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March 27, 2020
  • Celebrating the Dill Scholarship at UH Hilo on Dec. 17, 2019, were (L-R, back) scholarship recipients Yeshaya Amichai and Abigayle Coleman, donor Susie Dill, scholarship recipient Alaka‘i Iaea-Russell and Dr. Katherine Young, political science & admin. of justice, with (front) Susie & John’s children Sophia, Julia & Grady Dill.
John Dill (BA ’02 Hilo)

John Dill (BA ’02 Hilo)

The everyday lives of legislative interns are frenetic and unpredictable. One moment they answer calls or respond to emails from concerned constituents; the next they run from office to office for signatures.  Often working late into the evening, they wolf down hurried meals when they have a few moments, then get a rideshare home. A few short hours later, they’re up with the sun and starting over. A new day may be more of the same, or perhaps it will require complicated spreadsheets with links to news stories, or guided tours of the capitol building.

Still they thrive, understanding their important role in the legislative process and the valuable education they gain in these highly sought-after positions.

“Working in Senator Brian Schatz’s Honolulu office is a wonderful opportunity. I’m making the most of my time here,” says Yeshaya Amichai, a political science major at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo. “I’m proud to represent UH Hilo, and grateful and honored to receive this scholarship.”

Serving the people

Yeshaya is a recipient of the John & Susie Dill State/Federal Government Student Internship, which provides financial support to UH Hilo student interns serving Hawai‘i State Legislators or members of the U.S. Congress.  Funding assists with transportation, housing, stipends, or tuition when the internships are part of students’ coursework.

“We are very honored and grateful to have received such a generous gift from the Dill family to support our legislative interns,” says Dr. Katherine Young, UH Hilo Political Science and Administration of Justice department chair.

Another recipient, Alaka‘i Iaea-Russell, is an intern with Hawai‘i state senator Kaiali‘i Kahele. Alaka‘i shared her goal of representing the youth of Hawai‘i and Hawaiian women who have an interest in politics:

“I koʻu huʻeaʻo ʻana ma ke keʻena o Kenekoa Kahele i kēia kau kupulau 2020, ke manaʻolana nei au e kū kumu hoʻohālikelike na nā ʻōpio Hawaiʻi a keu hoʻi nā wāhine Hawaiʻi e ʻimi ana i ke komo i loko o ka politika e maʻamaʻalea ai nā ʻike a pau o ke kālaiʻāina iā ʻoukou. E paʻu ma ka hana me ka ʻoi kelakela e hoʻohaʻaheo ai i ko kākou lāhui Hawaiʻi. Ua hele aku au me ka manaʻo paʻa. Ua paio aku au me ka manaʻo koa. Ua lanakila au me ka manaʻo pono. Ua mākaukau au me ka manaʻo wiwo ʻole.”

Positive impact

An intern in Schatz’s Washington, D.C. office, Abigayle Coleman says, “I’m seeing democracy in action, and I’m thankful for this chance to follow my dreams as an intern, serving the senator and the people of Hawai‘i.”  

This is exactly why Susie Dill, an accounting instructor at Hawai‘i Community College, established the scholarship in memory of her late husband John, a UH Hilo alumnus who majored in political science.  “I am hoping for interns to engage actively in this country’s democratic process, so they can make positive impacts in our communities,” she says.  “Endowing this fund is especially meaningful; it assures me that John’s legacy and belief in the democratic system will carry forward with future generations of students.”

If you would like to learn how you can support UH students and programs like this, please contact us at 808 376-7800 or send us a message.