Dual Degree Student Voices

Craig Kandler

Craig Kandler
Oahu, Hawai‘i

Mathematics Program

BS Math, 2013
Hawai‘i Pacific University

MS Mechanical Engineering (2015)
University of Hawaii

I found out about HPU through my high school guidance counselor. She mentioned HPU as good school on-island and as a possible alternative to the University of Hawaii. I ended up choosing HPU because they offered me a full-tuition academic scholarship.

I entered the university in the fall of 2009. My intention after graduating from high school was to pursue a degree in a field of engineering; however HPU didn’t have an engineering program. What they had instead was a 3-2 program, where I would spend 3 years at HPU taking General Education courses as well as various math courses, followed by 2 years at either USC or Washington University in St. Louis completing my engineering degree. After five years I would have had two degrees, one in mathematics from HPU and one from the other school in engineering. This was my original plan at HPU.

The only problem was that my HPU scholarship would only last for the three years I was attending HPU. My final two years at USC/Washington would possibly be be unaided and potentially more expensive. I decided instead to pursue a four-year Applied Mathematics degree at HPU and then apply to a graduate program in mechanical engineering. I am set to graduate this May and have gotten into the Master’s program in mechanical engineering at Oregon State University.

I really like the diversity at HPU. In my four years at HPU I have made friends from at least 10 different countries, as well as from the continental U.S. It’s a lot of fun because all the different people bring their ideas and experiences together in one setting. It makes for a very unique experience, both inside and outside the classroom. HPU worked out well for me because, although I wasn’t born in Hawaii, I have spent the last 17 years of my life growing up here and have experienced little outside of the state.

I spent my four years at HPU on the university cross country team. The team is as diversified as the school itself is. Many of my best friends have been on the team and I have developed long-lasting relationships with them. Some of my best college experiences have come from my time spent with the team. Training together every morning, traveling to big meets on the mainland, and spending weekends at the beach with the same people for four years is an experience I will always remember. 

I also feel that my education at HPU will help me in the future. As I mentioned before, there is a lot of diversity at this university. As the world becomes more and more interconnected, intercultural communication becomes more and more important. I feel that learning in an environment where so many of my classmates and professors have vastly different ideas about life has opened me up to understanding and becoming more mindful of other cultures. This will be an important asset when I go to graduate school and then into the real world.