By Roadtrip Nation

Leila Hokulani Kaaekuahiwi Pousima



My road in life took a while to figure out.
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.
Keep following my journey


High School
Cultural Studies/Critical Theory and Analysis
University of Hawaii at Manoa
Business Administration and Management, General
University of Hawaii at Manoa
University of Hawaii at Manoa


Natural Resource Policy Management Specialist

I advocate for environmental and cultural policy related to marine protected areas in the Pacific.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Environment & Nature
Helping People

Day to Day

A lot of what I do is working with partners to get our mandates done. A good day at work includes meeting with partners and making progress on these mandates, even when stances differ. Any time that I am learning new things about my field is a good day.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Start volunteering for organizations that promote what you are passionate about. Get to know the people who are experts in that field. See if you can gain a mentor in one of these people at a very early stage.

Recommended Education

My career is related to what I studied. I'd recommend the path I took:

Business Administration and Management, General


The Noise I Shed

From Myself:

"I'm never going to get into law school, I should just do something easier. "

Challenges I Overcame


Interviewed By

Setting Course

Setting Course

Hawaii Roadtrip