Office of Engaged Learning Office of Engaged Learning – Research Student Academic Engagement & Success University Honors Program

Interview with Paige Edwards, Engaged Learning Fellow

One year ago, Paige Edwards, a student studying Film and Human Rights, was able to travel to Hawai’i because of a scholarship awarded by the Human Rights and Honors Program where students learned about social justice issues. Paige connected to one of the bus drivers, Leina Fisher on this trip. Fisher is a Native Hawaiian woman working in the hospitality industry but who dreamed of starting her own business. Paige and her fellow students decided to help her out to make Makali’i – Fisher’s educational tour business catering to people interested in Hawaiians culture and history. This experience inspired her project Re-Imagine Paradise: The Impacts of the Illegal Annexation of Hawai’i and Tourism on Native Hawaiians. The project focuses on “how tourism is a consequence and a complicity of colonial and illegal annexation of Hawai’i.” 

A significant aspect of this project was that Paige had to collaborate with other students and professors. Last summer, Paige was in McNair Scholars Program SRI course which provided her with a good foundation to write research papers. Paige also leaned on other research students by running ideas by them to help improve her paper and she often contacted her faculty mentor Brad Klein when needing help. 

This project is not only a passion for Paige now but impacts her long-term goals of going to law school where she wants to focus on serving underrepresented communities. Her “interests in human rights and law have not only shaped [her] research, but also the kind of work [she] likes to produce.” For right now though, Paige is producing a documentary film called Kanaka Driven Tours which “focuses on the impacts of tourism on Native Hawaiians and will educate viewers on ethical traveling.” Make sure to keep an eye out for it to learn more about the tourism industry in Hawai’i and how there is so much more to it than what meets the eye! 

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