Kathrynn Hamada’s journey to graduation shows that not all students reach this milestone on a direct path, but rather arrive via a winding road. Hamada is an outstanding family and consumer sciences graduate in the School of Education who transferred to Colorado State University sight unseen after her freshman year.
Hamada grew up in Mililani, Hawaii, on the island of Oʻahu, and spent her first year of college at the University of Hawaii in their nursing program. Once she decided to leave the program, which was her reason for staying on the island, she realized there was an opportunity to transfer to a university on the mainland.
“I found out that CSU offered the Western Undergraduate Exchange – WUE – scholarship and had the major I wanted to pursue at the time, nutrition,” said Hamada. “Plus, the campus just looked really nice on the CSU website.”
Hamada had never been to Colorado before she arrived in Fort Collins to start at CSU. “When I moved here, everything and everyone was new,” she said. “It was a large adjustment, especially culturally, and took some time getting used to it. I think that I was able to better overcome these obstacles by viewing every experience – good and bad – as a learning opportunity.”
During her first semester at CSU, her grandfather passed away. She had spent every weekend for about six years prior to transferring taking him grocery shopping with her mom.
“I enjoyed simply taking him shopping and helping him run errands and it was what helped me realize my passion for helping others,” she said. “It is what pushed me to initially pursue a degree in nursing, and without my experience at the University of Hawaii, it never would have led me to CSU. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my grandpa.”
Finding family and consumer sciences
On the advice of her friend Emma Atchison, a spring 2021 family and consumer sciences graduate, Hamada took the Introduction to Family and Consumer Sciences class taught by Dawn Mallette, associate professor in the School of Education, who Atchison found to be a great, supportive adviser. While taking the class, Hamada realized it was the perfect combination of her academic interests, balancing hard sciences such as human physiology with social sciences such as human development. Hamada is complimentary of her professors at CSU.
“I am extremely appreciative and thankful for the support I have received from professors, even ones not in my major or department, during my time at CSU,” she said. “I am especially grateful for my adviser, Dawn Mallette, who has supported and encouraged me every step of the way.
Activities at CSU
Hamada was a member of the CSU club tennis team for two years, with a break in between because there were no competitions scheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She worked as a transfer transition leader, part of Orientation and Transition Programs at CSU.
“My role as a transfer transition leader has been enjoyable and eye-opening,” Hamada said. “It has been a great experience helping students who were in similar situations as I was in when I first came to CSU.”
The program helped her gain skills and confidence during her time at CSU. She says she especially gained confidence co-leading small groups during the Virtual Ram Orientation. “I have grown a lot since transferring to CSU and my experiences here have shaped me into who I am today,” she said.
Plans after graduation
After graduation, Hamada plans to move home to Hawaii and spend time with her family. She is considering a master’s program in Student Affairs and Higher Education. “If I do decide to pursue that degree, I know that CSU has a great program and I would not mind coming back to Fort Collins,” she said with a smile.
As far as what she will miss the most, Hamada says she will miss the people she has met and the friends who have become her family.
“To me, my experiences at CSU wouldn’t be what they are without the people in my life,” she said. “They have made CSU and Colorado feel like a home. They are what I am most grateful for in all of my time here at CSU.”