School of Social Work

Social Work Peer Mentors

Michael Paeste is a second year MSW candidate from Kapolei. Hawaii. He graduated from Hawaii Pacific University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Social Work. Michael currently volunteers with Camp C.R.E.A.T.E. One Ohana, Hawaii Youth Coalition, GSA Hawaii, Kapolei High School Marching Band, and HPU Social Work Club and Phi Alpha Honor Society. Michael has worked at the Life Foundation as the GSA Hawaii Coordinator overseeing 22 GSAs statewide.

Michael’s social work interest is LGBTQ advocacy, international social work, and community/organizational development. Michael’s email address is:

Hi my name is Ashley Bonton.  I am from San Francisco, California but also grew up in Louisiana.  I like to volunteer with youth, play volleyball and soccer, and traveling the world exploring new places and taking pictures for the memories.  I primarily want to work in social work helping  youth dealing with trauma or with military families. My HPU email is the best way to get a hold of me:, or you can text me at (757) 701-0653.

I'm from Green River, Wyoming. I would like to pursue my Social Work career either clinically or working within a university setting helping/guiding college students. I enjoy exploring the island of Oahu by going on hikes, surfing, and relaxing at different beaches.

My HPU email is the best way to get a hold of me over the summer: I do not mind getting texts also. My cell number is (307) 871-5685.

Hello my name is Paola Charry, I am a second year MSW student originally from Colombia-South America. I graduated from Chaminade University of Honolulu in 2013 with a Bachelor in Arts Degree in Psychology. During my first year practicum at HPU, I worked with Kalihi-Palama Health Center and gained experience working with people from different cultural background. Also I had the opportunity to be selected for Nan Chun Shil Foundation and Rotary Club of Honolulu to participated in an international humanitarian trip to Philippines to help in a relief project after Typhon Yolanda, this experience increased my passion for social work career. My social work interest include international social work, program development, and social policy. I have also recently begun exploring a passion in food sustainability and its connection to social justice. I like to speak Spanish, to dance,  and to cook Colombian food. My e-mail address is

Marie Alimbuyao is a part-time Advance Standing MSW candidate from Ewa Beach, Hawaii. She graduated from HPU in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work with a Minor in Psychology. She is a member of Phi Alpha Honor Society and have been involved with the Social Work Club. She currently works at Queens Medical Center Honolulu as a Social Work Associate, which consists of discharge planning with multidisciplinary teams, individuals and families. Marie will be doing her practicum at St. Francis Hospice in the Bereavement Program in the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters. Her social interests include geriatric population, hospice, healthcare, mental health and homelessness. Marie’s email address is:

Picture of colleen Zamemba

Colleen Zaremba is a second year MSW candidate originally from Fort Worth, Texas. She graduated from Touro University International in Cypress, California with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Business Administration. During her first year practicum at HPU, she worked with the Hawaii State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and gained knowledge in policy work, community engagement efforts, and intervention and preventative measures for domestic violence at the Marco level. Colleen is involved with several clubs here at HPU and enjoys being involved in local events that support the community. Her social work interests include social policy, youth development, domestic violence advocacy, women’s rights and international social work. Her email address is

Kirsten Thornton is a third year MSW student from Seattle, Washington. She graduated from the University of Washington in 2011 with a Bachelors of Arts Degree in English and African and African Diaspora Studies. Kirsten is currently a secondary math teacher at India Education Methods. She was elected as the 2014-2015 Student Body Vice President and United Nations Club President. She is also involved with many other clubs at HPU and encourages her fellow MSWs to get involved as well! Kirsten's social work interests are racial justice, social policy, youth development and education, and international social work.  Her email address is:

Danielle Allen is in her final year of a 3-year MSW program.  She grew up on Long Island, New York and received her undergraduate degrees in Human Development and Philosophy at SUNY Binghamton in New York.  Her social work interests include international social work, mental health, youth, and medical social work.  She is also one of the Humanities and Social Sciences Senators for the HPU Student Government.  She has done her practicums at APS Healthcare case management services and Hui Malama o ke Kai, and ocean-based after school recreation program in Waimanalo.  Her email address is

Mark Christiansen was born and raised in the Washington DC Metro Area, but moved to Salt Lake City to attend the University of Utah for college. In the Fall of 2014, he will be in his final year of the MSW program.   He has a strong passion for, and interest in mental health, especially with regards to the research and treatment of schizophrenia, as well as interests in international social work, advocacy for the homeless, and social justice. He loves cooking Korean and Thai food and spending time outdoors with his dog. 

 Mark knows that beginning graduate school can be a difficult process -- not just academically rigorous, but mentally and emotionally taxing as well. He is familiar with what incoming students can struggle with; especially if they arrive from a different state to a place without a social support system which can make the first year of school difficult. He is excited to help any student with any advice, to share experiences, or just be a new friend or a familiar face. He is happy to help anyone with support and is looking forward to the many activities the peer mentorship program will be happy to include you in! Please feel free to email Mark at

My name is Cammie Perretta and I am a second year, full time MSW student. I am originally from Oxford, Ohio and I have also lived In Pennsylvania and Washington. I graduated from Saint Martins University in Lacey, Washington in 2013 with a degree in Psychology. During my first year practicum at HPU, I worked with HCAP Leeward where I did case management and developed Stepping Stones: A Homeless Health Project in order to to provide support and education to those living in an unsheltered community near the Waianae Boat Harbor. My social work interests include mental health, homeless outreach, and nutrition and sustainability related to social justice. In my spare time I enjoy hiking with my dogs, going to the beach, and working as a horseback trail guide.
Don't hesitate to contact me, my email address is:

Camika L Lopez

Camika is a 1st year graduate student of social work at Hawaii Pacific University. She is originally from Montgomery, Alabama. Camika has been married almost 11 years to Major Edgar Lopez and they have 2 children Elizabeth (9) and Elias (4). In addition Camika has a Masters of Administration from Central Michigan University and a B.A. in Psychology from Tuskegee University.