The Hawaii Asia-Pacific Affairs Leadership Program 2018-2019 Cohort:
Aaron Moskovich is a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from The College of New Jersey. Originally from East Brunswick, New Jersey, Aaron graduated from the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California with an Associate's in Chinese Mandarin in 2016. Aaron hopes to begin his graduate studies early next year in International Studies and is particularly interested in Asian economic development and the usage of soft power in the Pacific.
Aisha DeMorsella is a Master’s student in the international policy making program at the American University of Paris. She is writing her thesis on climate change in the Pacific and exploring how public/private partnerships in island nations most vulnerable to climate change can build more effective solutions than those reached in international policy agreements. She also holds a B.A. degree in International affairs with a focus on Latin American Relations from the University of Colorado at Boulder. During these years, she was able to study and conduct research in Brazil and Argentina where she became fluent in both Portuguese and Spanish. After completing her master’s thesis, she hopes to continue to advance her knowledge and participation in the changing landscape of the Pacific with a focus on environmental adaptation and security.
Chandler Carlson is a Portfolio Analyst for Elemental Excelerator (EEx), a growth-stage startup accelerator headquartered in Hawaii. Each year, EEx funds 15-20 companies up to $1 million to improve systems that impact people’s lives in energy, food, agriculture, water, and mobility. Prior to EEx, Chandler worked with the University of Denver building programs around innovation and entrepreneurship. Through these programs, he helped connect innovators and technologies from around the world to change-makers locally. Chandler has since worked to bring innovation to the forefront of the UN, lifting up entrepreneurs directly advancing the Sustainable Development Goals. Chandler spent his early years moving around the globe, graduating from Radford High School in Honolulu.
Colette Masunaga works in Government Relations and External Affairs for The Queen’s Health Systems, where she manages federal and state health policy issues. Prior to returning to Hawai‘i in 2015, Colette lived in Washington, D.C. where she served in the Obama White House and in Congress for Congresswoman Colleen Hanabusa and the late Congressman Mark Takai. She was born and raised in South Kona on the Big Island of Hawai‘i and holds a degree in International Relations and Asian American Studies from the University of California, Davis. Colette is currently a graduate student at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Shidler College of Business.
Janelle Funtanilla was born and raised in Honolulu and is a licensed social worker and has worked in the field of youth development for over a decade. After receiving her Master of Social Work from University of Hawaii at Manoa, she entered the Peace Corps. Prior work experience includes working at the Hawaii State Legislature, in the public schools as an educational paraprofessional, and at the UH Manoa GEAR UP program. She has a breadth of experiences abroad including a semester abroad in London, an intensive practicum in Baguio, Philippines, and most recently as a Clinton Fellow for the American India Foundation.
Jason Shon is High School Program Director at the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council, a non-profit dedicated to developing engaged global citizens among Hawaii's youth. Previously, he was a volunteer interpreter (English/Japanese) aboard the Peace Boat, interpreting onboard lectures and tours in port cities around the world. Jason also taught English at public elementary and middle schools and served as Coordinator for International Relations in Kumamoto, Japan through the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme. A graduate of Whitman College and an Asian Studies major, he hopes to use this opportunity to develop well-informed educational programs for youth.
Kendrick Leong is a Master’s candidate in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa focusing on international development planning. Having recently received his Bachelor’s degree in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, he is excited to bridge international relations and urban development. His current academic interest is analyzing how cities around the Pacific Rim are responding to globalization. He is also interested in Japan-US relations, having conducted research at Waseda University in Tokyo and the University of California – Los Angeles on comparative urbanization and the urban impacts of international mega-events.
Martin J. Moore III is from the Republic of Palau and currently works as an Academic Support Specialist for Continuing Education and Training at the University of Hawaii’s Kapi’olani Community College. Martin is a graduate of Chaminade University of Honolulu and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Studies with a concentration in International Relations and holds a minor in English and Hawaiian-Pacific Studies. During his time at Chaminade, he served as Micronesian Club president, Chaminade Student Government Association President and he was selected and participated in internships with the University of Hawaii’s Pacific Business Center Program and the U.S Department of Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs in Washington D.C. Both internships entailed research and work regarding the region of Oceania, primarily Micronesia, which inspired his ongoing advocacy work with his fellow Pacific Islanders on Oahu.
Rae Shih is a Legal Fellow at the ACLU of Hawaiʻi working on education policy and civil liberties issues. Rae graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School and received a master of public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. Prior to graduate school, she was a high school math teacher in New Orleans via Teach For America. She also worked as a Policy Analyst at StudentsFirst drafting state education legislation. She previously interned at the Office of Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and the New York Civil Liberties Union on education litigation research and strategy. She is a CrossFit coach and competitive weightlifter.
Zephanii Smith Eisenstat is an advocate for social innovation across sectors and has served in local, state, federal, and international government organizations working to address unresolved issues in civil and human rights. A Stockton, California native with a Bachelor’s Degree in government and a Master’s Degree in educational administration and leadership, Zephanii is currently serving as the Vice Chair of the Strategic Partnerships and Collaborations Committee on the National Council of the United Nations Association - USA. She is the recipient of the 2018 Global Young Achievement Award, the highest honor for young Americans working to advance the ideals of the United Nations.