering Space will be housed. My day-to-day endeavors will primarily focus on supporting our Native American and Pacific Islander students here at Everett by providing them with a space to be in culture with each other. Additionally, I will be working with on-campus and off-campus partners to support our local native communities and their student access and success initiatives.

Tell us a little about your professional background.
While earning my Masters Degree in Education with a concentration in College Student Affairs from Rutgers University, The State University of New Jersey, I served as a Hall Director for first year engineering students. Additionally, I advised the Native American Culture Association and worked as a First Year Retention Advisor.

What was your most memorable job? Why?

Emma and family at graduation
My recent graduate school graduation ceremony. Family is everything to me – they are the reason why I am so successful and why I’ve been able to accomplish so much. Everything I do is because of them and for them.

My most memorable job was during the summer between my first and second year of graduate school. I was an intern at Kapi’olani Community College on Oahu, Hawai’i, and worked in the Kapo’oloku Native Hawaiian Student Success Program. Throughout my time there, I was able to solidify my passion for working with Native/Indigenous students within a community college setting. After five years away from home and the Hawaiian culture, the internship allowed me to reground myself and my passion.

What does a typical day look like for you?
Once our space is completed, a typical day would be me within the space, creating a welcoming environment for any student who walks through the door and being a resource for them; which could look like anything from connecting them with other offices and walking them over to make the initial introduction, or giving them information on resources within the Everett and Snohomish community.

Emma with her brother and sister
These two are my best friends and siblings, Luke and Victoria. Luke is a cancer survivor and Bone Marrow Transplant recipient. Victoria will start her second year at Creighton University in Omaha, NE this fall.

Describe yourself at 12 years old.
Seventh grade… I played the clarinet, swam, played water polo and had the worst attitude, ha! Sooooo sassy. My teenage years came with a lot of growing pains. Sorry Mom and Dad!

What is your favorite meal/ snack in spring? Favorite spring beverage?
I am hooked on Lavender Ice Cream at the moment- so yummy! I love anything guava, passion fruit or pineapple. Oh, bubble tea is very, very good!

What would be the title of your autobiography?
“Nagawa Natin; Ua Hana Makou: We Made It, We Did It, Together”

What is the first concert you attended?
Christina Aguilera!

What is your favorite hobby or pastime?
I Crossfit; it’s really a great combination of gymnastics, weightlifting, and cardio.

What are you reading right now/ what was the last book you read? Are you participating in any reading challenges?
I am not reading anything at the moment- grad school kind of took the fun out of reading, ha! But I am open to any suggestions for my next book.

What one food do you wish had zero calories?

Emma with grandparents
Here I am with my Tutu David and Tutu Bunnie. “Tutu” is grandparent in Hawaiian.

Peanut Butter!

Where is your hometown? Were you born and raised in the same place?
I was born and raised on the island of ‘Oahu in Hawai’i.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I hope to still be serving our Native and Indigenous students within a student success program.

What do you like to do on your days off?
I like go and check out a new food spot, spend time with my cat (and friends..), and spend as much time in the sun as possible.

Do you have a favorite quote/ piece of advice?
I am only in the position that I am in because of the people in my life who have loved and supported my dreams, talents, aspirations, and skills. My favorite quote used to be “to whom much is given, much is expected” but it made it seem like my support system was only giving me support in order to gain something- which I believe is not the case, so I’ve amended it. “To whom much is given, much is expected-of oneself.” Because I am so thankful, I will be sure to take everything I have been given and use it to make everyone proud and to create real change, for good.

Emma with her maternal grandparents
Here I am with my Tata and Mama- they are my maternal grandparents.