Nikki Dutro , a 2015 Honolulu Community College alumna, was awarded the University of Hawaiʻi Presidential Scholarship. The award, given to incoming juniors, includes a full tuition waiver for 2 years, a $4,000 a year stipend, and a $2,000 travel grant. Dutro will be enrolling at UHM this coming fall, majoring in Sociology.

Nikki took time out of her busy schedule to share with us her experiences at HonCC and what the future holds for her.

UHM Presidential Scholarship winner, 2015 HonCC Alumna, Nikki Dutro, and her mother, Faerie Dutro

Tell me a little about yourself? Where are you from? What high School did you graduate from? What are you currently studying?

I was born in Kalihi, raised in Pearl City, and am currently living in Mililani. I am a 2012 Moanalua High graduate and graduated from Honolulu Community College in 2015. This fall I will begin working on my Sociology degree at UHM, plan on enrolling in the Honors Program, and may possibly pursue a double major or minor.

Why did you choose to come to Honolulu CC?

Honestly, I chose Honolulu CC for its convenience and affordability. The commute was easier, since I’m able to carpool with my mother to her job in Kalihi. It was more convenient then taking the bus to Leeward CC and I ultimately didn’t enroll in UHM because it was outside of my means, even with financial aid. It was a considerable investment for my family and I decided that enrolling in a CC would enable me to improve my academic record, save on expenses and allow me to work part time so that I wouldn’t have to take out a loan to complete my education.

Tell me about your time here at the college?

I loved being a student at HonCC, which became a second home to me during the three years I was a student there. , It was a place I became familiar with, comfortable in, and helped me grow personally and academically. I was fortunate to have the professors I did, many of whom were influential to me.

What are your future plans for UHM and beyond?

I intend to be fully committed to making the most out of my education. I look forward to exploring the options a bigger campus that has more resources. I hope to get involved in research projects, undertake an internship, and become a mentor to future students, especially transfer students like me.

Beyond UHM, I hope to continue presenting my work at various academic conferences. When I applied for my scholarship I mentioned that I would like to undertake internships worldwide because it will allow me to bring back a variety of ideas, strategies, and thought-processes back to Hawaiʻi.

Establishing a career as a researcher would be incredible. I hope to be fortunate enough to study/work abroad as it would expand my horizons and further contribute an international perspective to our island home so that it could improve it and its laws. Eventually I would like to earn a law degree so that I can truly server and protect the community that I have come to love.

Who inspires you?

I’ve been fortunate to have people come into my life who’ve inspired me, including my father and three older siblings. However, my mother has always been at the forefront. She has always loved me unconditionally, and encouraged me in all of my pursuits, even the ones that have scared her. She is the hardest working woman I know. Her strength, the sacrifices she has made, and the struggles she has endured have inspired me to work harder. I am able to do what I do because of the environment she created for me.