When I graduated high school, I graduated with my first college degree as well. I was fortunate enough to be able to participate in the running start program my junior and senior year of high school where I was able to finish my high school credit and also gain my associates degree. I’m incredibly grateful that I decided to take this path as I am now on track to graduate next year despite being in my “freshman” year of college at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. In fact, UHM was the reason why I came to Hawaii in the first place as the Shidler College of business is one of the best in the country! Here I am now continuing my business studies with a double major in International Business and Management. Due to my participation in running start I also have enough room to triple minor and still graduate early. My minors of Peace Studies, a Peace Corp Certificate, and Marine Studies are areas that I find interesting and hope to pursue.

My end goal is to get my doctorate in business management and then go on to be the CEO of a tech or app company. For now however, once I finish my bachelors I plan on doing a 2 year service period through the Peace Corp in the Economic Development sector in a Central or South American country. Not only do I want to do this to gain a valuable experience that will make me a unique applicant for graduate school, but I also feel the need to give back to my people because I have been so fortunate to have been given the gift of being bilingual and getting a college education. I hope to learn things during this time that I can apply to my business in order to stop the separation of corporations and communities. As I finish up my freshman year, I reflect on the lessons I’ve learned and friends I’ve gained not only through school but through the Miss America Organization as well because a lot of this was possible because of my scholarship.

Despite struggling with a mental illness throughout the last several years of my life I am so proud of how far I’ve come. To anyone out there who might be struggling in school or life in general because of a mental illness, just know that it’s okay to not be okay as long as you’re kind to your mind.