Kunia Resident Creates Scholarship Fund

Brittany Yap recently established a scholarship fund for Native Hawaiian students at HPU.

A Hawaii Pacific University alumna and Royal Kunia resident is giving back to the Native Hawaiian community and her school with the inception of an annual scholarship.

The Brittany Pohakea Yap Scholarship Fund will award one or two Native Hawaiian students up to $2,000 per year toward tuition costs. The deadline to apply for the Fall 2013 semester is April 5.

“I made being Native Hawaiian one of the requirements. That reflects on my education at Kamehameha Schools and giving back to my people in that sense,” explained Yap, who graduated from Kamehameha in 2002.

Yap graduated from HPU in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and again in 2008 with a master of arts in communication.

Aside from receiving education from HPU, the 28-year-old Yap also worked at the university as the assistant director of university relations and as an adjunct journalism instructor.

“I definitely feel loyalty for my alma mater,” Yap explained. “It’s home for me, and I just feel a connection to the school. I wanted to set it up with the school because of all they’ve done for me.”

Yap understands how hard it can be for students to pay for school.

“It’s always been a goal of mine to start up a scholarship fund,” explained Yap, who currently is the marketing and communications director of Kenner Dermatology Center and SkinHappy MediSpa in Kailua. “When I was trying to go to college, I must have applied for over 20 scholarships my incoming year as a freshman.

“I didn’t want to wait until I was 50 years old. As soon as I could, I wanted to help other people reach their dreams of getting a college education.”

While the scholarship will help students with the financial burden, Yap also hopes her actions will impact those in her community.

“It’s not a huge amount, and I’m hoping to grow it,” she said, adding that she hopes another $10,000 can be added to the scholarship amount within the next five years. “I also hope it shows students that a young alum can start giving back right away.

“But I also hope they get to know a little bit about my background and realize I’m also an alumna … and they can do that too hopefully, once they get set up with a career they can help someone else.”

Preference will be given to students with a minimum cumulative grade-point average of 3.0 and majoring in education, communication, English, journalism or humanities.

Those interested in applying can email scholarships@hpu.edu, call the HPU Scholarships Office at 566-2430 or visit hpu.edu/financialaid/Scholarships.