Leila's Open Road
LEILA HOKULANI KAAEKUAHIWI POUSIMA
Natural Resource Policy Management Specialist
National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Being able to be in Hawaii, in my home, with my community, and working on initiatives to make all of those things better is everything to me.
- She always wanted to go into law, and she always wanted to give back to her community.
- In high school, she did some volunteering with environmental groups, and she also had a deep love of Hawaiian culture.
- She’d planned to just do a pre-law program, but an advisor encouraged her to talk to a Hawaiian studies counselor.
- They worked out a Hawaiian studies course for her, with a focus on Hawaiian politics and natural resource management.
- She then went to law school at the William S. Richardson School of Law at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.
- She became one of very few people in the world to earn a certificate in Native Hawaiian law.
- After school, she started at NOAA; she works on the Marine National Monument Program, which oversees four national monuments.
- The four monuments protect over 330,000 square miles of water, and diverse coral, fish and seabird populations.