Educational Psychology PhD Student

Michaelyn Nakoa

"I am pleased that I am able to be at home while furthering my education and career goals, focusing on the Native Hawaiian population."


Honolulu, Hawai‘i


Educational Psychology

Related Degrees

  • PhD, Educational Psychology

Where do you work?
I work at Kapi‘olani Community College as the coordinator for the Kapo‘oloku Program for Native Hawaiian Student Success.

How did you become interested in the field of educational psychology? 
I have always been interested in research, especially research in the social sciences. As I progressed in my undergraduate studies, I gravitated towards the research aspect of sociology and participated in survey research projects. In my graduate program, I focused more on direct service with a more clinical focus. I continued to have interest in research, excelling in test and measures and statistics courses. As I transitioned in my career across different settings, I met many individuals who supported my goal of pursuing a doctoral degree. I spoke to one colleague who was in the EDEP program, and it seemed to be just the right fit for me. The program allows me to research through different methodology as well as to focus on educational outcomes while exploring multiple affective factors.

Why did you select the UHM COE? 
Being an employee for the University of Hawai‘i System, I am privileged to receive the tuition waiver benefit. I am pleased that I am able to be at home while furthering my education and career goals, focusing on the Native Hawaiian population.

How has the educational psychology (EDEP) program helped you along the way? 
The EDEP faculty and staff are very nurturing and supportive. They have encouraged my development as a lifelong learner, researcher, and educational professional. They facilitate my growth by introducing or confirming theories and concepts and challenging my thinking by encouraging multiple perspectives.

What are your future plans? 
I hope to continue research to promote the overall improvement of education for Hawaiians. I am confident that traditional ways of learning are relevant and crucial to solving the educational crisis we are in for all students. Reconnecting with our pasts and our origins, we gain strength to move forward. Ka wa ma mua, ka wa ma hope – the time before us, shapes the time to come.

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