MEd in Educational Administration Alumna

Jenna Caparoso

"Participating in the creation of Alakaʻi: Leading the Way in Hawai‘i Nei left me with two great lessons that will continue to impact my perspectives and application of leadership.”


Kapolei, Hawai‘i


Educational Administration

Related Degrees

  • MEd, Educational Administration: Higher Ed

Current Position
I have been an affiliate research assistant at the Pacific Policy Research Center (PPRC) since July 2013. I’m also a graduate research assistant for the assessment office in the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at UH Mānoa.

How did you select the leader(s) to be featured on the Alakaʻi* website?
As a class, we collectively and strategically decided that everyone be allowed to select individuals who represent and exemplify leadership in Hawai‘i. The diversity within our class organically resulted in a variety of leaders across many sectors and fields including Native Hawaiian leaders and leaders in business, healthcare, education, non-profit work, and public service.

How did this experience change or help shape your own approach/ideologies regarding leadership?
Participating in the creation of Alakaʻi: Leading the Way in Hawai‘i Nei left me with two great lessons that will continue to impact my perspectives and application of leadership.

The first lesson emerged from the stories and wisdom shared by each leader featured on the website. Indeed, their words are the true gem of the project. The videos are educational – they teach us what leadership in Hawai‘i looks like; inspirational – they inspire us to reflect on our own leadership capacity and to put this into action for the greater good of others; and they are living lessons – they are living examples of how to live with Native Hawaiian and local Hawai‘i values, including aloha, pono, kuleana, lōkahi, and mālama.

The second lesson comes from the process of developing a large-scale project with 20 other individuals. With roughly a month and a half to complete the website, we split into four teams that enabled us to work with our strengths. Communication, collaboration, planning, responsibility, trust, and excellence were key components of our efforts, and these are values I can confidently walk away with.

What are your future career plans?
After earning a doctorate in higher education administration from the COE, my hopes are to become a faculty member, researcher and evaluator, and mentor in the field of higher education. As a local born and raised mixed-Asian woman, I am passionate about understanding the impact of culture and the dynamics of race and ethnic relations on education in Hawai‘i. This is my home and my community, and I am committed to contributing to better educational experiences for my people.

How has the COE helped you along your path in education/career?
The opportunities afforded to me through the COE have greatly shaped my decision to pursue a PhD in higher education and strengthened my commitment to the people and education in Hawai‘i. Truthfully, the hallmarks of the COE lie within its faculty, staff, and students.  Faculty and staff are supportive and are willing to grow, both personally and programmatically, for the benefit of their students. As the former president of the Higher Education Student Association (HESA), I can also strongly speak on behalf of the students of the COE. Their intelligence, determination, and collaborative spirit keep the programs innovative and welcoming for all. I am very blessed to have earned an MEd from the college and to have shared in such wonderful experiences from working alongside its people.

* Alakaʻi: Leading the Way in Hawaiʻi Nei is a website created by graduate students in Toby Jenkins-Henry’s “Management & Leadership” course. The website serves as a free global resource and archive that documents leadership styles, values, and ideologies in Hawaiʻi. It features interviews of 27 leaders from a variety of sectors who share their approaches and ideologies regarding leadership, offering a full portrait of the diverse leadership landscape in Hawaiʻi.

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