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Seasider Spotlight: Poerava Hapairai

Photo of Poerava Hapairai sitting down at a table.
Photo by Camille Jovenes

Name: Poerava Hapairai

BYUH employee since: 2022

BYUH alum: class of 2007

My job at BYUH is... assistant professor in the Faculty of Business & Government

I was born in... Tahiti

I'm currently working on... bringing community projects into the classroom. The hospitality and tourism program is undergoing positive changes, and we're getting more of what's happening in the industry into the classroom. We want to learn from real-life experiences in addition to the course textbook.

I chose to teach at BYUH because... of my upbringing and experiences as a student at BYUH. I've always been familiar with education since my father is a teacher. Then, as a college student, I was intrigued by why my professor, Brother Chu, would leave a great job as a general manager at the Marriott in Hong Kong to come to teach in Laie. He taught me a valuable lesson about finding work-life balance amidst a career. Brother Chu often talked about giving back to the community and imparting his knowledge to young minds. So I thought, that's what I'll do.

My favorite thing about teaching... is the students. They're enjoyable. It's great being a part of their journey, especially while they're eager to discover things.

Courses I teach... Intro to Hospitality and Tourism, Destination and Marketing, and Event Design and Marketing.

Image of Poerava Hapairai.
Photo by Camille Jovenes

My most cherished memory at BYUH... is a blend of being a student and faculty, making new friends and relationships.

My advice to graduating seniors is... take every opportunity to volunteer in your field. Do your research to see what's available to you in your field or closely related fields. If you still need to figure out what you want, travel the world. It will open your mind. Time is never lost if you're out discovering who you are.

It was my upbringing that sparked my interest in my field. Being from Tahiti, we live on tourism. I love that you can travel and learn a lot, it's flexible, and it's everywhere.

You'll never find me without... diet Coke.

My favorite holiday is... every holiday.

I'm currently reading... the New York Times if I have time. I try to keep up with happenings worldwide.

If I could only eat one food for the rest of my life... that would be so boring. But if I could only choose one meal, it would be hot chocolate and crackers.

My favorite beach on the island is... Waimea Bay.

During the summer months... I like to do anything that will help me relax.

Would I rather cook or order takeaway? I would rather cook at home.

On Saturday mornings, you'll find me... getting up, getting the kids ready, heading to the farm, or cleaning my house.

The next big trip I'm interested in... is Tahiti, hopefully next July. But I've been talking about going to the Philippines or France in the near future.