Posted on July 11, 2015
Pacific Islander Research Retreat!
By Sina Uipi
Last week I participated in a 3 day research retreat that brought together 16 members of the EPIC Navigators Task Force. As an Islander, I understand the significance of working together for the betterment and well-being of our community as a whole. That is why I consider Empowering Pacific Islander Communities (EPIC) as family, because much like APIOPA, we’re both driven by compassion to create the spaces needed to build a better future for our communities. EPIC Board Member Natasha Saelua, a doctoral student at Denver University, along with two of her colleagues, Dr. Gildersleeve and Brenda Sifuentez, partnered with EPIC to design a youth participatory action research project. There is little to no research specifically on Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander’s, so this is a great opportunity to not only learn research skills, but it provides a platform for us to shift the narrative of how we are represented, or underrepresented, in a larger context. The focus was civic engagement and it was our task as a team to explore what that looks like in Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander communities and begin the research process!
It was a privilege to be amongst a powerful group of determined people who are committed to lifting up our communities. If this was any indication of what graduate school is like, it sparked my curiosity and excitement since it is on my long list of goals to accomplish within the next few years. There are so many details when it comes to conducting research, but I began to understand the process behind it a little better and felt confident that we could do it. We got to brainstorm ideas of what type of research project we would like to work on so that we can produce data specific to our communities. In addition, there are so many directions it could go in, for example, it could potentially get published in scholarly work and help organizations like EPIC and APIOPA develop programs that will meet the community’s needs. I won’t reveal too much just yet, but I will say the project is based on NHPI youth leadership development and the impact it has on their participation in civic engagement. I can’t wait to see where this will take us and I am truly honored to be apart of this amazing experience! Stay tuned:)