2024 Hawaiʻi ACAC Annual Conference Schedule

10:00 am

10:55 am

11:05 am

12:00 pm

1:00 pm

1:45 pm

2:05 pm

3:00 pm

Tips and Tricks: Leveraging Technology in College Counseling

12:00 am – 10:55 am (55 min)
The role of the college counselor requires the ability to multitask, stay organized, and follow up and follow through with the ever changing demands of students, families, and institutions. Join us as we explore different tools that can help you in your daily practice to be more efficient and effective in meeting the needs of […]
Jennifer Baum (College Counselor) & Marques Kaonohi (College Counselor), Punahou School

Major mayhem: Everyone wants my major, what do I do?

12:00 am – 10:55 am (55 min)
As students face the pressure to choose the perfect major, the competition for popular fields intensifies. Join us for a lively discussion on strategies to navigate this academic maze, including exploring lesser-known majors, understanding personal passions, and making informed decisions about academic paths. This session provides practical insights and tips to help students confidently navigate […]
Mandy Loh (International Admissions Recruiter), University of California, Merced

Is Reverse Admissions the Future?

12:00 am – 10:55 am (55 min)
Reverse admissions is an entirely new approach to college admissions that flips the script on the traditional admissions model. This novel approach, in which universities come to students (rather than the other way around) creates new opportunities in supporting both international and domestic students post admission. Join us to learn how counselors at secondary schools […]
Rebecca Kelley, Senior Manager (International Counselor Engagement), Concourse by EAB

I Mana Ka ʻŌiwi: The Importance of Indigenous Approaches and Practices in Education

12:00 am – 10:55 am (55 min)
The United Nations (UN) describes an indigenous peoples as “…holders of unique languages, knowledge systems and beliefs that possess invaluable knowledge of practices for sustainable management of natural resources” (United Nations, 2004). Although the UN has not adopted an official definition of the term “indigenous,” many cultural groups such as Indigenous Education State Leaders Network […]
Amber Manini (Student Success Counselor), Ashley Makahilahila (Student Success Counselor), & Nohea Walker ( Dean of Student Wellbeing, Grades 11/12), Kamehameha School, Kapālama

Aloha World: Navigating International Education

12:00 am – 10:55 am (55 min)
With the growing popularity of students looking beyond the US border for college degrees, this session will highlight the incredible advantages of doing a bachelor’s degree abroad. Focused on the distinct advantages of studying internationally, our session will shed light on the dynamic cultural engagement and personal growth for students. To provide a nuanced perspective, […]
Julia Jerving (Country Officer), University of Melbourne & Susan Goya (Dean of College Counseling), Island Pacific Academy

The Benefits of a Counselor Advisory Board from Both Sides of the Table

12:00 am – 10:55 am (55 min)
What is a Counselor Advisory Board? Who do they benefit and are they a good use of our precious time? Willamette University established a Counselor Advisory Board in 2021 and it has been an extraordinary experience that we highly value and recommend, even in a world of tight schedules and limited budgets. This session will […]
Sue Corner (Dean of Undergraduate Admission), Willamette University & Leilani Arita-Takayama (Associate Director of College Counseling), 'Iolani School

Exploring Pathways to Affordable College Education

12:00 am – 12:00 pm (55 min)
The pursuit of higher education often intersects with financial constraints. The rising costs of tuition, accommodation, and associated expenses can pose significant challenges for students and families. However, numerous avenues exist to make college more affordable. This panel aims to illuminate diverse strategies and resources for achieving college affordability. Participants will learn from experts at […]
Berta Liao (Associate Director of College Counseling), ʻIolani School, Rebecca Kelley ( Senior Manager, Counselor Engagement), EAB; Shauna Pimentel-Motooka (Scholarship Coordinator & Admissions Counselor), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa; & Marques Kaonohi (College Counselor), Punahou School

Supporting College-going pathways for Native Hawaiians – Lessons Learned

12:00 am – 12:00 pm (55 min)
College Horizons (CH) is a national non-profit organization based in New Mexico located on the homelands of the Pueblo People. CH serves and supports the college-going pathways for Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Alaska Native students. Today, CH has grown to serve more than 4,000 native students; with nearly 800 of those students identifying as […]
Nikki Chun (Vice Provost for Enrollment Management), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa & Zoe Leonard (Higher Education Transition Specialist), Kamehameha Schools Keaʻau

Ka’ie’ie: a Dual-Admission, Dual-Enrollment Program

12:00 am – 12:00 pm (55 min)
The Kaʻieʻie program is a dual-admission, dual-enrollment partnership program between the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa (UHM) and all seven of the University of Hawaiʻi Community Colleges (UHCC). If a student is looking to begin their academic journey at a UHCC, this program provides academic planning and support to ease the transfer process to UHM. […]
Shauna Sibonga (Transfer Specialist), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Essay Support Beyond College Counseling

12:00 am – 12:00 pm (55 min)
There are a lot of components of a college application and the one that raises the most stress and anxiety is the one students have ultimate control over … the essay. With greater emphasis put upon essays, how does your college counseling program support students? How are you assisting students with being their authentic selves […]
Marisa Proctor (Academy English Department Head) & Ryan Scudder (Director of College Counseling), Punahou School

Kamaʻaina Tips for Recruiting in the State of Hawaiʻi

12:00 am – 12:00 pm (55 min)
Whether you are a new or seasoned professional, you will appreciate this talk story session on best practices and tips for recruiting in the glorious state of Hawai’i. Each island has its own unique landscape and flare. Certain dos and don’ts are helpful to know when you are planning your trips, navigating commutes, and understanding […]
Donna Barsana (Undergraduate Admissions Associate Director), Pacific University; Kimberly Dela Cruz Kelley (Associate Director & Admissions Counselor), Washington State University; & JR Rabago (Assistant Director of Admissions), Seattle University


12:00 am – 1:00 pm (60 min)
Visit the Mālama Māunuunu, Kapiʻolani CC’s Native Hawaiian garden – Mānele Building Visit Kapiʻolani CC’s Transfer Counselors in the Maida Kamber Center, ‘Ilima 104

Hawaiʻi ACAC Membership Meeting

12:00 am – 1:45 pm (45 min)

Race-conscious admissions and the impact in education: What we know and how do we move forward

12:00 am – 3:00 pm (55 min)
After the June 2023 U.S. Supreme Court ruling against race-conscious admissions, there were and continue to be many questions on its impact in education. In this presentation and talk story session, we will discuss what the ruling means for college counseling and admissions, its impact as we currently understand it after an almost-complete admissions cycle, […]
Leilani Arita-Takayama (Associate Director of College Counseling), 'Iolani School & Troy Ballard, J.D., M.S.Ed, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Harmonizing Voices: Crafting Clarity in the Chorus of Counselor Communication

12:00 am – 3:00 pm (55 min)
“Harmonizing Voices: Crafting Clarity in the Chorus of Counselor Communication,” aims to explore the intricate art of communication between high school counselors, college admissions counselors, and students. This session aims to ensure when we speak, our intentions and messages resonate clearly, bridging the waters between the high school counselors, admissions counselors, and the students and […]
Vee L. Alidema (Regional Admissions Counselor), University of Utah; Marques Kaonohi (College Counselor), Punahou School; Tyler Cegler (Regional Admissions Counselor), Oregon Institute of Technology; & Eleyne Fia (College and Career Counselor), James Campbell High School

Write Better Letters of Recommendation in Less Time

12:00 am – 3:00 pm (55 min)
In this session, participants will:
Scott Kominkiewicz (Associate Director of College Counseling), ʻIolani School; Lisa Hayashi (College and Career Counselor), Kalani High School; & Donna Barsana (Undergraduate Admissions Associate Director), Pacific University

Our Kuleana as Admissions Practitioners to Native Students

12:00 am – 3:00 pm (55 min)
Often, when we take a critical look at education, the perspective is centered on student performance – what is the student doing or not doing, and how can we address that? This session shifts the focus and turns the mirror to those of us who are admissions practitioners in colleges and secondary schools. Join two […]
Nikki Chun (Vice Provost for Enrollment Management), University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa & Jennifer Baum (College Counselor) Punahou School

Military Academy Admissions and ROTC Scholarships Round Table Discussion

12:00 am – 3:00 pm (55 min)
This session will review the Military Academy Admissions Timeline, including Congressional interviews, candidate fitness evaluation and DoD Medical Examination Review Board.  Additionally, ROTC scholarship application opportunities will be discussed.
Bob Takao (Adjunct College Counselor), Punahou School; Lisa Hillhouse, (Independent College and Career Adviser); & Chris McMunn (Deputy Director of Admissions), U.S. Coast Guard Academy; Lieutenant Colonel Bart Gould (Admissions), U.S. Air Force Academy; & Captain Richard Mendoza (Admissions), U.S. Military Academy


12:00 am – 6:00 pm (180 min)
Looking for dinner options AFTER The Reception? A few options: Keep It Kaimukī, Kahala Mall, Kūʻono Marketplace. (Click Reception link above for more info)

2024 Conference Sponsors

— ʻIlima Level Sponsors —

Kapiʻolani Community College
University of Hawaii at Mānoa
University of Utah

Lehua Level Sponsors

— Naupaka Level Sponsors —

Colorado Consortium
Willamette University

2024 Access Sponsors

— Kukui Level Sponsors —

Oregon Tech
Dwight Global

‘Aʻaliʻi Level Sponsors

— Pōhinahina Level Sponsors —

Creighton University
Temple University, Japan Campus
University of Portland
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