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College of Humanities & Social Sciences

Rowan alums say "aloha" from the University of Hawaii

Say "Hawaii" and most of us picture palm trees and amazing beaches.  For alumni Omar Bird ('13) and Noreen Kohl ('13) Hawaii has come to represent their next big academic challenge:  participation in a Ph.D. program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.  Bird, who graduated with a Sociology major, and Kohl, a Journalism major/Sociology minor, were both accepted into a competitive doctoral program in Sociology at UH Manoa this past fall.

While academics were the main draw to UH Manoa, the location does have its perks.  Omar and Noreen cope with their stress of graduate school with the simple beauty of the Hawaiian island.  "The fact that I can go outside whenever and see beautiful beaches in walking distance, palm trees, and people outside cooking or playing in the grass, makes all the ‘hard stuff' manageable," Omar says.  While distraction may seem likely, Noreen finds studying in Hawaii is very "doable" and spends less time at the beach then she actually anticipated.  

Both New Jersey natives, Omar and Noreen both plan to visit their home state once a year as they complete their program.  Hawaii seems far but Omar says, "… to put it simply, I just had to work hard, had a vision to come out here and try something different with my life. Why not Hawaii?"

(L to R) Omar Bird and Noreen Kohl with Sociology professor Dr. Sandy Joy in Hawaii
(L to R) Omar Bird and Noreen Kohl with Sociology professor Dr. Sandy Joy in Hawaii