Sarah Soakai

Sarah Soakai

Education:

BA in Political Science and History, BYU Hawai'i
MURP, University of Hawai'i at Manoa
PhD in Urban Planning, UCLA

Areas of Interest:

Email:

sarahsoakai@ucla.edu

Malo e lelei (Hello, in Tongan). Aloha (Hello, in Hawaiian). I originally hail from the Ko’olauloa Mountains and North Shores of Oahu, Hawai’i with ancestral ties to the South Pacific Islands of Tonga. I look at Community Development and Social Policy as it relates to communities on and in the margins. Current research efforts examine third sector community-based faith-based organizations and institutions and their role in social service delivery during and post COVID times. In particular, churches are central anchor institutions among Pacific Islander communities in diaspora. Research and planning with these indigenous communities means looking at their association and relationship with their faith-based organization and institution. Previous research efforts had looked at the effects of city ordinance policies concerning people experiencing homelessness that prohibit lying (sleeping) and sitting on public sidewalks, parks, beaches, and other public spaces. Third sector nonprofit community-based organizations are at the forefront of homelessness issues. And the work continues with improving trauma-informed care and alignment with state services to minimize bureaucracy and duplicity.

In addition to research, I currently TA for the Urban Planning department and the Public Affairs Undergraduate program. Before my tenure as a doctoral student, I oversaw the Speech and Debate program, taught tenth grade English, eleventh and twelfth grade AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) college prep, and also did some college and career counseling at a Title 1 public high school for several years.

Given the current moment, I look forward to meeting you via email and/or Zoom, and hope to meet up soon in person.