Best friends Genève Ashworth and Shannan McDevitt are both graduating in the Fall 2018 Semester. McDevitt, a senior in English education from Connecticut, who is currently working on becoming a certified teacher for the state of Hawaii by completing a student teaching position, described how her and Ashworth became so close. “Part of the reason why we are such close friends, why we work so well, is we are polar opposites in most regards.”
“Genève is so motivated. She has helped me through times in my life where I had no desire to be productive. She is the kind of person to lift people up, not just go through the motions.
“We clicked really quickly, our friendship formed from quality time together – hiking, swimming, food. In fact, the first thing we did together was skydiving. Most of my best memories are with her. She just knows me.”
Ashworth, a senior in hospitality and tourism management from Washington, said of her best friend, “Shannan deserves all of the opportunities that are coming her way. She has worked to overcome a lot of obstacles over the past few years, and it is paying off.”
Ashworth continued, “What makes Shannan so successful is her ability to genuinely care about everyone around her. Her loyalty and uplifting nature never fails to make her a friend to all. She always puts people first. Whether that meant spending time with someone who needed a friend, getting up at 2 a.m. for a hike with me after a late night, or defending those who she is close to.
“Everyone needs a Shannan in their lives. Someone who is so patient and loving, is capable of anything, and teaching would suit her very well if that is what she chose to do.”
Ashworth explained how she "came here in 2015 and decided I wanted to be a business major because it would give me a great background, regardless of the field I choose to go into.
“I have an internship in real estate lined up after this semester in California. Through my educational background and networking, I was able to attain it.”
Ashworth described an obstacle in her education. “I was going to drop out at one point with my associates [degree], but Brother and Sister Ferrin in the HTM department followed up with me and cared about my success. They reached out to me and helped me to get where I am.
“The hospitality and tourism management professors are so friendly and invested into their students.”
She said her major “Helps you understand yourself and communicate with each other better. The teachers are emotionally intelligent, and it helps students to open up and explore themselves.”
She went on to relate her experiences with another professor, noting, “Ricardo Vicente inspired me to get my economics minor, his lectures and enthusiasm pushed me towards a very fulfilling track.”
Ashworth reflected, “I went straight from high school to college. I did not have a plan to further my education after high school, but with the help and encouragement of my parents I made it here.
“I feel my education has been phenomenal in allowing me to grow as a person, and develop into the type of person who can contribute to society.”
When asked about her future plans, Ashworth said, “I just want a very simple life– a husband, a blueberry garden, and maybe some pets.
“Focusing on myself has never made me very happy, but when you focus on other people it takes the focus onto a larger goal and makes you happy. While I love learning and knowledge, I don’t want to live years ahead of myself. I want to live in the moment.”
Prince Owusu, an alumnus from Ghana currently in academic training and a friend of Ashworth’s, shared his thoughts on their friendship.
“We met in a public policy class. I have no idea how exactly we first started talking. She is just so funny and friendly. She has a good heart. Ever since, we have been friends and she has always been willing to support me when in need.”
He shared an example, “When I was struggling to pay for graduate school, I came to her to vent. She started a GoFundMe page that has greatly helped my situation. It has gotten me to a point I never could have done alone.”
Owusu clarified his point by saying, “Service and love for people defines Genève to me… She has a kind heart, and just wants to live and love a simple life.”
McDevitt also shared what she learned overall through her time living in Hawaii. “The past few years have been a huge learning experience for me. Life has taught me so much.”
McDevitt continued, “When I came here in 2014, I thought I wanted to be a communications major. I ended up switching to English education soon after coming here. The subject has always been a strength of mine and a topic that has a lot of value to me.
“The past few years I have been busy with school, and now I am at the end, the possibilities are up in the air. In the next few months, I will graduate and become a certified elementary teacher in Hawaii. I have no plans past that.”
She spoke of the impact a variety of web profiles, such as LinkedIn and Handshake, have had on her career prospects. Newspapers, human resources, and editorial positions are a few of the opportunities offered without an official graduation or diploma.
McDevitt noted, “The largest development I have made over the past few years is learning to prioritize, learning what really mattered to me and what could be left alone.”
McDevitt further added, “While I am working on my professional and academic goals, family is also extremely important to me. Eventually, my focus would ideally switch to developing a family life full-time instead of teaching or another form of work.”
Alec Alberti, a senior studying HTM from Maui, Hawaii, said of McDevitt, “She has always been really driven to help those around her, no matter the circumstance… I know whatever option she takes, she will make the best of it.”