Keri (Blaisdell) Johnston
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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.
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.