Meet the Team


 Axel J. Defngin

Axel-DefnginPosition: Team Leader & Producer
Major: Liberal Studies
Island: Yap, Federated States of Micronesia

My name is Axel J. Defngin, Yapese, born and raised in Hilo, Hawai’i. Due to financial struggles in 2008, my family and I moved to Yap and went on to graduate Valedictorian of my class from Yap Seventh-day Adventist School, Senior Class of 2013. I am currently attending University of Hawai’i at Hilo, majoring in Communications. When I graduate, I hope to work to sustain a living for myself and my family as well as give back to my Pacific Islander community.
I bring a willingness to learn, perform outreach to our Pacific Islander community and help our young Pacific Islander students get their story out. Coming from two backgrounds, I also have a better inter-cultural understanding of two worlds here in my hometown/state and in Micronesia. Being on the Media Team will definitely help me attain new skills and build a stronger connection with the community… as well as help me pay the bills.

Erbiland Mandira

Erbiland-MandiraPosition: Technical Editor / Producer
Major: Communication
Island: Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands

I was born and raised in the Marshall Islands. I completed my high school diploma back in 2000 and my Associate of Arts degree in Liberal Arts in 2011. I spent around six years in the media broadcasting field as a Technical Specialist doing all the program pre-recording, editing, and help out with any video production of the network. I also spent three years at a family owned company working as an IT – managing all the company digital files and monitoring the whole network system, and providing technical supports if needed. I am on my current goal to pursue a higher education on my most interesting fields of study.

Kathleen “Kathy” Gikbay

team-Kathy-GikbayPosition: Volunteer / Reporter
Major: Communication
Island: Yap, Federated States of Micronesia

My name is Kathy Gikbay. I am Yapese and was and raised here in the heart of Hilo town. I graduated from Hilo High school. I am currently a junior majoring in Communication here at UH Hilo. After I graduate from UH Hilo, I hope to teach as an elementary school teacher. I love working with kids and education and learning is very important at a young age. Strength(s) that I can bring to the project are social media usage. I love to work on social networks and put together a project like this one because it is educational, for awareness and many people will learn from it.
Being a communication major, this would be a great opportunity to put my skills at work. From listening to communicating with others and possibly interviewing others. Being part of this media team, gives myself as a student and others from the Pacific island group to voice out our story. So What’s Your Story?

Calvin Myazoe

Calvin-MyazoeTitle: Producer
Major: Business
Island: Majuro, Republic of the Marshall Islands

Calvine was born and raised in the Marshall Islands, but attended and graduated from San Lorenzo High School in California. He went on and attended the College of the Marshall Islands (CMI) studying Liberal Arts while also working full time for the Bank of the Marshall Islands. He is currently studying Accounting at UH Hilo and also serve as the Male Sports Coordinator for Marshallese Iakwe Club (MIC). His main goal is to graduate with a degree and to further his studies in accounting. Calvin coordinates all the Center’s community outreach efforts including the What’s Our Story?, Island Time, and Community Service project.

Bill K. Yang

Position: Reporter & Producer
Major: Communication
Island: Kosrae, Federated States of Micronesia

Paing Kom! My name is Bill K. Yang, from the island of the sleeping lady, Kosrae and Guang Zhou, China. I graduated in 2014 from Pohnpei Seventh-Day Adventist(S.D.A.) High School. I am currently a sophomore at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, majoring in Computer Science. I wanted to join the Media Team because I love taking pictures and video. I also love playing with media related things. I have been involved with events that needed media or tech. help, such as video taping, taking pictures, or just playing music at events. By joining the Media Team, I’d like to learn new skills and knowledge as well as to help the team achieve its goals.

Vester “Boomer” Robester

Position: Producer
Major: Marketing
Island: Yap & Pohnpei, Federated States of Micronesia

My roots are heavily intertwined with the University of Hawaii at Hilo and the Pacific Islander community.  My grandfather attended this University, my parents met at the Assistant Student Housing on campus, and I attended every International Night until I left Hawaii at the age of 10.  I am a passionate individual who genuinely cares about the PI groups on campus and the future of the community.  Currently I am a Marketing major, planning to minor in Sociology.  My long-term goal upon graduating is to continue my path through higher education and eventually work in the nonprofit sector with the support of my degrees.

Isalei R. Afioa’e

Position: Producer
Major: Undeclared
Island: Tafuna, American Samoa

I am from American Samoa and a current student in UH Hilo. I come from a competitive yet supportive family. I graduated from Tafuna High School as co-salutatorian and was highly engaged in science fair competitions and science symposiums. I placed first in my category in our 2014-2015 island-wide science fair and tenth in our 2015 island-wide science symposium. My work ethics includes integrity, reliability and dedication. I am fairly known for being honest and straightforward and I put faith into what I am performing or what I am engaging in. I am an easy-going, happy-go-lucky, energetic person. I want to work within the law enforcement field and although I am not sure what type of position I would like to work as, I am still aiming for a position where I get to be adventurous and highly engage in helping people.

Lindon Fanbit Likiche

Position: Volunteer
Lindon LikicheMajor: Liberal Arts
Island: Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia

My name is Lindon Likiche. I am a student at the Hawaii Community College Hilo and majoring in Liberal Arts with emphasis on Human Services.I am originally from the outer islands of Chuuk (FSM) , but my family moved to Hawaii in 2004 when I was 10 years-old for a better education. I am the sixth child out of eight. I am first amongst my sibling to graduate in the U.S. I graduated from Pahoa, Hawaii in 2012. I graduated High-school without a plan. At first I only came to college “just because my parents said I had to” but after a few semesters, I finally started to realize what i want. From there I joined the Student Council at Hawaii community College to gain some experiences. I feel I have grown a little after joining all these programs and volunteering around. I can really gain a little more experience and also share my experiences. If anything is new I am open to learning new things.

Peter P. Ramofolo

Peter-RamofoloPosition: Volunteer (Graduated)
Major: Communication
Island: Malaita, Solomon Islands

My name is Peter Ramofolo.  I was born and raised in Solomon Islands.  I worked as a Public Relations office for one of the biggest companies back home called Solomon Islands National Provident Fund for more than 5 years before coming to Hilo to study.  My role as a PR officer is to foster goodwill between the company and its members and its various publics.  Since people are sometimes hard to understand, having good PR skills is essential.  That is what I hope to bring to the team–some of my experiences–but even more to learn more from different team members.  One of my strengths is I’m willing to learn new things and getting to know different people’s way of viewing things from their own unique point of view.  I’m of the view that if you believe that it can be done then you are already halfway through to making it happen.

Team Supervisor

Vidalino Raatior

staff-vid_000Director, Pacific Islander Student Center & AANAPISI Project
Campus Center 311

Vid comes to UH Hilo from Santa Clara University where he worked as the Assistant Director in the International Programs Office and as Associate Director of the Center for Multicultural Learning for over 10 years. He has also worked as Assistant Director and as a teacher at Xavier High School in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Originally from Chuuk, FSM, Vid received his bachelors degree in communication from the University of Guam, masters degree in school administration from University of San Francisco, and currently working on his doctorate at UH Manoa’s College of Education. Through his Raatior Ventures for Social Good & Innovations in the Pacific, Vid founded the Santa Cruz WordPress Meetup, Fanapi Foundation, Raatior [web] DesignChuuk Reform Movement,  and the Fanapi CARE project.  You can read up on his reflections on his personal blog: