Catching up with Kari Kēhau Noe
Kari Kēhau Noe participated in the Pacific & Asian Affairs Council (PAAC) Club at Kauaʻi High School, serving as president from her sophomore to senior years. Through PAAC, she received a scholarship to participate in Punahou'ss Summer China program in 2011. She then interned for PAAC as an undergraduate student while in college. Kari is currently a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Keep up with Kari’s journey at kehaunoe.com.
What did you enjoy most about participating in PAAC programs in high school?
What I enjoyed most about my experience in PAAC was learning about other countries and cultures. Growing up on Kaua‘i, it was interesting to think about how vast and diverse the world is. Being in PAAC and learning about global issues and events (in preparation for events such as WorldQuest) was eye-opening to me. It made me think about Hawai‘i in a global perspective and better understand the history of our islands in context.
How did PAAC help shape your goals after high school?
PAAC made me want to travel the world and see what was out there. Through a PAAC-affiliated program I was able to travel abroad to China. Before high school, I never left Hawai‘i, and I would rarely travel off Kaua‘i. I enjoyed my experience so much I made it a point to look for opportunities to travel. I also made a habit to continue to read international news stories.
PAAC made me a more globally minded person, but it also made me appreciate Hawai‘i more. Although I did not enter a field that directly deals with international issues or policy, I had a goal to keep learning more about the world which inspired me to take more foreign language and culture electives in university.
Tell us more about your career after graduating from college.
I am a PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. I should be finished in the next couple of years. Currently, I have two positions, a Research Assistant at the Laboratory of Advanced Visualization and Application (LAVA) and Indigenous Tech Specialist at the Office of Indigenous Knowledge and Innovation (OIKI).
Both positions allow me to work on grant-funded research and community projects that look into ways that technology (such as visualization systems and A.I.) can aid in things such as informal learning, community outreach, and environmental stewardship. I also co-lead Create(x), an emerging media lab at the University of Hawai‘i West O‘ahu within the Academy of Creative Media building.
Once I graduate, I hope to continue the work that I have been doing in my PhD such as designing new immersive spaces, teaching students how to create new media, and building systems that will aid Hawai’i in solving complex problems.
What advice do you have for current PAAC students?
Keep up with international news, take part in events and activities that allow you to meet or hear from people from around the world, and better understand Hawai‘i and its history so that it may act as a grounding point and context for understanding what’s happening in the world.
How have you stayed in touch with PAACi?
I recently had the opportunity to lead a tour for PAAC students of Create(x). I had such a good experience in PAAC, and I continue to recommend it to younger students.