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Alumni Spotlights
Aaron and Kei Johnston
Frederic Riemer
Aotearoa M. Peseta
Christoph Malzl
Yusook Kim Ohira
Louell Lorzano
Lomitusi Iabeta
Laly Malzl
Mike Wilton
Wilma Place
Ma'afu Latu Vaki
Clarence Matayoshi
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Jared Wong
Yue-Sai Kan
Golden Harper
Adeline Erasito
Radhika Anandan
Hayley Rice
Matthew Phillips

Keri (Blaisdell) Johnston

Keri Johnston and family

I was born in Mission Viejo, California, to my wonderful parents Ken and Sharalee Blaisdell. I have four siblings- Jeff, Miśel, Brianne, and Salisha. Jeff and Salisha also attended and graduated from BYUH. My family lived in Utah for a couple of years while my dad attended BYU in Provo but otherwise, I grew up in the same area of California that I was born. After graduating from high school, I lived briefly in Utah and Hawaii before serving a mission in Mississippi (September 1999-May 2001)

I returned to Hawaii after my mission and met Aaron right away since we were in the same ward. We began dating the following spring and were married in December 2002. Aaron graduated in 2003 and took a job teaching Special Ed at Kahuku High School for two years so that I could also finish my degree. Our first daughter, Jada, was born in 2004. I graduated in 2005, and we moved to Grenada, West Indies, where Aaron attended his academic years of medical school. Our son Joseph was born in 2007. In 2008 we moved to New Jersey for Aaron's med school rotations, and our daughter Sophia was born there in 2009. Our son Spencer was born in 2011, and two weeks later, we moved to Mississippi for Aaron's pediatric residency. In 2014 our daughter Colette was born, and Aaron joined the US Air Force. We were stationed in Alaska from 2014-2017, and our son Christian was born there in 2015. In 2017 we moved to Aviano, Italy, and our son William was born in January 2020. We moved to Las Vegas, Nevada, in August 2020 and hoped to be here a few years.

Aaron Johnston

Brother and Sister Johnston

I was born to lovely parents who taught me the gospel in my youth. I was born in Salt Lake City, Utah but have moved many times since then. Growing up, my family lived in Australia, New Jersey, Florida, and California.

I was blessed to serve a mission in Geneva, Switzerland. Undergraduate studies at BYU–Hawaii were followed by two years working at Kahuku High School in special education.

Medical school brought our small family to the island of Grenada in the Caribbean. We finished medical school in New Jersey, then moved to Mississippi for medical residency in pediatrics at the University of Mississippi medical center.

After much prayer and fasting on the subject, we joined the Air Force to work as a pediatrician for children of military families. Service in the AIrForce has brought us to Anchorage, Alaska, Italy, and now Las Vegas, Nevada. We have had seven children born to us along the course of college, medical school, residency, and military life.

Frederic Riemer
Elder Riemer
Elder Frédéric T. Riemer was named an Area Seventy and a member of the Eighth Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the April 2021 general conference.

Elder Riemer received a bachelor of science degree in information systems and business management from Brigham Young University–Hawaii. He has worked for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in various positions, including MSR supervisor and service center manager. He currently works as a leader and member support coordinator.

Elder Riemer has served in several Church callings, including full-time missionary in the French Polynesia Mission, ward mission leader, bishop, high councilor, counselor in a stake presidency, stake president, and president of the Tahiti Papeete Mission from 2020 to 2021.

Frédéric Timiona Riemer was born in Papeete, Tahiti, on April 20, 1967. He married Jenny Hinanui Tefan in 1994. They are the parents of five children. Elder and Sister Riemer reside in Papeete, Tahiti.

Aotearoa M. Peseta
Aotearoa Peseta in BYUH
Aotearoa graduated from BYU–Hawaii in spring 2021. She graduated with a degree in interdisciplinary studies with hospitality tourism management and exercise science- fitness with a minor in Pacific island studies.

Although BYUH was not the first on Aotearoa's list of colleges to attend, she was very grateful for her older sister. She was a BYUH student at the time and had been the one to encourage her to come here. Once Aotearoa made up her mind to attend BYU–Hawaii, she knew that she would never regret her decision because it was the right one to make.

Attending a very diverse university was a great experience for Aotea. She has been blessed to make so many friends from different countries and learn about the different cultures where she learned to accept differences. Aotearoa said the influence and great examples of those she has met here have allowed her to grow spiritually, mentally, and physically as an individual.
Christoph Malzl
Christoph Malzl
When Christoph had first heard about BYU–Hawaii a few years after his mission, he felt a strong impression that Brigham Young University–Hawaii was the university he needed to attend to further his education.

He was quite impressed to learn about its unique, diverse environment, its connection to the Polynesian Cultural Center, as well as its intimate academic environment. Through a series of undeniable miracles, he was accepted and found himself on campus only three months after learning about the school's existence.

His favorite memory of BYU–Hawaii was his very first day of school. He found himself standing in the registration line where he first met his wife. A year later, they were married and sealed in the Santiago Chile Temple. Today, three of his four children have been able to attend BYU–Hawaii and share the same love and appreciation that they have for the school.
Yusook Kim Ohira
Yusook Kim Ohira
Yusook's first contact with the school was through the stories that a post-graduate student had shared with her about Brigham Young University–Hawaii. The idea of attending a university that was located abroad seemed impossible due to financial reasons.

The joy and peace that she felt while she was taking lessons from the missionaries of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints influenced her decision to make two goals. The first goal was to serve a mission, and this was achieved when she was called to serve in the Temple Square, Salt Lake City Mission.

Her decision to serve a mission allowed her to receive multiple blessings, which helped her work towards her second goal, which was to be financially able to attend Brigham Young University–Hawaii.

Her favorite memories at BYU–Hawaii include working as a hostess at the Ali'i Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center and making so many friends worldwide. Her greatest blessing was meeting her husband.

Louell Lorzano
Louell Lorzano
Louell attended BYU–Hawaii from 2013 to 2016. She currently works as a real estate agent at a local firm in the Philippines. It was always a dream of hers to study abroad and after learning about the opportunity to attend Brigham Young University–Hawaii, she set a goal to make it happen.

Having the chance to be educated in a church institution was a great blessing. Being a part of the prophetic vision to "Enter to Learn, Go forth to Serve" helped her see how blessed she was to be a part of a program that would help her return home to serve her people.

One of her fondest memories of being in school was a trip to the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan, New York. It was her first time to attend a forum amongst indigenous peoples and it was such an eye-opening experience for her. This trip allowed her to be more aware of the political and social issues that concern indigenous groups around the world.
Lomitusi Iabeta
Lomi and his wife
Lomitusi attended BYU–Hawaii from 2015 to 2019. He chose BYUH because it is a church school and also because of the IWORK program.

One of Lomi's best memories of BYU–Hawaii is Culture Night. He enjoyed this event so much, mainly because he gets to watch different cultures perform.

Lomi said that attending BYU–Hawaii helped him academically and gave him real-life experiences that prepared him for what comes after graduation.

Lomi described BYU–Hawaii as one of the best places on this planet that he has ever been to and would like all current students to use their time here and don't waste it!
Laly Malzl
Laly and family
Laly attended BYU–Hawaii from 1993-1996. She had originally heard about the school through a former bishop from her single's ward when attending LDS Business College (now known as Ensign College).

When she was accepted to BYU–Hawaii, she could not believe it. It has been a blessing in her life to experience the education, culture, and spiritual learning and growth that came from attending this university. She says, " I felt as if with the great majority of students, we could look in the same direction no matter where you came from or what culture you represented."

Her favorite memory of BYU–Hawaii was participating in the cultural nights. She was president of the Spanish club and thoroughly enjoyed teaching other students some Spanish dances and lambada.

Mike Wilton
Mike Wilton with his volleyball team
Mike Wilton started school in the fall of 1969 and graduated in the spring of 1972. Mike came to the Church College of Hawaii primarily to play volleyball. After graduation, he volunteered as an assistant volleyball coach at Utah State University.

Anything that had to do with volleyball, such as practice, training, and competitions, is things that Mike will always remember about CCH. In addition to that, Mike loved Mom and Pop Enos's food, Dwayne Anderson's Book of Mormon class, and the time he spends with Bob Laird, and many lifelong friends he met at CCH.

BYU–Hawaii is an exceptional university said, Mike. He wants BYU–Hawaii students to take advantage of it and enjoy the opportunities BYU–Hawaii is providing.
Wilma Place
Wilma Place
I was born in Honolulu and raised in Wailupe, Wahiawa, and the Kunia/ Schofield area.

After graduating from Leilehua High School, I attended the Church College of Hawaii (CCH) from fall 1966 to spring 1970, which allowed me to earn a bachelor's degree. I followed my sister, Stephanie Place, who was attending CCH. The fact that it was a church-sponsored institution was a bonus for us.

Some of the memories that stand out to me are centered around my dorm life with my roommates during those four years. The classes that I had with the professors challenged me to think, learn, observe, listen and try my best to be better. I also enjoyed working with Brother Gillert, cleaning areas on campus, and working in the Bookstore with Sister Hunter.

After CCH graduation, I had a chance to go to BYU in Provo to take classes in secondary education for a year and complete my studies for a teaching certificate.

An opportunity to finally use my education in teaching came many years later. I was able to teach on Kauai, Maui, and the Big Island. I retired from teaching in the State’s DOE system. Currently, I am a kupuna in the Hawaiian studies program at Konawaena Elementary School K-5.

Looking back at all those years, I realize that my time at CCH was the best formative years for me. The foundation for pursuing goals to accomplish was set at CCH. My advice is to take advantage of the situations that come your way. You are fortunate if it comes to you again.
Ma'afu Latu Vaki
Maafu Latu Vaki on his graduation day
Ma’afu Latu Vaki currently works as a cultural ambassador in the Tongan village, at the Polynesian Cultural Center. He was born and raised on the small island of Hunga, Vava’u in Tonga. Ma’afu describes his journey in life as demanding, and challenging but one that was inspiring and encouraging at the same time.

He attended elementary and middle school but was not able to attend high school. However, that did not hinder his growth and willingness to serve a mission. Years later, he was called to serve in the Seattle, Washington Mission. With very limited knowledge of English, he was able to honorably fulfill his missionary service.

In 2004, Ma'afu met a student intern from BYU–Hawaii in Tonga. They dated and were later married. She then helped her husband to further his education. He obtained his high school diploma at the age of 31 from the Lelehua High School Adult Program. In 2013, while taking courses at Leeward Community College Ma’afu was accepted to BYU–Hawaii.

Ma’afu graduated with his Bachelor of Science in pacific island studies and a minor in psychology.

Ma’afu and his wife are parents of three kids, two boys and one girl, and currently reside in Hauula, Hawaii. They are actively involved in cultural learning and in their community.

Clarence Matayoshi
Matayoshi family
Clarence N. Matayoshi is originally from Honolulu, Hawaii. Clarence graduated from CCH from 1967 to 1971 after being honorably discharged from the U.S. Air Force. He graduated with a B.A. in sociology and secondary education and a Professional Teaching Certificate. During his active duty years in the Air Force, he was able to do support work for the B-52 bombers. After four years of active service, he was discharged with the rank of sergeant.

After attending school for a year and a half, he met the church missionaries and was baptized a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has been an active member of the Church since. A year after his baptism, Clarence met his wife, Afton Johnson Matayoshi, while she was visiting campus for summer school. She was an elementary school teacher in Olympia, Washington, after graduating from BYU in Provo.

After graduating from CCH, Clarence started teaching social studies at Waianae High School. After four years at Waianae, he transferred to Kahuku High School.

In 1984 he and his family moved to Washington State. In 1986 they purchased a small tree farm in Rochester, WA. In 2007 he retired as a narcotics detective from the Centralia Police Department in Centralia Washington.

Clarence and his wife are parents of five children, three girls and two boys, Sylvia, Denise, Lisa, Matthew, and David. They have twenty-nine grandchildren.

Clarence will confess that after attending CCH, his whole life changed. Not only did he gain an education, but he also gained a deep testimony of our Savior. He appreciates the many friends he's made, and he still stays in contact with many of them today.

Clarence would like to advise current and prospective students to "be open-minded, believe in yourself, and respect others. There is a greater power that exists. He is mindful of you and is watching over you".
Jared Wong
Jared Wong and his family
Hi!! My name is Jared Wong. I’m from Hong Kong. I studied accounting at BYUH in 2006.

I’m so grateful that I studied at BYUH. It not only provided me with quality education, but it also shaped me into someone with high morals and ethics. I also got to experience life-changing cultural experiences.

It was at BYUH that I met my lovely wife from Malaysia. We are blessed to have 3 children.

After my graduation, I worked for few years before I decided to get my MBA at Arizona State University. I am currently working for the church as a self-reliance manager.

I am really grateful for my current position. It gives me the chance to help prospective students transition smoothly in their enrollment at various schools and institutions to achieve their academic and self-reliance goals.
Yue-Sai Kan
Yue-Sai was a recent convert when she came to the Church College of Hawaii. She was just 16 years old and majored in music, studying the piano. Encouraged by a few classmates, Yue-Sai entered the Narcissus Flower Beauty Pageant in Honolulu in 1968 sponsored by the local Chinese Chamber of Commerce.

She became the second runner-up, and as part of her duties, traveled around the world. This experience was life-changing and marked the beginning of her career in fashion, beauty, communication, and cultural exchange.

Yue-Sai Kan is an Emmy-winning television host and producer, successful entrepreneur, fashion icon, bestselling author, and humanitarian. People magazine called her "the most famous woman in China,” and Time magazine proclaimed her "the Queen of the Middle Kingdom."

In 1992, Yue-Sai created the Yue Sai Cosmetics brand, which grew into China’s leading Cosmetics Company. Additionally, she has written nine best-selling books, and in 2000, became the first and only living American featured on a Chinese government-issued postage stamp.

Throughout her life, Yue-Sai has been deeply involved in charity work. She served and is still serving on several prominent charitable organizations in China and the United States. Since 2011, Yue-Sai has been helming the Miss Universe China Pageant. She uses the final pageant as Shanghai's most glamorous charity ball, which has raised millions to support orphanages, cleft lip and palate correction surgeries, and scholarships for students in China's best music, TV, and film schools.

In 2018, Yue-Sai was elected co-chairman of the China Institute. She is dedicated to spearheading the 90-odd-year old organization’s efforts to move from Upper Eastside to Downtown Manhattan and continue its mission of advancing a deeper understanding of China through Chinese language programs and art culinary art, and business.
Golden Harper ran his first marathon at 10 years old, about the same age he started helping out around his family’s running store in Orem, Utah, just south of Salt Lake City. A decade — and countless running medals — later, the BYU–Hawaii exercise science major identified a hole in the running shoe market for zero-drop sneakers, which cushion the toe and the heel at the same level to mimic the biomechanics of walking barefoot.

But how did the co-founder of Altra get from that mid-2000s epiphany to today, leading an innovative company with more than 200 employees and revenues topping $50 million? That tale involves a healthy dose of curiosity, the dream of helping people run pain-free, and, yes, a toaster. (Lappe and Mazzucchi, 2021).

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Adeline Erasito
Adeline with her family
Adeline started school in BYU–Hawaii from 1995 to 1999. She decided to attend BYUH at a very young age because her two older sisters were attending BYUH at the time. When she went to BYUH, the school offered a fusion of intellectual effort and spiritual insight that prepared her for the future. It gave her the opportunity to be with students from all over the world and made her appreciate the gospel more.

Adeline had so many memories of her time here in school but her favorite was attending BYU–Hawaii and working at the Polynesian Cultural Center at the same time. This experience taught her and other students to balance time and gave them the opportunity to keep cultures alive through song and dance. The four years she spent here at BYU–Hawaii taught her how to better deal with people and how to be a better version of herself. Though there were many challenges faced as expected the environment and the people she came in contact with made it all worthwhile.

After Adeline graduated from school she returned to Fiji and started working in tourism and hospitality. She spent over ten years working at the national tourism office, formerly known as Fiji Visitors Bureau and now called Tourism Fiji. Adeline spent eight months in Tokyo and also seven years based in the Los Angeles office. She is currently working as the Director for Rosie Holidays, Fiji’s inbound operator, and has been working at this job for a little over 8 years.

Adeline is happily married to her husband Harvey Erasito with three children Hefu (17), Marleeana (11), and Peter (9).

Adeline’s advice for current and prospective BYUH students is to “Keep improving yourself and never stop learning. Fortunately, every experience (whether good or bad) ends up teaching you something you can use going forward. The beauty of life is in the opportunities that appear just when you need them (not necessarily when you want them). If you make it a goal to never stop learning, you will remember that the journey is a series of new starts that make you wiser and stronger each time.”

Always remember, “We learn from failure, not from success!” -Bram Stoker
Radhika Anandan
Radhika smiling for a photo
I got a job offer to come work for BYUHawaii in 2019 for the ITO Client Services Department. It's a blessing to be back since I graduated and love my job! I am serving as a temple prep instructor in my ward and I love this calling because I get to help those who are preparing to enter and make sacred covenants in the Temple. I love living in Hawaii. I ran my first Half-Marathon last year and it was a great experience! Looking forward to the new adventures I will have this year.
Hayley Rice
Haley with her husband and two young kids
I got married to my husband in 2015, and we now have 2 year old twin boys, Dawson and Declan! Being a mother has been the most rewarding and wonderful experience of my life. I am also very excited that I will be starting dental school this summer at Roseman in South Jordan, Utah. I feel like the education I received at BYUH has prepared me well for this next step in my life! I feel blessed to have served in Young Women’s as the Laurel advisor, as well as being a teacher in Sunday School. The gospel has, and continues, to bring immense blessings in to my life. I will forever be thankful for the beautiful islands of Hawaii and for all that I was able to experience and learn while there.
Matthew Phillips
Matthew and his wife
After working in Europe for three years, I recently moved to New York where I'm continuing my practice with a major firm as an attorney in white-collar defense and investigations. I work with corporations and global financial institutions in the United States and Europe on investigations and compliance matters.
Students Spotlight
Heye Ma
Atea Lee Chip Sao
Gideon Nabuti
Marissa Cahyaningtyas
Lorasia Tavuto
Ei Ei Phyu & Yin Phyu Lwin
Heye Ma
Heye Ma
Heye Ma is a student from China majoring in Political Science and minoring in Linguistics & Entrepreneurship.

Ma was attracted to BYUH because of its culture, the iwork program, and the fact that he also felt God guided him. He loves the class environment, cultural diversity, and the Polynesian Cultural Center as the three things he will remember forever about BYU-Hawaii.

"This school has been a fantastic training place for me. It has helped me gain more knowledge and skills and also taught me to enjoy my life while accomplishing my accountabilities."

Ma currently works in the Ho'okele Department as a Career Mentor and, after graduation, plans to live in Taiwan (where his wife is from) and work for a company where he interned last year.

Atea Lee Chip Sao
Atea Lee Chip Sao
Atea Lee Chip Sao is from Tahiti, French Polynesia. He chose to come to BYU–Hawaii because he wanted to be a performer at the Polynesian Cultural Center. Atea had always dreamed of being a night show dancer at the Polynesian Cultural Center, which was made possible during his sophomore year at Brigham Young–Hawaii. He currently works as a performer at the Ali'i Luau as well as the night show.

He is currently majoring in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TESOL) with minors in Education and Mathematics. He chose this major and minors because he enjoys languages and interacting with others. Atea loves the size of the campus as it makes him feel safe and provides a spirit-felt environment. The many different cultures found at BYU–Hawaii are another unique characteristic that he loves about the school.

When he graduates from Brigham Young University–Hawaii, he plans to either pursue a master's degree in France or choose to develop his talents in photography and create his own business.

Gideon Nabuti
Gideon and his family
Gideon hails from the beautiful islands of Kiribati. He is currently studying political science with a minor in Pacific island studies and a certificate in disaster management. He currently works as a transfer evaluation clerk in the Admissions department for Ho'okele.

He chose to come to BYU–Hawaii because he knew it was one of the few colleges that would give him both the spiritual and academic education that he needed. Moreover, the IWORK program was another opportunity that he could not miss out on.

One of his fondest memories of being here at BYU–Hawaii would be participating in and watching the Culture Night performances. Although he did not get the chance to participate in this year's Culture Night, he thoroughly enjoyed watching other cultural dances and creativity.

After graduating, he plans to return home to Kiribati and apply all he has learned to help his people.
Marissa Cahyaningtyas
Marissa and her husband
Marissa is from South Tangerang, Indonesia, and just graduated this month with a degree in psychology and minors in organizational behavior, human resources, and English as an international language (EIL). She is a former career mentor at Career Services of Ho'okele. Working as a career mentor has taught her about the importance of being prepared and helped her see that the skills she obtains now can be applied in life.

Some of her favorite memories at BYU–Hawaii include receiving and opening her mission call after the 2016 Culture Night, meeting general authorities such as President Uchtdorf and Elder Christofferson, helping out with the Asia-Pacific Career Conference (APCC), and most importantly, meeting her spouse.

Coming to BYU–Hawaii played a huge role in influencing her to serve her mission at the Salt Lake Temple Square Mission. It has also helped her learn how to live independently without her parents and how to be successful in life. Coming to a school that valued her spiritual life, as well as her temporal life, has been such a great blessing. Marissa says that her memories here at BYU–Hawaii are ones that she will always hold dear to her heart.
Lorasia in BYUH campus
Lorasia Tavuto
Lorasia hails from the island of Fiji and is currently doing her studies in political science with minors in social work and pacific island studies. She was fortunate to come to BYU–Hawaii on the Pacific Area Scholarship (PAS) and has enjoyed her time here. She is currently working in the Ho'okele Department as the coordinator for our Holomua 2021 Program, which helps high school Juniors prepare for college. Before working in the Ho'okele Department, she had the opportunity to work and dance at the Polynesian Cultural Center. She says that this was such a blessing for her as it had allowed her to meet people from all over the world.

One of her many highlights about attending BYU–Hawaii would be preparing and participating in the Culture Night every March. "I've found Culture Night to be the most exciting event of the year because of the spirit that is felt as all the students come together to portray one another's culture and traditions." After graduation, Lorasia hopes to apply for a master's in public administration at BYU in Provo.

Lora would like to invite you all as alumni to learn and share the college preparation program she is helping to lead. If you know a Junior in high school that may be interested in attending Holomua this year with Lora, click here to apply by April 2, 2021.
Ei Ei Phyu & Yin Phyu Lwin
Ei Ei Phyu and Yin Phyu Lwin are students from Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). They are two of four students from a country whose population is estimated at 54 million. The girls estimate that there are currently 400 members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on record and about 150 actives. Ei Ei (left) is majoring in finance and accounting and wants to start an insurance Company when returning home. Yin is a Social Work major and wants to work as a social worker at a non-government organization. When asked why they decided to attend BYU–Hawaii, they told me that there were not good educational opportunities at home and the scholarship opportunity to come to BYUH (IWORK) made it possible for them to attend. They are happy to be here studying at BYU–Hawaii.
Alumni Testimonials (Virtual Alumni Reunion 2020)
Tevita Kaili
Moana Numanga
Eddy Tsing
Tammie Fonoimoana
Russell Runnels
Rose Ram
Tevita Kaili
ACC 2020 Alumni Interview's
The Bourne's
Lucricia Hussain
The Hernando's
Mare Riki
Rachel and Clive Bourne

Lucricia Hussain

Patricia & Raphael Hernando Alumni Interview.mp4

Mare Riki (2018 Alumni from New Zealand)

Genuine Gold Interviews
Yue-Sai Kan
Alfred P. Grace
Elder Tune
Debbie Hippolite Wright

Elder Iotua Tune

President P. Alfred Grace