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Session Title

1123: The Pacific Islander Institute: Creating ocean

Session Times

Tuesday, May 28: 9:00-11:30 a.m. and 1:30-5:30 p.m.


“The Pacific Islander Institute: Creating Ocean” will cover an introduction of services, programs, and narratives of our Pacific Islander community in higher education. Oceania is the largest body of water on earth, but is home to one of the least known communities on college campuses throughout the United States. 

This session should particularly benefit those who are seeking to enhance their knowledge of Oceania, the narratives of her people, land, ocean, and best practices that empower Pacific Islander communities to excel in higher education. We will also address the specific needs and support (or lack thereof) for Pacific Islanders within ascribed “Asian and Pacific Islander” spaces and explain the unique trajectory of indigenous Pacific Islander communities. Explore, share, learn, and reimagine what you know about the people of the Pacific Ocean.

Our presenters range from folks in the higher education, public health, community organizations, private sector, staff, faculty, and cultural practitioners.


Laurie Franklin, MEd, Everett Community College

Va’eomatoka Valu, Kelly Ethnic Center, University of Washington

Brett Kuwada, PsyD

Virginia Luka, MS, Multnomah County Public Health Department

Vidalino Raatior, EdD, Co-founder, Pacific FocusEd

David Ga’oupu Matthew Palaita, PhD, Associate Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies and Critical Pacific Islands and Oceania Studies City, College of San Francisco (Ocean Campus)

Makerusa Porotesano, MEd, Coordinator of the Multicultural Center, Portland Community College