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Ohana brings Hawaiian students to ASU

Blaise Acosta, Casey Soong joining siblings on Sun Devil journey

View from the ground looking up at palm trees silhouetted by a blue sky and clouds.
August 09, 2022

Editor's note: ASU News is highlighting some of its notable incoming students for fall 2022.


That’s the word for family in Hawaiian, and it’s a big reason why Casey Soong and Blaise Acosta have come to Arizona State University.

Soong and Acosta are cousins. Their older siblings, Taylor Acosta and Kenneth “KJ” Soong, arrived at ASU in 2020.

“I think it’ll be good for me to have family there and a support system,” Blaise Acosta said.

Ohana wasn’t the only reason the two chose ASU. The university also had the majors they were interested in: Acosta is majoring in biology and Soong in engineering management.

ASU News talked to Acosta and Soong about their hopes and plans.

Question: Why did you choose ASU?

Portrait of student in front of ocean

Blaise Acosta

Acosta: I chose ASU because it has a lot of different majors to choose from compared to the ones here in Hawaii. And I guess (it) had one of the majors that I was looking for, which is biological scientist.

Soong: First of all, my brother and cousins are here right now. They’re going to be juniors. Also, ASU was one of the few schools on the West Coast that actually had an engineering management program. I wanted to stay on the West Coast, but when I was looking at all the other West Coast schools, they didn’t really have programs that specialized in management or engineering business. So ASU was one of the few schools that actually had the type of program that best suited my interest.

Q: What are you most excited to experience your first semester?

Acosta: I'm kind of excited to just experience the dorm life there and also having the freedom when I'm on my own. And also I want to make new friends and relationships with other people.

Soong: I’m looking forward to attending the engineering camp that every freshman engineer goes to. But I’m also looking forward to just meeting new people. I’m from Hawaii, so it’s kind of a small place. I see the same people every day. So it’s always good to look forward to meeting new people and getting outside of my friend zones.

Q: What do you like to brag about to friends about ASU?

Acosta: Some things that I tell my friends is that ASU is really welcoming, and they have a lot of programs and experiences for me to join.

Soong: My tuition is paid for. ASU is extremely helpful in providing financial support. So I like to tell my friends that I’m going to college for free and I don’t have to worry about all that stuff (tuition costs).

Q: What talents and skill are you bringing to the ASU community?

Portrait of student in front of ocean

Casey Soong

Acosta: One talent I have is that I play the ukulele. I’ve been playing it for basically my whole life. I also play the piano. I’ve been playing for about nine or 10 years. I hope that I can share my talents with my roommates or friends up there.

Soong: In high school I was president of a bunch of clubs, so one of the skills that I’m bringing to ASU is more toward leadership and school involvement. There’s a Hawaiian club (at ASU) that helps reach out to Hawaiian students and helps them acclimate to Arizona. Hopefully, I can help out that club and use my skills there.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish during your college years?

Acosta: I hope to achieve my bachelor’s degree in biological science and I also want to try to join some programs and gain new experiences so when I come back (to Hawaii) I’m more ready for the real world.

Soong: Aside from my bachelor’s and hopefully my master’s, just to get out there, meet new people and enjoy life before I have to start paying bills and stuff.

Q: What’s one interesting fact about yourself that only your friends know?

Acosta: I’m a big animal lover. I raise chickens at my house. I also have two dogs and couple of fish. And my grandpa recently got a couple of ducks, so I go there every so often to check up on them.

Soong: That’s a good question. I don’t have any special quirks. Back in high school, I was kind of the person who everybody went to for help. If they needed anything, they would come to me. So, I guess that’s an interesting fact only my friends would know.

Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem in our world, what would you choose?

Acosta: I’d have to say the homelessness problem, especially in Hawaii, because there’s just a lot of them and being on an island, they can’t really go anywhere except for homeless shelters and they’re kind of overfilled right now. It’s a really big problem.

Soong: Mine would be environmental pollution. I used to do a lot of community service back here in Hawaii, going to beach clean-ups. I’d like to help find a way to create a more sustainable future and stop pollution in the water. Yeah, if I was given $40 million, that’s where I would try to help.

Top photo by Jess Loiterton/Pexels

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