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Passion to Serve

Class of 2018 Psychology and Communication Studies graduate Uakea Jose will spend the next year serving in the Ignatian Service Corps as a Homeless Outreach Coordinator for the Venice Family Clinic. Hailing from Kekaha, HI, Uakea is confident her time at LMU has prepared her to boldly live out the Jesuit mission beyond the bluff. 

“I feel like I’m graduating with a greater sense of leadership and compassion towards others,” Uakea said. “Values I don’t think I would have developed so intensely had I not attended LMU.”

In her new role, Uakea will be working in program development with the homeless population in nearby Venice and Santa Monica, and feels her communication courses in the Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts (BCLA) will aid her in the position.

Uakea says one of her favorite BCLA courses was “Intercultural Communication,” taught by Professor Kristo Gobin, exploring communication and respect in regards to other cultures.

“It taught me how to share and be vulnerable,” Uakea said. “Moreover, to listen to the stories of others and have empathy and apply that empathy to people I don’t have a lot in common with.”

The recipient of LMU’s 2018 Marian Award for excellence in leadership, service and academia, as well as a Presidential Citation, Uakea says she was drawn to LMU for its top-ranked academic programs and Jesuit mission.

“I found the LMU community to be incredibly strong and supportive,” Uakea said. “It’s a joy to discover campus and meet your peers during your first weeks on the bluff.”

A particular highlight of Uakea’s LMU experience was an Alternative Break trip to Chicago that focused on understanding racism on the individual, institutional and societal levels. Participants had the chance to take part in antiracism and oppression workshops and grassroots exposure with several community organizations.

“It was a very transformative adventure that made me realize my own biases in regards to race,” Uakea said. “We got to go into the community and see how race intersects with a lot of other issues, like gentrification and poverty.”

In addition to her coursework, Uakea was involved on campus in a variety of areas, including as student manager for Mane Entertainment and president of Creare service organization, as well as with Campus Ministry and the service organization council.

Looking to the future, Uakea says she hopes to attend graduate school and return to Hawaii following her year of service.

As for what advice she has for future lions? 

“Embrace the uncomfortable,” Uakea said. “It’s usually when you’re most uncomfortable that you’re learning the most