Master of Science in KRS Alumnus

Evan Nakatsuka

"Whatever I learned in class or through assignments, I could apply at work the next day..."


Honolulu, Hawaiʻi


Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Science

Related Degrees

  • MS, KRS: Rehab

Where do you work?
I have been the Assistant Director of Programs at Abilities Unlimited for the past four years.

What drew you to the rehabilitation counseling program*?
The program was very convenient for me because of the part-time, online structure. The opportunity to intern in various vocational rehabilitation settings also drew me to the program as it provided me with hands-on learning opportunities that I couldn’t have gained independently.

How did the program assist you in your career?
Whatever I learned in class or through assignments, I could apply at work the next day since I was already in the vocational rehabilitation field as a job placement specialist. I gained a better understanding of the principles of the field and was able to help my company provide more resources and service options for consumers of public vocational rehabilitation services on Oʻahu.

Describe your path to this program.
I work for a non-profit that has contracts with the State of Hawaiʻi Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. I was encouraged to look into the rehabilitation counseling program by the vocational rehabilitation counselors at DVR, and I thought it was very applicable to my current position and future career goals. Soon after learning about the program, my company hired two KRS students, and their guidance helped me complete the application process and commit to pursuing a graduate degree.

How did the rehabilitation counseling program and faculty help you along the way?
As instructors, the rehabilitation counseling program faculty provided me with an academic base to draw upon during my work in the field. I had a clearer sense of the history of the industry and the role of rehabilitation counselors due to my time in the program. One of the most effective assignments we had was having our appointments videotaped so that our instructors could critique our communication and application of the rehabilitation counseling principles. I try to do my daily work while keeping in mind the feedback of my instructors and what they would say about my performance.

What advice would you give current or prospective students about this program?
I would say to research current companies that provide private and public vocational rehabilitation services so that you have a variety of internship and employment options to pursue. In the graduate program, you learn about ethics, principles, and techniques, but seeing how that is applied in the field can help you get a better idea of what skills you would like to develop and how you can contribute.

What are you future plans / goals in the field?
I’d like to improve how my company creates job match opportunities for people with disabilities by providing more detailed labor market information and skill development opportunities for consumers so that they can make informed choices about the employment opportunities that they pursue.

*The Hawai‘i Rehabilitation Counseling program (HRC) prepares graduate students to become successful practitioners and administrators in the field of vocational rehabilitation. This 48-credit distance education program leads to a Master of Science degree in Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Science with a specialization in Rehabilitation Counseling. The HRC program requires 3 years of enrollment (6 credits/semester) in a hybrid online environment. Meet HRC Director Kathryn K. Yamamoto.

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