UMC Links

Destined for Greatness…

Oct. 26, 2010 — The University of Utah’s Pacific Islander Student Association (PISA) will be hosting its annual High School Conference at the University of Utah Olpin Student Union on Tuesday, November 9, 2010 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Approximately five-hundred Pacific Islander high school students from Granite, Salt Lake City, Canyons, Davis, and Jordan school district will attend.

The theme for this year’s conference is Destined for Greatness which references the contributions of Pacific Islander navigators, whose descendants are now navigating their own lives and destinies. A panel discussion, “Navigating our Lives: From Island Villages to American Cities” will conclude the conference at 7:00 to 8:00 pm that evening in the Utah Museum of Fine Arts Auditorium.

“Thanks to the vision and support of our community, the University of Utah is able to offer an excellent education to Utah students. Students of all backgrounds add to the richness of the educational experience at the U and we are fortunate to have a strong contingent of Pacific Islanders as part of our diverse student body,” said Fred Esplin, senior vice president of Institutional Advancement at the University of Utah. “We are honored to host the 2010 Pacific Islander High School Conference and hope that many of the attendees decide to become U students.”

“The PISA High School Conference is an offering of social, cultural and spiritual empowerment, to nurture and to challenge the imagination of invited Pacific Islander high school students from across the valley as they explore and reclaim indigenous historical and contemporary narratives. The University of Utah campus is graced and honored with their visit as excellence feeds on excellence-truly a journey into destiny, a journey into greatness,” notes Theresa Martinez, assistant vice president for Academic Outreach at the University of Utah.

Justin Su’a, a sport psychology trainer, CEO of Su’a Sport Psychology, and a graduate student at the University of Utah will give the opening keynote. He was a freshman All-American pitcher for Brigham Young University, a member of the Samoan National Olympic baseball team and currently sits on the board of directors for the Pitching Academy, LLC. He also writes a column called “Su’a Speaks” for Samoa Sports Central and is a member of the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Su’a travels the country teaching principles of sport psychology (focus, motivation, confidence, leadership, etc.) to audiences both inside and outside the athletic arena, helping them to perform on purpose, with purpose.

The closing keynote for the conference will be the legendary and most sought after Choreographers in Hollywood – Richmond & Anthony Talauega. The Talauegas’ dedication, unique style and creative abilities have translated into work in a range of artistic mediums. Their highly visible projects include work for Ipod, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Gap, Mitsubishi, as well as the feature films “Take The Land”, “Bring it on yet Again”, “Save the last dance 1&2” and the documentary, “Rize”. Their work includes the 2005 and 2006 Image Awards, for which, in 2005, they received an Emmy Nomination, as well as Jamie Foxx’s NBC Special “Unpredictable.” Their recent work includes choreographing the final dance scene for “Step up 3,” the BET tribute to Michael Jackson. The list of artists seeking their collaboration includes everyone from Madonna, Jennifer Lopez, Usher, Eve, Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera, Lil’ Kim, Missy Elliott, The Black Eyed Peas, The Backstreet Boys, Monica, Blink 182, Avril Lavigne, Dirty Vegas, Chris Brown, Mariah Carey and many, many more.

In addition to the keynote speakers, a host of Pacific Islander academics, spoken word artists, hip hop artists, community organizers, and political leaders will be conducting workshops during the conference. For more information visit