Michelle was born and raised in the Bay Area. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology from San Diego State University in 2001, and Master of Arts in Leadership at Saint Mary’s University of California in 2012. As the first member of her family to graduate from college, Michelle knows firsthand the challenges students can experience without proper support while navigating the higher education system and future career development.
Michelle’s connection and love for the Pacific Islander community were instilled through her upbringing. She was brought up in the tradition of Hawaiian culture by her mother, a woman born and raised in Hawaii of Puerto Rican descent.
Professionally, Michelle is a healthcare manager for a major health maintenance organization (HMO), and has worked in the industry for the last 14 years. While attending graduate school in 2011, she discovered her passion for mentoring and coaching others in their education and career pursuits.
Today, Michelle continues to be passionate about sharing her experiences as a means to elevate others in their educational and career pursuits. She is a busy mom of two teenagers and enjoys sharing her love of Hawaiian and Pacific Islander culture with them. We look forward to her inspiring and guiding our Recipients and future generations.