Former College Summer Interns

The young adults who have served NCC as College Summer Interns over the years have come from many different backgrounds and they go into many different directions. The one thing they all have in common is their willingness to serve and work with others and their openness to grow. Below are some of the people who have completed the College Summer Internship at Nu‘uanu Congregational Church. 

James “Kimo” Akinaka
Nu‘uanu, O‘ahu
CSI 2013, 2014
University of Haverford, 2016
Major: English (concentration in creative writing) / Minor: Computer Science
While Kimo was in Philadelphia for college, he was an active member of Grace Covenant Church, a non-denominational intern-school church for colleges in the Mainline area. Kimo is a member of NCC, so he remains active in the church even though his days as a college intern are over. After graduation, he returned to Hawaii and participated in the Lana‘i Mission Trip for the first time since serving as an intern. Kimo was one of the photographers and also the recreation leader. Kimo is looking to get into the publishing industry and move to the mainland. He says, “I’m still not sure where I’ll end up (both in terms of work and location), but I have fond memories of my time as a College Summer Intern. I’ll always treasure the relationships and lifelong friendships that I’ve formed through the internship program, and I know that God will continue to guide me on my path.”

Mindy Bullock
CSI 2014
Fresno State University, 2017
Major: Liberal studies (emphasis in social institutions)
Since working as a summer intern, Mindy has been in school, helping her grandmother after the passing of her grandfather, mothering her canine children, getting to know her future in-laws, and planning a small wedding for the summer of 2017. After graduating, she plans to go directly into the teaching credential program at Fresno State.


Samantha Cardona
San Jose, California
CSI 2016
Back home in California, Sammie was very active in leading youth group at her church. After serving as a summer intern, she decided to stay in Hawai‘i to serve as the second Youth Ministry Intern at NCC for the 2016-2017 academic year. Her decision to be away from her family and home was not an easy one, but she is excited for what is in store. 



Janelle Chong
Aiea, Hawai‘i
CSI 2012
University of New Haven, 2013, 2015
Major: History and Global Studies (concentration in European Area Studies)
Master’s: Education
After her time as an intern at NCC, Janelle finished school and interned at a middle school in West Haven, CT while attending grad school and worked as a long-term substitute teacher for New Haven Public Schools. In 2014, she spent a month in Morocco on a Fulbright-Hays group project abroad grant. When she moved back to Hawaii, she tried out different jobs including working for the Boys and Girls Club, being an officer manager and guide for a local tour company, and working at her current school as an Educational Assistant and an afterschool care teacher. Janelle is currently a middle school teacher at SEEQS (The School for Examining Essential Questions of Sustainability) Public Charter School on Oahu. “It’s been quite the journey, and working as an NCC intern definitely prepared me to be my best self in my current vocation in the field of education as it helped me hone many life skills in terms of planning and working with all types of people to achieve common goals.”


Leilani Galindo
Kailua, O‘ahu
CSI 2012
Windward Community College / Pacific Northwest College of Art
Major: Art
Leilani has worked as an A+ leader at an elementary school and has volunteered at Pali Preschool. When school is in session, she resides in Portland where she attends an art school. 



Thomas Gomes
Kailua, O‘ahu
CSI 2015
George Fox University
Major: Business Management, Marketing, and Entrepreneurship
Thomas was really busy with school when the summer ended and was even part of his school's track team, running the 400-meter dash. The summer after serving as an NCC intern, Thomas worked as a management trainee intern at the Kyo-ya and Starwood hotels in Waikiki, which include the Sheraton Waikiki, the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana Surfrider, and the Princess Kaiulani. Between rotating through the different hotel departments, Thomas has been enjoying the new learning experiences. After school, he hopes to come back home and work for a local company in the hospitality industry. 


Kelsey Hamano
Nu‘uanu, Hawai‘i
CSI 2011, 2012
Claremont McKenna College, 2014
UH Manoa, 2019
Major: Psychology
Kelsey is a member of NCC and has served as a College Summer Intern two years in a row. She is currently attending the UH Nursing School in the graduate entry nursing program (GEPN) for her Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) as an Adult/Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP). She says nursing school has taught her a lot about acronyms (lol). In addition to being a full-time student, Kelsey is working part time at the Kapiolani Women’s Center as a business office assistant. When she’s done with school she hopes to find a job in Hawaii as an advanced practicing registered nurse (APRN) working more in the community, but she is open to whatever opportunity comes her way.


Jordan Kakugawa
Liliha, Hawai‘i
CSI 2015, 2016
George Fox University
Major: Mechanical Engineering / Minor: Math
Before Jordan returned to NCC as an intern for a second summer, he had the opportunity to spend three weeks in Asia where he visited Seoul, Hong Kong, Hanoi, and Ha Long Bay with a group of juniors from his university. This travel experience has of course inspired Jordan to explore more countries and cultures. While back home in Honolulu, Jordan also teaches tennis lessons. After completing his undergrad, he hopes to land a job either on the mainland or here in Hawai‘i. 


Alex Montiel
Merced, California
CSI 2013, 2013
CSU Stanislaus, 2013
Major: English / Minor: Communications
CSU Stanislaus, 2017
Master’s: EnglishAlex first served as an intern coordinator for the summer of 2012, then a summer intern the following year. After being a CSI in 2013, she returned home to California where she graduated with a degree in English then became a certified substitute teacher in California where she’s taught elementary and middle school students. During the 2014-2015 academic year, Alex moved to Hawaii to serve as one of two Youth Ministry Interns at NCC. When she returned home, she began graduate school at her alma mater for a master’s degree in English. She is excited to teach her first semester-long college course in fall 2017.


Andres Montiel
Merced, California

CSI 2014
UC Santa Barbara, 2017
Major: Film and Media Studies
Since being an intern at NCC, Andres has had many wonderful experiences within film and travel. He has done four film internships within his home university in California as well as in Hawaii. Andres has worked on a reality TV show, a promotional film teaser, and his first feature film. (Check out “Camino” on Netflix, the film Andres worked on in Hawaii!) The travel bug seems to have bitten Andres while he was studying abroad at Thammasat University in Thailand in the fall of 2016. He hopes to travel more in the future and work on movies in LA when he is done with school.
View Andres' documentary about the NCC Lana‘i Mission Trips here: "Wade in the Water" 


Henry Montiel
Madera, California
CSI 2015
Fresno City College; Fresno State
Major: Kinesiology
As a summer intern, Henry brought his music with him wherever he went. Since returning home after the internship, he has contributed a lot more to the praise and worship team at his own church. "The internship brought a lot of attributes and leadership skills to help me become a better leader here at my church and for the praise and worship team here." His current plans are to become a physical therapist or get his teaching credentials so he can head to the classroom, but like most of us, he is still not exactly sure what he wants to do. 

Makaiwa Tong
Hilo, Hawai‘i
CSI 2011, 2012
Mills College, 2015
Major: Fine Arts / Minor: Ethnic Studies
Makaiwa is currently working as a campus minister with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a non-profit organization. Her mission fields are UH Hilo and Hawaii Community College on the Big Island, where she calls home. In 2015, she married her best friend Maika‘i and they are expecting their first child (a boy) at the end of 2016! She has worked closely with the Hawaii Conference UCC to plan youth events. She has created “Mai Ka Mole,” an immersion experience with a vision of bridging culture and faith. Regarding her current life of lots of planning and doing, she says, “It’s almost as if I never left the internship, but I just brought it back here to Hilo.”


Rebecca Weible
Kaneohe, O‘ahu
CSI 2013
UH Manoa, 2016
Major: Marine Biology
Rebecca has a passion for marine life. If you go to the beach with her she will most likely name whatever marine species she sees! She studied abroad in Australia during the fall 2014 semester, participated in a research cruise to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands where her maritime heritage team discovered the lost sunken ship USS Mission San Miguel. As part of her honors project for school, she collected and studied micro-plastics in the Ala Wai Watershed. She’s continuing to gain experience driving boats, doing diving field schools, and teaching the scientific diving class at UH Manoa. She plans to take a break after completing her undergrad and may return to school for a masters of PhD after some time off. In that time she hopes to travel, do internships, and have some fun while gaining more experience.


Sarah Weible
Kaneohe, O‘ahu
CSI 2015
Kailua Christian Church
UH Manoa, 2018
After serving as an intern during the summer of 2015, Sarah continued her ministry at NCC throughout the school year working as a Youth Ministry Intern for the 2015-2016 academic year. She is continuing to pursue a degree in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and will eventually obtain her teaching license.



Lia Yamashiro
Mililani, O‘ahu
CSI 2014
UH Hilo, 2017
Major: Administration of Justice / Minor: Women’s Studies, Sociology
Lia has been working at the Hilo Medical Foundation on the Big Island and is helping with fundraisers and activities in hopes of helping people in Hilo get better medical care. She’s gained some experience in raising goats! She cares for two goats that she helped rescue. Lia has the usual hope of finding a job after she graduates, but isn’t too sure what she wants to do. If things go according to plan, she will be moving to California after graduation.


Mari Yoshida
CSI 2014
CSU Fullerton, 2014
Major: Child and Adolescent Development
Loma Linda University, 2019
Master’s: Occupational Therapy
Mari, originally from California, stayed with a church member during her time as an intern. Between conversations with the pastor and this church member who was an occupational therapist, Mari learned more about who she was and how she can contribute to society. She says, “This internship actually made a huge impact on what I’ve been up to since I came back to California.” After being a CSI, she immediately began volunteering in several settings—a pediatric therapy clinic, a skilled nursing facility, and a hospital rehab center—and took several prerequisite classes so she could apply for Occupational Therapy School. After a long application process and waiting period, Mari was accepted to the Master’s of Occupational Therapy Program and Loma Linda University, a faith-based, service-oriented Christian school. Since returning home after her summer as an intern, she became a member of a community taiko group (Japanese drum ensemble) as an inexperienced newcomer and is now one of the elite advanced members of the group. Mari’s hope is to make it through grad school and graduate with the knowledge, skills, and resources to be able to find a job that she can do for the rest of her working life. 


Kristen Young
Honolulu, Hawai‘i
CSI 2013
UH Manoa, 2016
Majors: Family Resources, Spanish
After being a summer intern at NCC, Kristen returned to work as NCC’s first Youth Ministry Intern for the 2013-2014 school year, then with different partners during the 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 school years. Up until graduation, she also worked on campus at the KOKUA Program, UH Manoa’s office for students with disabilities. Kristen attended the 2016 National Youth Event in Orlando, FL as a chaperone with four NCC youth who experienced the event for the first time. In the upcoming 2016-2017 academic year, Kristen will serve as a Young Adult Volunteer in Huanuco, Peru through the Presbyterian Mission Agency.
Follow her journey on her blog here: