News at Smith

Honors Students Visit Hawaii Over Winter Break

Feb 12, 2007
Experiential / Reality-based Learning


(l to r) Sielu, Samoan alii, host of the Polynesian Fia Fia, Smith students Nick Singer, Margaret Lahey, Spiros Kallinikos, and Polynesian Culture Center Dancer.
(l to r) Sielu, Samoan alii, host of the Polynesian Fia Fia, Smith students Nick Singer, Margaret Lahey, Spiros Kallinikos, and Polynesian Culture Center Dancer.

Associate Dean of Undergraduate Programs Patricia Cleveland, along with three other Smith faculty and staff members, took 23 honors students to Oahu, Hawaii, January 5-15, 2007 for a trip that they wont soon forget. The trip was offered as part of the business honors program and not only provided students with an in depth look at Hawaii's culture, history and economy, it also fulfilled their four honors course requirements. This is the third year a winter-term trip has been offered to honor students, but the first time that Hawaii has been the destination. The past two years students visited Hong Kong.


Smith junior Craig Morgenstern enjoyed the chance to learn from experience rather than from a book. I gained knowledge of Hawaii's history and its economic outlook. Many do not realize the underlying financial threats that Hawaii is exposed to. As students, we gained an understanding of these issues and learned how Hawaii sustains its viability despite them.

The study trip explored cultural and strategic issues in economic and business development in Hawaii, focusing on ethical, sustainable development. Briefings included an overview of business issues in China and Southeast Asia, including Hawaii, from former Ambassador to Thailand, Prof. William Itoh, and lectures on the dynamics of bubble economies from Prof. K. K. Seo, real estate and resort development in Hawaii from Prof. Nicholas Ordway, and Transformation of Hawaii's economy from agriculture to tourism by Profs. Jack Suyderhoud and Douglas Vincent, all from the University of Hawaii.

Students learned the complex interactions of Asian-Pacific economies and the ways in which events such as the Asian financial crisis and the real estate and currency bubbles in Japan and Thailand affected Hawaii's economy and development. The bright story in their research turned out to be the innovations emerging in alternative agriculture and energy sources, in which Hawaii is leading the way, out of necessity! said Cleveland.

The trip was not all business; there was plenty of time to have fun. Students had the opportunity to experience the all the natural beauties that Hawaii has to offer, as well as the food and culture native to the islands. This included a Samoan luau, where students got to eat an authentic Samoan dinner and enjoy the entertainment of Samoan dancers.

While this program is both fun and educational for the students Cleveland said it is more than that, The purpose is to expand their horizons, and strengthen their relationships and the honors community. We know each other better than in any other program because of these dedicated trips.

The scheduled program took place completely on the island of Oahu, however many of the students decided to take an early morning flight to the island of Kauai, for a day trip. Morgenstern enjoyed seeing a different side of Hawaii, We saw a rural side of Hawaii that was quainter then the bustling city of Waikiki. The best views from the day were a cave site that we stopped at. We actually walked inside this cave which was pitch black on a sunny day.

Honors program winter-term trips have been so successful over the past couple of years they are going to be planning two trips for next year. One is already scheduled for Shanghai with Susan White, Distinguished Tyser Teaching Fellow, and Chuck Lahaie, financial databases manager, who also accompanied students on the Hawaii trip.

Loretta Goodridge, MBA Candidate 2008, Smith Media Group


About the University of Maryland's Robert H. Smith School of Business 

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is an internationally recognized leader in management education and research. One of 12 colleges and schools at the University of Maryland, College Park, the Smith School offers undergraduate, full-time and part-time MBA, executive MBA, online MBA, specialty masters, PhD and executive education programs, as well as outreach services to the corporate community. The school offers its degree, custom and certification programs in learning locations in North America and Asia.