APAL Program 2017-18 Cohort

The Hawaii Asia-Pacific Affairs Leadership Program 2017-2018 Cohort:

Nathaniel Agnew serves as a defense contractor. Previously, he was a counter-terrorism analyst for the 1st Special Forces Group in Okinawa, where he led exchanges with Asian countries. The Ft. Huachuca Army Intelligence Center of Excellence endorsed his doctrine developed for the exchanges. His efforts led to letters of recognition by the former Commander of the United States Army Special Operations Command, LTG Charles T. Cleveland, and MG Ahmed Shiyam, Chief of the Maldives Defense Force. Nathaniel is a graduate of Clearfield High School in Utah. He is currently a sophomore at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), pursuing a Bachelor’s in Criminal Justice. He is a member of National Society of Leadership and Success, UMUC chapter. Nathaniel plans to become a senior analyst with the DoD and eventually transition to the Department of State as a strategic analyst or foreign service officer.


Brent Bond is an active-duty Captain in the Army and in his second year of the MA program in Diplomacy and Military Studies at Hawaiʻi Pacific University. Brent is focusing his graduate work on American security cooperation in Southeast Asia, and will remain in Hawaiʻi for his next assignment following graduation in 2018.  He is the Diplomacy and Military Studies program Treasurer for the 2017-2018 academic year.  Previously, Brent served with the 82nd Airborne Division as a Cavalry Troop Commander and with the 3rd Infantry Division as a Platoon Leader and Executive Officer at the Company level. Brent graduated in 2009 from the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY, with a BS in Comparative Politics. Since 2010, Brent has deployed to the Middle East on three occasions, most recently in 2015 as a Build Partner Capacity advisor for the Iraqi Army. His awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, Ranger Tab, and Jumpmaster Qualification. 


Danicia Honda is a recent graduate of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, where she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society. She studied Chinese and English Language and Literature and completed her Chinese Flagship Capstone year in Nanjing, China. She interned at the Language Flagship Roadmap, and studied on academic scholarships at National Taiwan University with the International Chinese Language Program, Beijing Normal University with Princeton in Beijing, and Nanjing University with the Chinese Language Flagship Program. She also interned at a corporate law firm headquartered in Nanjing working closely with their Mergers and Acquisitions team and utilized her language skills to connect a Chinese firm to a global society. Her next goal is to study law and education policy, and eventually shift her focus back to Hawaiʻi to give back to the place that helped her discover her roots.


Alena Kangas is a Senior Consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton, and relocated with the firm from the Washington, DC area to Hawai’i in September 2016. She supports Department of Defense-wide efforts to become ready for financial audits. She also oversees her office’s affinity groups related to serving the Hawai’i community and professional development. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Hawai’i Symphony Orchestra. Prior to Booz Allen Hamilton, Alena worked for Accenture. While in the DC area, Alena connected nonprofit organizations and companies to support Asian Pacific American business students and young professionals through mentorship, mock interviews, and panel discussions. Alena graduated from Towson University, located in Maryland, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting. She is eager to build her knowledge of Asia-Pacific affairs so she can support her firm’s developing efforts to grow business and establish partnerships in the region. As a new Hawaiʻi resident, she also hopes to develop perspective on Hawaiʻi’s strategic location and political and economic offerings.


Emily Latimer is the State Communications Director for US Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. Emily manages public relations with Hawaiʻi media outlets, community organizations, advocacy groups, constituents, and other stakeholders. She recently returned home to Hawaiʻi after working for the congresswoman in Washington, DC, where she was responsible for public relations and office administration. During the 114th Congress, Emily was selected for the Stennis Center for Public Service’s Emerging Congressional Staff Leaders Program dedicated to promoting public service and enhancing leadership skills. Prior to working in Washington, DC, she worked for the YMCA in Christchurch, New Zealand. Emily is a graduate of St. Andrew’s Priory School in Honolulu and holds a dual degree in Political Economy and International Relations from Tulane University in New Orleans. She currently sits on the Special Olympics Hawaiʻi Young Executives Board.


Edward McAuliffe is an analyst working in the United States Air Force. He is also pursuing a Bachelor’s degree from Hawaii Pacific University, where he is majoring in International Studies with a concentration in International Relations and Security. Edward is originally from Boston, MA. He holds Associate’s degrees in Chinese Mandarin from the Defense Language Institute and in Intelligence Studies from the Community College of the Air Force. After completing his Bachelor’s degree and enlistment, Edward hopes to begin a career as a political officer in the Foreign Service. He is particularly interested in the People’s Republic of China, focusing on China’s international development policy, cross-strait relations, and intellectual property law.


Thuy N. Nguyen is a second-year graduate student in the Diplomacy and Military Studies program at Hawaiʻi Pacific University. She is wrapping up her thesis on the impacts of the Cold War in the Third World through a domino-reaction of successful, secular national liberation movements. Previously, she worked at the Honolulu Museum of Art as a Visitor Information Associate and helped facilitate special events and film festivals for the Doris Duke Theater. Thuy holds a BA in Political Science from the University of Hawaiʻi with a focus on international relations and foreign policy. She was born and raised in Honolulu, Hawaiʻi and attended Sacred Hearts Academy. She intends to further her education and pursue a doctoral degree in International Studies with an emphasis on historical and cultural context.


Katey Peck is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. From 2014- 2017, she was a program manager and research associate with the Pacific Forum (Pacific Forum) Global Health Policy Center, where she focused on reproductive, maternal, child, and adolescent health. During her time at Pacific Forum, Katey planned and participated in overseas research delegations, co-authored reports, managed events and conferences, and staffed the 26-member Task Force on Women's and Family Health. Katey holds a BA, summa cum laude, in health and societies, with a concentration in global health and a minor in history. Her examination of the emergence of maternal health as a global development goal won the departmental award for best senior thesis. During her time as an undergraduate, Katey also worked at the Center for High Impact Philanthropy and spent a semester conducting independent research in Guatemala. Katey is interested in the nexus between health, development, and international relations, and is eager to deepen her exposure to the major foreign policy issues in the Asia-Pacific. She hopes to pursue a Master's in Public Health at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa next year with a focus on health policy.


Olivia Peterkin is a reporter at Honolulu Civil Beat where she covers public health stories, as well as community issues and development in Kalihi and Waikiki. This past summer she interned as a general assignment reporter covering crime, business, and education for a USA Today paper in Tennessee. She graduated from the University of Missouri in May 2017 with dual degrees in journalism and international peace studies. During her studies, she covered religion and policy in Brazil and Belgium. Olivia graduated from Farrington High School in Kalihi Valley where she grew up. Olivia plans to attend graduate school in the fall of 2018. She will pursue dual master’s degree in multimedia journalism and public health to better cover the many issues and developments both in the US and abroad.


Kalani Aukai Stephens is in his last year at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa studying economics and Asian studies with an emphasis in East and Southeast Asia. Previously, he completed internships as a financial analyst, cultural ambassador, and business development intern in Japan, China, and South Korea. He also conducted funded research on Asian development and the economic impacts of climate change. During his undergrad, he received scholarships to study abroad in Shanghai, Asan, and Tokyo, where he gained fluency in Mandarin Chinese and Korean. After finishing his undergraduate degree, Kalani hopes to continue his studies at the University of Hawaiʻi in either Asian studies or geography focusing on economic, political, and development geography in the Asia-Pacific. After graduate school, Kalani will work with development in the Asia-Pacific region, including Hawai’i, and eventually hopes to teach at home and abroad as a professor in geography while conducting research and consulting. Kalani is a graduate of Lahainaluna High School on Maui.