Last month the Jonathan Nāpela Center for Hawaiian & Pacific Studies hosted an event to celebrate the inaugural print of its new interdisciplinary publication, "Intersections: Journal of Asia Pacific Undergraduate Research." The journal contains student research focusing on Oceania and the Asia Rim and creates a venue for young scholars to share their discoveries with the world.
At the launch event, Dr. Line-Noue Kruse, Pacific studies associate editor and coordinator, introduced each student whose article is featured in the first volume. Ainsley Aiono, Jacob Fawson, Alyx Jensen, Kemana Ka'anapu, Leneah Olsingch, and Heimuli Paletu'a are the researchers who represent a small but growing number of student scholars enthusiastic about the work and preparation it takes to have a research article published.
Of the six student authors, four were in attendance and shared their takeaways from the overall experience. They all conveyed how they never intended to have their research published in an article during their undergraduate years, let alone if ever. The choice to submit their writings to the journal and undergo weeks of editing was inspired by different and unique reasons. Still, ultimately, it was their personal connection to the topic of their research that kept them moving forward.
Amongst the first to start sharing, Ainsley Aiono spoke about her unique experience in participating as both the assistant editor and a student writer. Sitting at the launch event, Aiono mentioned how it all felt surreal and hard to believe it was finally done. As she sat inches away from a physical copy of the journal, she reflected on the months of commitment and hard work in getting the journal published. Aiono stated, "As a student, your attention is pulled in many directions. But this process [of writing and editing] is something anyone can do with the wrap-around system of support found here on this campus."
Behind each author stood a collaborative group of individuals and departments from across campus. Several people were highlighted for their assistance, and gratitude was expressed to the individuals seen and unseen behind the publication process."It takes a village to raise a child, but it takes a whole university to publish a paper," said Alyx Jensen when asked about her experience working on the article. In hopes of encouraging future researchers' involvement, Jensen spoke of the significance behind students having the "whole campus at their fingertips," explaining that students have faculty and campus staff willing to help them discover and pursue their passion and turn it into a "research adventure." As a history major, Jensen shares her excitement about how the experience has allowed her to grasp the beginning concepts behind the academic publication process and how she looks forward to what can come of it.
Following the initial sharing of takeaways, the audience was invited to ask the student researchers questions. Attending faculty members wanted insight into getting more students to participate in this rigorous but rewarding process. As a result, Leneah Olsingch, an exercise and sport science major, responded that students need to "research a topic based on something [they're] interested in and growing into." For Olsingch, that resulted in learning more about her mixed identity; she was born of Palau heritage but raised in California. Discovering her roots lit a fire within her and helped her get past the overwhelming moments when receiving peer revisions and the stress surrounding the stringent editing process. She also attributed much of her success to researching this topic in a religious environment. Olsingch further shared how her testimony of the gospel was strengthened as she worked with people from different backgrounds bringing with them unique insights and knowledge.
Heimuli Paletu'a, whose article is titled "Tongan Land Rights," shared the teachings of her father, who, when growing up, would liken life to climbing a mountain. He told her that sometimes we get distracted, but we must keep climbing to reach our true summit or greatest potential. As an international student for whom English is a second language, Paletu'a shared her desire to see more students like her achieve similar success; for more Pacific Islanders to reach their full potential. Collectively, the scholars recognized their ability to break boundaries and allow new perspectives to shape and create legacies of learning and research within themselves and their peers. The student authors walked away from the experience feeling immense satisfaction and pride in their work. Praised and admired by others, the launch event was a time of celebration.
Digital copies of the articles are forthcoming. Until then, those interested in learning more about the journal, the staff, and the students involved, can visit the Jonathan Nāpela website to learn more about submissions for volume two and explore the Intersections podcast. The Intersections podcast is hosted by Dr. Line-Noue Kruse and her assistant editor, Ainsley Aiono, and features undergraduate students conducting research. Special acknowledgment to Dr. Line-Noue Kruse, who embraced, clarified, improved, and carried out this publication as editor.