ASU political science student develops research skills through summer program
Taylor Acosta and KJ Soong will study sustainability and bring some of their island style to the ASU community
Aloha. It is the Hawaiian word for love, affection, peace, compassion, and mercy. It is generally used as a greeting, but for native Hawaiians it has deeper cultural and spiritual significance. In this context, it is used to describe a force that holds existence together.
This fall, Taylor Acosta and Kenneth “KJ” Soong are bringing aloha to the desert.
Cousins of the island state, they chose Arizona State University because they have no family in the desert. “We will be able to support each other,” Acosta said.
Their plans are to build on the university’s strengths in entrepreneurship and sustainability. Hawaii has sustainability issues, as Soong pointed out.
“Being from Hawaii, an island in the middle of the ocean, sustainability is the key to survival today and for future generations if ships one day stop arriving,” he said. “I chose ASU because I wanted to study sustainability and I knew ASU was one of the leading universities in the country. When I visited the Polytechnic Campus last fall, I knew this was the right fit for me coming from Hawaii.
The two cousins can’t wait to share some island culture with the community: some loco moco, ukulele and Tahitian dancing.
ASU Now told the cousins about their hopes and plans.
Question: What attracted you to your major?
Acosta: My career goal is to be an entrepreneur. ASU is the leader in innovation and sustainability, and I want to gain more creative knowledge about what it takes to successfully run my own business by incorporating sustainable practices into everything I do.
Q: What are you most excited about your first semester?
Soon : I am very excited to meet new people (and) to experience dorm life in addition to the freedoms and responsibilities of going to college and functioning on my own.
Acosta: I can’t wait to meet new people and am very excited for a little change in my life.
Moving from Hawaii to Arizona and learning to live on my own is a huge change for me. So I need to be able to make this adjustment and familiarize myself with a new adjustment.
Q: What do you like to brag about to your friends about ASU?
Acosta: I love telling my friends about all the different activities and events ASU has to offer new freshmen. ASU is so welcoming and they have so many fun activities planned for the year even in the midst of the COVID virus.
Soon : I love to brag about how amazing people are because everyone has been so welcoming and willing to help, especially since coming from out of state.
Q: What talents and skills do you bring to the ASU community?
Acosta: I love to dance. I have been dancing hula and Tahitian for 13 years. I hope to share my passion for dance with the ASU community.
Soon : Hawaiian cuisine (musubi and loco moco), entertainment (ukulele) are some of the talents I have to offer to the ASU community. Hawaii is a unique and diverse place and I hope to share some of our culture with the ASU community.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your college years?
Acosta: Earn my bachelor’s degree in sustainable development. I am a first generation student and sincerely hope to make the most of my college years. I want to have fun while discovering what really excites me. I hope to make lasting memories in and out of the classroom.
Soon : Achievements… the successful completion of a concurrent diploma. Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability and Bachelor of Science in Supply Chain Management. I also have the option of obtaining a certificate in intersectoral leadership. Networking is going to be the key and take the time to have fun!
Q: What’s an interesting fact about yourself that only your friends know?
Acosta: An interesting fact about me is that I love to sew. My grandmother taught me to sew when I was younger. I recently learned how to sew face masks during this pandemic for my family and friends.
Soon : An interesting fact about me is that I can play ukulele, guitar, and bass.
Q: If someone gave you $ 40 million to solve a problem in the world, what would you choose?
Acosta: The homeless problem in Hawaii becomes more and more urgent every year. Living on an island, there really aren’t that many places to go and this has already become a problem in my neighborhood. This issue is in desperate need of attention.
Soon : If I had $ 40 million, I would be part of the solution to solving ocean pollution. I really love surfing and marine life and it’s really sad when I’m there and see so much opala (garbage).