Author: Marco Leon

Nate Tengbergen

Nate Tengbergen is a 19-year-old general business major from Mililani. His home campus is the University of Hawaiʻi-West Oʻahu, and he is currently taking a math course at Kapi‘olani Community College.

Tengbergen graduated from Mililani High School in 2018 and enlisted in the Army National Guard. After boot camp, he came back home to Hawaiʻi, registered for college, and works full time as a pavement marking specialist.

“It’s pretty much painting all the lines, arrows, parking stalls and crosswalks you see on the roads and parking lots,” Tengbergen said. “That’s what I do. It’s a fun job, and I really enjoy it because it’s outside work.”

Tengbergen is a self-taught photographer and videographer. The passion for it started his freshman year of high school. Eventually, his talent led to a drone sponsorship with Drones Plus Hawaiʻi in 2016. Tengbergen enjoys having a bird’s-eye view. 

“My passion is looking for adventure and creating amazing content,” Tengbergen said. “My favorite things to shoot are landscape and concerts. I’ve been doing this for over five years now and been shooting concerts for just over a year.”

Nate hopes that the Business degree will help make his passion a career one day.

“I’m hoping to be able to film EDM concerts full time,” Tengbergen said. “I feel with Business being my major, I’d be able to understand a lot more on how to put my own name out there and possibly start a brand or a company.”

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Keanu Rochette-Yu Tsuen

Keanu Rochette-Yu Tsuen is a 20-year-old bio-engineering major from Faaʻa, Tahiti, French Polynesia. In Fall 2018, Rochette-Yu Tsuen began to conduct his own research project. 

“It was my first time doing research that was my own,” Rochette-Yu Tsuen said. “It was supposed to be a botany-based project that was to be a semester long, but it turned out to be a year and a half.”

Rochette-Yu Tsuen’s research project involves the use of the Naupaka Kahakai plant by extracting a compound that could be used in sunscreen. His hope is to reduce the damage to coral reefs caused by current sunscreens on the market. What he has found to be enjoyable was that the project applied microbiology, chemistry and marine biology concepts and skills.

Yu Tsuen has attended three conferences: the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative (CCURI) in Arizona, National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Georgia, and the Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference (HCC) in Honolulu. All of which he presented a poster showcasing his data. He won the “Best Undergraduate Poster Presentation” award at HCC. Rochette-Yu Tsuen will be presenting at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) conference in Honolulu on Oct. 31.

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Bryan Suechting

Bryan Suechting is a 33-year-old from Folsom, Calif., and is currently working on completing the science courses needed to get into a science based-master’s program.

Suechting has a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from UCLA, and due to not being able to market the degree well, was unable to find a career in the field. For the past two years Bryan has been working as a bartender at Yard House in Waikiki. During that time he learned how to brew beer and has won two first-place and second-place medals. 

Bryan fell in love with Hawaiʻi after visiting his brother in 2017. The decision to move to Oʻahu was based on finding a location that would calm the symptoms of eczema, and where the brewery market was up and coming.

“In the week and a half I was here, my eczema cleared up, it was the humidity. I wanted to open a brewery with my brother, but after a year I decided not to and go back to school,” he said. 

Suechting’s advice for students is to make connections and get as much hands-on experience as possible.

“I made the mistake of not making connections my first time through college,” he said. “I just thought that If I got good grades and put that on a resume it would get me a job. That was not the case. Connections are key.”

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  • Makaʻa WatsonMakaʻa Watson
    Makaʻa Watson is a first-year student attending KCC majoring in Liberal Arts. From Honolulu, HI, the 17-year-old decided to come to KCC after struggling to get accepted to UH Mānoa over this past summer. Beyond this challenge, Watson's decision in attending KCC was also influenced by the several great aspects that he has heard about the campus, the affordability for tuition, and how small the campus is. Watson is taking five classes this semester and enjoys how straightforward his professors are with the learning material. Once he earns his Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts, Watson is hoping that it will help transition him into a Pre-Engineering major at UH Mānoa or another university.