asian american and pacific islander students sitting in a circle on a blanket

ASPIRE Main Office

Pierce College Fort Steilacoom, Cascade Building 301

ASPIRE Program Staff

Dawn Reed, Director of Student Equity Design and Engagement


Jasmine Justice, Program Assistant


Kiana Fuega, Outreach Specialist


Aki Smith, Retention Manager


Follow ASPIRE on Social Media

ASPIRE Student Leaders

Iopu Ignacio, ASPIRE Wayfinder 2019–2020

Ay-Yo! My name is Iopu (pronounced "Yo-Pooh"), and I was born and raised here in Tacoma, Washington. I’m multiracial and multiethnic, which is rooted in my Samoan, Filipino, German and Chinese heritage. My goal at Pierce College is to graduate with an associate degree and transfer to Western Washington University to continue my studies. I hope to use my education to advocate for youth in the communities that I represent. I am a first generation born American citizen in my family and will also soon be a first-generation college graduate in my family.

Navigating through my college education has been a struggle for me and, in 2017, I took it upon myself to get engaged on campus in order to stay focused on my reason for being here. That’s where connecting with and working for ASPIRE has been a vital part of my success in my education and has also given me an opportunity to serve my community. Giving back to those who have faced challenges like myself, while building a community for everyone, I hope to bring my peers here at Pierce peace and welcoming vibes.

Aotoa Titialii, ASPIRE Wayfinder 2019–2020

What’s poppin’ y’all! My name is Aoto’a Sosephina Annalyciah Titiali’i. I was born in the 206 but raised in the 253. I come from a strong royal bloodline stretching all the way back to the islands of Amērika Sāmoa. I live for different cultures and plan to study the art and history of Oceania as well as other indigenous cultures. This is my second year at Pierce as an art major and it has been an interesting ride. I’ve been able to co-host ASPIRE’s Lei and Sei making event, which is fabric-made Sāmoan flowers, traditional Hawaiian Ti leaf lei’s and modern candy lei’s for API Heritage month. My educational goal at Pierce is to use art as a bridge for school spirit and diversity to show unity on our campus, so that we all reach what we’re striving for in this life.

If students, staff and faculty at Pierce can be an example of my vision, then I feel that our community can learn from us and do the same within their own institutions and more for the future generations. A challenge I’ve overcome is building my confidence in my education. I always get nervous when a new quarter begins but then I remind myself that I am capable of achieving what I see as impossible. Do greatness y’all! Manuia Le Aso. Soifua!

Charlynn Aldan, ASPIRE Wayfinder 2019–2020

Hi, my name is Charlynn Anuhea O’ka Maile Lauli’i Pangelinan Aldan, but I go by Char! This is my second year at Pierce. I am completing my Associate Degree in Arts, and my goal is to transfer to a university and become a film director. I can use my education in positive ways, such as giving back to the community, helping to support my family by becoming financially stable, and helping out at charity events that are important to me such as animal rescues and anything to do with the environment. In my life, there have been many obstacles that I have had to overcome, but my biggest obstacle was finally learning to love myself, because I always doubted who I was and what I was capable of accomplishing.

I chose to be an Aspire Wayfinder because I love to help people and feel that being an Aspire Wayfinder will help me find my voice, become more confident, give me the skills to learn how to multitask, complete different types of projects under pressure, and meet new people! I plan to help most of the students out of their comfort zone and make new friends and memories, but my main goal is for them to be able to love themselves and enjoy the time they spend while at Pierce College.

Vaela’a Lefeiloa’i, ASPIRE Wayfinder 2019–2020

Talofa! My name is Vaela’a Utumoa Lefeiloa’i, and I am currently a sophomore here at Pierce College, from Spanaway, WA. My educational goal is to complete an Associate Degree in Pre-Nursing (DTA/MRP) and transfer to UW Tacoma for their Healthcare Leadership (BA) program. I value the study of cultural backgrounds in the field of healthcare in that it is important to understand the influence culture has on health beliefs. With this knowledge, I plan to make a career improving the healthcare system and leadership in the Pacific Islands, starting with the island I call home: Amerika Samoa - born and raised! 

I have chosen to become an ASPIRE Wayfinder as I believe it is a great opportunity for me to discover more of my leadership qualities that I may not be aware of yet. In addition, I can help guide fellow students that are unfamiliar with the school system and make sure that they are well-prepared for their goals — whether it be a short-term or long-term goal. As a female and person of color, there are many challenges that one is faced with, given such labels today, but I believe the greatest challenge that I have had and continue to try and overcome, is that of mentality. I understand what it is like to be overwhelmed when it comes to trying to balance my education and personal life. So, as a Wayfinder, I am willing to share my experiences in order to meet you halfway and feel like you are not alone. If ever you need a good laugh, I will always be around with some jokes!