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David “Alex” Williamson
May 16, 2023
  • David Williamson

David “Alex” Williamson, a liberal arts student at Leeward Community College, is a recipient of a Wo Family Foundation Scholarship and a Charles R. Hemenway Scholarship. This is an excerpt from his thank-you letter to scholarship donors.

I chose to attend Leeward Community College because of its wonderful accelerated online associate degree program. Even though I live on another island, in the remote town of Na‘alehu, I am still able to attend college. This inspired me to work behind the scenes and join student government. I have been a part of student government for two years, more than one year as president. I was recently elected Vice Chair for UH Student Caucus. I also sit on three strategic planning committees: the systemwide, the community colleges, and Leeward-specific.

I got involved because I am quite the nerd. I wanted to do more in my classes, and I was always planning meetings even with asynchronous classes. I am probably your least favorite classmate, or your most favorite. Either way, my goal is to get the most from every class I take. So, naturally, I wanted to do more.

I thought serving the school would give me something fun to do. It turned into something I never expected, and because I serve remotely it makes me even more grateful. I have tried to use my platform to highlight that there are some great online programs to reach students in underrepresented areas. So many folks who live in isolated districts of Hawai‘i don't realize they can get the same education, without the impractical expenses such as transportation and time. Leeward has given me opportunities and helped me start to build my professional career during this next chapter of my life.

The honeybees’ song

Williamson with beesI am very close to earning my liberal arts degree, and I was able to achieve this completely online. I went to high school in South Carolina and moved here shortly after. I worked with honeybees when I first arrived and I did that for years. Once 2020 rolled around I was looking for a change, so I decided to go back to school.

The honeybees brought me to the island with their song when I was 21 years old. I planned to leave South Carolina the moment I graduated high school, but I had to save up money first. I worked 60 hours a week for years to make my dream a reality. Without a doubt, without the bees, I would not have come here to work with them on a 75-acre farm on South Point Road on Hawai‘i Island.

I learned so much about pollinators, horticulture, and nature in those very formative years of my life. I proceeded to work for a group of sustainable beekeepers and learned a lot about the inner workings of the food industry and local business. I no longer work with the bees the way I used to, but I still have a hive.

Next I will be attending UH Mānoa’s online bachelor’s program for women, gender, and sexuality studies. I am also enrolled in the Honors College at Mānoa. After that, I plan to get my master’s degree in educational foundations. I can earn both degrees remotely. Eventually, I plan to move to Hilo and apply for jobs within the UH system there. It would be an honor to work for Hawai‘i Community College as an advisor, or perhaps at UH Hilo in their LGBTQ+ Center. Either way, I know that I have already had some great networking and professional development, all because of the University of Hawai‘i. I plan to keep saying yes to UH, and I have a feeling it will take me far.

Enriched more than I ever imagined

Thank you so much for helping fund this journey to becoming a larger and better contributor to the communities of Hawai‘i. I am so grateful every day that I am able to educate myself, but also work behind the scenes of the system via various committees. This opportunity is not lost on me how precious and important it is. I don't take the responsibility lightly, and I will be proud to represent UH everywhere I walk.

Besides graduating, I want to build lifelong connections at UH. My experience at UH has been fulfilling and rewarding. It has enriched me more than I ever imagined possible.

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808-956-8700 or send us a message.