Shawna-Leigh Camara, MEd in Educational Administration Student

Printer-friendly version
Shawna-Leigh Camara
“… the best way to serve the communities of Hawai‘i is to lead by example, showing that success can come from staying home and getting a higher education here on the islands.”
Hometown:

Waialua, Hawai‘i (O‘ahu)

Department:

Educational Administration

Degree:

MEd in Educational Administration Student

Where do you work?
I work with GEAR UP Mānoa under the Office for Student Equity Excellence Diversity (S.E.E.D).

How did you become interested in educational administration?
I became interested in this program when I was exposed to student affairs work at my undergraduate university (UHWO). My mentors, Rouel Velasco and Katrina Abes, inspired me to get into this work because of their drive and passion to help all students on a holistic level in their higher educational journeys.

Briefly describe your road to college.
I am a first-generation college student and the first in my family to pursue a graduate degree. Initially, because I could not afford other programs or schools, I committed to UHWO where I earned my bachelor's in social science with a concentration in psychology. I was a student leader in the PUEO Leadership Program, a caucus representative for ASUHWO, and a student activity coordinator for the Student Activity Fee Board. My experience at UHWO provided me with a sense of belonging and really enriched my development in leadership and higher education.

Why did you select the UHM COE?
I selected the UHM COE because I wanted to stay here at home and learn from people who understand the dynamics and culture of Hawai‘i. I also had the opportunity to meet professors in the COE program before applying. and I felt that they would be amazing individuals to learn from. Lastly, I felt that the best way to serve the communities of Hawai‘i is to lead by example, showing that success can come from staying home and getting a higher education here on the islands.

Is there anyone in particular who inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
Rouel Velasco and Katrina Abes both inspired me to pursue this career. It is not every day that you see individuals who look like me in positions like the ones they hold. We are Filipino and to be able to learn and be mentored by people who are Filipino, who look like me, who understand the cultural obstacles and challenges we face, it really motivated me to want to be just like them. They have shown me that we all have a place in higher education, and I can be a part of paving pathways for generations after me.

What are your future plans?
In the future, I hope to graduate with my Masters in Higher Educational Administration then pursue a doctorate degree in a related field. I also hope to continue to work in any higher educational institution here in Hawai‘i where I am able to contribute to the growth and change of better programming for underrepresented individuals who enter the higher education system.