Anjulei Agbayani Aurelio is a 2013 senior at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her parents are from the Philippines and her father was a survey engineer for a company who relocated him to Hawaii. Anjulei is originally from Hilo, Hawaii. Seeing people already settling down and wishing to rearrange the cycle for female empowerment, she decided to move to the East Coast. “I need to achieve things in my life independently as a woman,” Anjulei states. She wanted something drastically different; to learn new experiences, and see something new so she decided to attend UMass. She is majoring in Political Science and Journalism with a concentration in sports.
While living in Hawaii, Anjulei looked up to her mayor Billy Kenoi, who graduated from UMass Amherst, and she became interested in Hawaii politics. She fell in love with journalism after taking a class and she really likes sports so she picked Political Science and Sports Journalism because of the writing intensity of both majors.
The curriculum at UMass is more difficult than the public institutions in Hawaii, so Anjulei really had to push herself which she was not used to doing. “Some of the things I had to adapt to were the weather, the way people dressed, the way people talked, the fast paced way of life compared to Hawaii. From a collective of people, I was the one that stuck out like a sore thumb. At first did not know how to address that I was different but then I got used to it.”
She says, “I do not need a social life; I think about being alone, working out and working because I want to do this on my own and ultimately be accomplished. I’m doing it for my family.” “My parents were really strict,” She states, however she is grateful because she stayed out of trouble and became a better student. “My parents were both immigrants from the Philippines. They did not know anything about the educational system in the U.S., but they were very supportive in my move”, she explained. Anjulei pushed herself to pursue her goals in life. Anjulei said, “My inspiration is my older sister who went to school outside of Hawaii. She went to the University of Nevada Las Vegas. As a senior in high school my inspiration was my middle sister because she worked in Los Angeles by herself. My older sister is so smart and my middle sister makes business deals, my father is so intellectual, and my mother is really sweet. If she could be in my shoes she tells me she would accomplish so much.” I have a huge family that wants me to succeed.” Anjulei stated.
Anjulei says that people here in the Northeast work hard and are all about education. Their work ethic is amazing and it inspired her to be better. “I feel that when I go back to Hawaii I will be set and I will bring what I learned to Hawaii to help change it”, she stated. “What is the point of going out every Friday and Saturday night if that is taking out time for your pursuing other things, things that really matter?” She believes that going out to have fun is good for the body; however, students should think about how they spend their time, because four years go by really fast. One really needs to be prepared for the real world and have networks to obtain a job in the future. “I was involved in so many things that I did not have time to do anything else. If you are a leader and have to plan something, you need to prioritize and plan ahead,” she stated. Another factor that helped her strengthen her personal and professional identity is that she surrounded herself with good people who had the same interests as she did. She strongly believes that networking should not be a senior task. “Start networking now,” she strongly stressed. “You need to think, as a student, how your Facebook friends or Twitter friends are going to help you, and focus that time to network with executives, and people in the market you want to be part of.”
Anjulei became part of Sigma Delta Tau, a Pan-Hellenic sorority of 68 girls. “There is a collective amount of diverse girls, not so in ethnicity but in background, personality, and life experiences,” Anjulei states. Many of the girls have family members who work for companies such as NBC and ESPN. Anjulei says it has helped her with networking. “You never know who people know, and that is why you should be nice to everyone”, she said.
Anjulei has held the Public Relations position for the Association of Diversity in Sports, Pan- Hellenic Council, Sigma Delta Tau, Autism Speaks, and the Campus Career Fairs. She currently serves as Vice-President the Association of Diversity in Sports. “I like digital media and social marketing. I feel like I help people because as a PR person you are protecting the image of who your client is and good PR is good for you,” Anjulei states.
Anjulei, who works remotely for Jackabee Incorporated as Vice President for Marketing, and specializes on mobile gaming, has helped with a new fashion application. The new application is a 3D high resolution avatar creator. One can create an avatar of oneself and try on different clothes virtually. She plans on applying to the University of Southern California for the Strategic Public Relations graduate program. She also plans on taking a class on negotiating contracts. She is interested in taking the 5-Day Courses in Negotiation and Mediation at Harvard Negotiation Institute.
There are less than 1 percent of people that are from Hawaii in this campus, so it is a big accomplishment for Anjulei. She said, “It is hard to succeed for a Hawaiian outside of Hawaii. People get comfortable in Hawaii, it’s a great place to live; you never want to leave and pursue your dreams outside of Hawaii. “She added, “I am here to prove to myself and people back home that I can do it. I think I broke a lot of barriers. Students do not understand how short of a time you have at UMass, make friends with faculty members, and get involved. I held five executive positions since I’ve been here, not including the clubs, making networks helped me to succeed after college. UMass is great. Cherish your friendships that you make at UMass. I thought I had best friends back home but at college you actually find friends that you will never forget. I have close-knit relationship with the school and I feel welcomed enough to come back”, Anjulei states.
Anjulei is an amazing woman who is determined to reach her full potential. She is one of many students who want to challenge themselves, and reach greater goals. Take her story and all stories who are on the spotlight to inspire you and allow you to keep going.