AAUW Honolulu Start Smart Ambassador, Coreen Healani Kuʻulei Dijos: In Her Own Words


My name is Coreen Healani Kuʻulei Dijos, but I prefer to go by Lei. I was born and raised in Kaneohe and I am a happily married wife with three amazingly, beautiful children.

My hobbies include spending quality time with my family, learning more about the Hawaiian culture (hula, oli, ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi (Hawaiian language), moʻolelo (stories), and giving back to the Native Hawaiian community.

I recently received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work this past spring semester and will be pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work with a concentration in behavioral/mental health this upcoming fall 2016 semester.

Pursuing social work as a career has always been a passion of mine because I enjoy helping people who need that motivational support and encouragement to empower themselves and others who need their support and guidance. I would also have to say that becoming a social worker has been a calling for me because situations throughout my life have always occured when some sort of facilitating, counseling, and/or redirecting is needed.

It keeps me grounded to know that I can really make a difference in peopleʻs lives. Itʻs also a very rewarding experience to witness individuals transform and want to help others in return.

I could not have accomplished my educational goals if it were not for the support of my husband, children, and the Native Hawaiian community. There are no words to explain how much gratitude I have for every individual that has made a tremendous impact upon my and my familyʻs life.

I have been extremely blessed to have had most of my educational costs covered by Native Hawaiian grants and scholarships. And this is why my ultimate goal will be to open up my own non-profit organization that will cater to the needs of Native Hawaiian individuals and families. Native Hawaiians are among the most prevalent underrepresented population in Hawaii and it is sad to see people of Hawaii struggling in their own homeland. This is why it is so important for me to help guide, support, and educate my people on how the key to success in life is EDUCATION. Without advanced education, the Native Hawaiian people will continue to struggle and I cannot bear to see any more of my people struggling to make ends meet.

I am so excited to be a part of AAUW as the Student Ambassador for AAUWʻs Honolulu Branch Start Smart program because I believe that it is important for all women to be aware of whatʻs occurring in todayʻs social/economical workforce realm. There are many women in todayʻs workforce who are intimidated by our male counterparts, but that should not be the case. We need to spread awareness to all women by educating them on how women are just as important as men are in todayʻs society by providing them with effective tools/techniques to prepare them for not only the real world, but also the workforce in general.

I am also part of the AAUW-SM student board for the University of Hawaii at Manoa. As Secretary for AAUW-SM my main role will entail communicating effectively for the student board, AAUW-SM members, and volunteers.

Mahalo nui loa (thank you very much) to the AAUW Honolulu Branch for giving me this opportunity to make a difference in many womensʻ lives!