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Verto Hawaii students are experiencing deep transformation on their semester. This week, Verto student Sophia Famiglietti shares her perspective on personal growth, support, and mentors that inspire you.

*** This is an example of a student’s experience from Fall 2021. Specific programming and activities are subject to change semester by semester.

Aloha everyone! Can you believe there are less than five weeks left? Before I came to Hawaii, I was repeatedly told that ‘Verto’ means transformation. Although this semester has experienced its fair share of ups and downs, there is no doubt that our community of students, staff, and faculty have transformed.

When you put a group of strangers together in an unfamiliar environment, there are bound to be obstacles. As we collectively have stretched outside of our comfort zones, we have consequently developed a tight-knit community. A feeling of distance between staff and students has transformed into a sense of trust.

In addition, I can’t speak for my classmates, but I can say that I’ve personally been affected by each one of my teachers here. I bring this up to emphasize the support and compassion portrayed in my learning experience with Verto. In the past, I thought my role as a student was to take in the information being lectured. After spending almost a full semester with the Verto Hawaii teachers, I now understand the reciprocal responsibility I have as a student to advocate my beliefs.

Unlike my past experiences in education, I feel heard and empowered to voice my opinions.

The sense of support I feel from staff and faculty is unlike anything I’ve ever felt. I feel appreciated, respected, and cared for by the Hawaii Verto team. I feel particularly impacted by my teachers because they have each brought a new perspective to my idea of higher education.

My rhetoric teacher, Krista, allows students to be unapologetically themselves. My psychology teacher, Dr. Beth, encourages a judgment-free safe place for students to be vulnerable. My sociology teacher, Professor J., portrays the significance of compassion in a learning environment. My ethics teacher, Joshua, displays an admirable extent of integrity. My environmental science teacher, Dr. Mo, emphasizes the importance of wit when learning something new.

I mention the personal impact I’ve experienced from these professors to highlight the inevitable transformation students will undergo during a semester with Verto. Although we have become better students in the classroom, we have evolved as well-rounded global citizens from existing in the same community as the Hawaii Verto team.

Mahalo to the staff and faculty here – we appreciate you!