Philip Sarmiento, MEd in Educational Psychology Student

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Philip Sarmiento
“I’m able to apply the theoretical knowledge that I’m learning to my current role as a student academic advisor.”
Hometown:

Philippines (born), Hong Kong (raised), Honolulu (home)

Department:

Educational Psychology (EDEP)

Degree:

MEd in Educational Psychology Student

Where do you work?
Before coming to the COE, I worked in the hotel industry where I had roles in public relations. Currently, I work as a communications assistant at the School of Travel Industry Management (TIM). I’m also a student academic advisor for the TIM School where I provide academic and career advice, primarily to freshmen and sophomore students.

How did you become interested in the field of educational psychology?
I wanted to transition from a corporate career to one in academia, specifically student affairs. However, I didn’t have any background working with college students, so I wanted to formally educate myself. To be honest, I did not really know what educational psychology was in the beginning, but I knew it was about understanding what drives humans to learn. I wanted to take courses in motivation, development and learning, educational research, statistics, as well as relevant electives—all of which are crucial to becoming a “master” of the field.

Why did you select the UHM COE?
UHM in general is home to me. I had an amazing and memorable experience as an undergraduate, so it was a natural decision for me to pursue my graduate studies here. I wanted to earn my education at a Carnegie-classified doctoral institution, and I chose the COE because of the positive interactions I had with the faculty and staff of EDEP, specifically Dr. Ratliffe and Stacie Odo, who have been my academic support since day one.

How has the educational psychology (EDEP) program helped you along the way?
I’m able to apply the theoretical knowledge that I’m learning to my current role as a student academic advisor. One class that I particularly enjoyed was EDEP 661: Development & Learning, taught by Dr. Yamauchi. As someone with no formal background in psychology, this class was insightful, challenging, but practical, especially for individuals who want to work with students. Because I advise some undergraduate "exploratory" students or those who have yet to declare a major, Dr. Yamauchi’s class has helped me to see that these students are "emerging adults” in a stage of an adolescence that is unstable; therefore, I am able to empathize and better guide them along.

What are your future plans?
I want to apply for a (junior) specialist position in academic advising here at UHM. In a few years, I’d like to pursue a doctorate. I never thought I’d enjoy research, but it stimulates me intellectually.