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COE Doctoral Student Association Council

The 2016-2017 COEDSA Council is comprised of COE doctoral students who volunteer their time to present an orientation event for incoming PhD students in August, and subsequent workshops and other events during the year.


Chris Lucas

Chris Lucas

Faculty Advisor

Chris joined the College of Education faculty in fall 2014 in the Department of Educational Administration. He has a bachelor’s degree in English from Hanover College in Indiana, a master’s degree in Guidance and Counseling with an Emphasis in Student Affairs from Southeast Missouri State University, and a doctoral degree in Education with an emphasis in Educational Administration, Higher Education, from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Born and raised in the small town of Richmond, Indiana, Chris has also worked in various residence life positions from Resident Assistant to Residence Manager at Hanover College, Southeast Missouri State University, Barat College in Illinois, and Indiana University, Bloomington. He enjoys tennis, jogging, and travel.


Amy Sojot

Amy Sojot



Amy Sojot is a doctoral student in Educational Foundations and the Graduate Assistant for the Education Doctorate in Professional Educational Practice program. Born and raised on O‘ahu, she received her master's degree in Educational Foundations from UH Mānoa and her bachelor's degree in Art History and the Visual Arts from Occidental College in Los Angeles. Her research looks at the intersections of art, politics, and education theory. Amy’s present focus explores sensations of learning selves as a means to examine contemporary educational assumptions and how embodied pedagogies can provoke consideration of other ways to approach education.


Frank Jumawan

Vice Chair


Frank is currently in the Learning Design and Technology (LTEC) PhD program is also an IT Specialist for the COE’s Technology and Distance Programs. He received his masters in Educational Technology and his undergraduate in Exercise Science and Health Management at UHM. Frank was born and raised in Wahiawā and is a proud Leilehua High School graduate. He is passionate about health, nutrition and exercise and loves staying active. His numerous activities include working out, photography and hiking.


Eddie Merc

Eddie Merc

Past Chair

Eduard "Eddie" Merc is originally from The Slovak Republic, Eastern Europe, and has been living in Hawai’i for the past 20+ years. Eddie came to Hawai’i as a former ATP professional tennis player to represent UH, HPU, and later BYU-Hawai’i Universities as a student-athlete to win two national NCAA tennis titles in 2002 and 2003.

He currently works as the Business Intelligence Senior Analyst for Bank of Hawai’i. He also runs his computer consulting business, Merc-Enterprises, LLC Company. He also teaches business management and computer science courses on a part-time basis as an adjunct instructor at Hawai’i Pacific University's military campuses islandwide.

Eddie is currently in his 6th year of Ph.D. doctorate studies at the College of Education (COE) at UH Manoa with the concentration in Educational Technologies (LTEC). His Ph.D research interests are distance education methodologies and educational tools for hybrid and online courses for both traditional and non-traditional student groups, such as the military student population that is growing rapidly in Hawaii. He also volunteers his time to help COEDSA to organize various events for graduate and doctorate students at COE. He also likes to travel and experience other cultures around the world by attending domestic and international education technology conferences.

One day, Eddie would like to open up his own university to allow students of all backgrounds to have access to quality college education that would allow them to open up various professional opportunities for them.


Wendan Li


Wendan Li is a graduate assistant at the COE Office of Student Academic Services (OSAS), the graduate student representative at the Manoa Faculty Senate Committee on Student Affairs, and a  PhD student in Educational Foundations. Inspired by own personal life experience, any conversations or articles about graduate student professional development, job marketability, mentoring and advising, academic socialization, international students, and institutional internationalization all sound fascinating to her. As a student researcher in doctoral student experiences, Wendan relatively knows a little more about the culture of graduate school, the value and importance of academic association, graduate student subculture, and mentoring for a successful navigation in the graduate school.

She has offered a variety of workshops on intercultural communication and learning at her own institution as well as local, regional, and national conferences for international students, faculty, international student advisors, and administrators. 

As a graduate assistant at OSAS, her passion is to support graduate student success.  She has applied for funds at the institutional level to create programs, activities, video(s), workshops, and other social and academic events to enhance the sense of belonging of graduate students to the academic community. 

She is easygoing and social, loves to make friends. Her cross-cultural learning and living experience has shaped her identity as an international citizen, at least she aspires to be so. As a council member, Wendan wishes to contribute to this Ohana (family) based on what she knows about doctoral education.


Youxin Zhang

Youxin Zhang


Youxin, a current Ph.D. candidate in Learning Design and Technology Department at College of Education. Currently, she is the web editor for COEDSA since 2013. She received her M.A. in Education from the University of Wisconsin. She has keen interest and talent in educational technology, instructional design, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), OER (Open Education Resources), mobile learning, app development, innovative technology and graphic design.


Esmeralda Carini


Esmeralda Carini is a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Education in the Curriculum and Instruction program. Her research interests include literacy leadership, formative literacy instruction and assessments, and teacher professional development. Esmeralda received her M.A. in Education from the University of Hawaii, Manoa and was a proud member of the first literacy specialist cohort.  She earned her B.A. in Interdisciplinary Education from the University of San Diego. She is currently the district Literacy Content Specialist for Kailua Kalaheo Complex Area, Windward District. Esmeralda has been a member of the COEDSA family for the past two years.

Janet Kim


Janet Kim is the Special Education Recruitment Specialist in the College of Education at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Her research focus is on recruiting underrepresented populations into teacher education programs. More specifically, her work focuses on distance and online recruitment methods and programs to meet the unique needs of rural and remote populations across the state of Hawaiʻi. Leveraging her own experiences as an elementary special education teacher for the Hawaiʻi Department of Education, Janet advises students using a blend of first-hand experiences and professional development in the field of advising and recruitment. Her passion for learning and embracing different cultures and practices stems from having lived in Europe for over 12 years during her school-aged years. She is currently in her first year of the PhD in Education program with a specialization in Exceptionalities and has received her Master of Education in Educational Foundations (EdLeads), and is also a graduate of the Bachelor of Education dual-prep Elementary and Special Education program, all from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
On her free time, Janet enjoys spending time with her two daughters, Addisyn (4) and Audrie (2). She also enjoys playing pool, painting, and doing pretty much anything competitive with friends.

Paula R. Ulloa


Paula is a native Chamorro from Guam, Mariana Islands.  While on Guam her career in spanned education 17 years as a Guidance Counselor, Special Education Teacher, Autism Consultant, and an education administrator as a School Program Consult.  During that time she also completed a M.A. in Counseling and a M.Ed. in Special Education prior to relocating to Hawai’i in December 2016 to pursue her doctorate in Education, Exceptionalities specialization.  Her research interest is in systems structure of distance learning for preparing teachers instructing students with special needs and anything Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) :)

Paula enjoys anything water, particularly snorkeling and swimming, but she’ll be just fine with a little sprinkle too:).  She finds bible studying extremely fulfilling.  She also likes any outdoor activities (hiking new places, mountain biking), working with students with ASD, leisure reading, watching movies on the big screen, live plays, traveling the world, good chocolate, good food, and great company.

Natalie Haggerty


Natalie is an Instructor with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Department of Special Education.  She is a Cohort Coordinator for the  Exceptional Students Elementary Education (ESEE) program, and is passionate about pre-service teacher preparation. Natalie is a doctoral student in the PhD in Education program, Exceptionalities specialization, and received her M.Ed in Special Education from UH Mānoa. Her research interests include evidence-based practices for children with high incidence disabilities, and literacy instruction for students with mild to moderate disabilities. She is the Fundraising Committee Co-chair for the Hawaiʻi International Dyslexia Association (HIDA), and a member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) and International Dyslexia Association (IDA).  Natalie served as a Middle School Dean, Curriculum Specialist, Summer Program Director, and Teacher at Assets school. She enjoys dancing hula, visiting art exhibitions, and frequenting new restaurants with family and friends.

Kevita Rao - Past Faculty Advisor

Mary Chang - Past Chair

Shannon Hillman - Past Chair

Kevin Lima - Past Chair