Chloe Culanding is a senior at UH Hilo, where she is majoring in biology with a minor in chemistry. She grew up in Chesapeake, Virginia, and is in her fourth year as a student-athlete on the women’s volleyball team at UH Hilo. She is a recipient of the Order of the Eastern Star Hawaii Chapter No. 1 Excellence Endowed Scholarship and the Leilani Arthurs STEM Endowed Scholarship. This is an excerpt of her thank you letter to the donors.
I chose to study at UH Hilo because of the exciting opportunities and learning experiences I will gain from attending a school so far away from home. My experience at UH Hilo is nothing but enjoyment and a learning experience on time management, self-discovery, and making memories with the people I meet along my journey here. I additionally learned how to be more independent and learned how to take care of myself mentally and physically.
My career goal after graduating from UH Hilo is to become a dentist. I plan to continue my studies at dental school in California, or anywhere that gives me the best opportunities. I hope to make an impact in the dental community by improving people’s oral care to prevent any chronic illnesses. I enjoy making people smile, so knowing that there is a career out there that lets me perfect someone’s smile while also helping their overall health is rewarding to me. I love the idea of what dentists do every day, like seeing a problem and coming up with a solution to then carry out in your own hands, right there.
My experience at UH Hilo is nothing but rewarding. My family was not too keen on the idea of me going to school 5,000 miles away from home as it was both expensive and not ideal for them. All my life, I have been longing to go to school far away from home to not only get my own space but to also learn about myself. I come from a family of seven with four younger siblings, making me the oldest of five. I longed for a place that gives me a chance to have my own space to focus on what I would like to do. The opportunity arose when I got a spot on the volleyball team, and my family finally caved in to letting me pursue this dream. I am nothing but grateful to them for letting me attend such a beautiful campus. The professors at the university are understanding and willing to work with students outside of class. The Hilo community is very welcoming, and I just felt like I was at home with such hospitable people. I hope to continue my experience and journey at UH Hilo of learning more about myself and branching out to meet new people and build relationships within the community.
To my donors:
I would like to take this time to thank you for supporting me. You have given me the opportunity to further my education and time here at UH Hilo, and I am forever grateful. I am blessed with such kind people who help me in my journey to pursue my dream career. This opportunity definitely helps me and my family with financial issues and lessens the stress so I can focus on my studies and volleyball. Thank you so much again for this opportunity!