Office of Senator Mazie K. Hirono
Born and raised in Honolulu, on the island of Oʻahu, Elise attended the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo as a proud Kaimukī High School graduate and Chancellor Scholar. As a double-major she graduated with bachelor’s degrees in Communications and Gender & Women’s Studies, a Pre-Law certificate, and minors in English, Anthropology and Political Science. After college – during her year off researching graduate programs – she worked for two nonprofit organizations, the Girl Scouts of Hawaiʻi and the Hawaiʻi Agricultural Foundation, before being accepted as a scholar in the transatlantic dual degree Atlantis Program. Elise earned her Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University and her Master’s in Public Policy from the Hertie School in Berlin, Germany. Now, as an AmeriCorps VISTA working at Syracuse Cooperative Federal Credit Union as their Community Development and Outreach Associate, she is tasked with building the capacity and sustainability of programs for this nonprofit financial institution. In addition to supporting community partnerships, she also aids in identifying and developing economic inclusion and asset-building initiatives. This work aligns with her policy area passions in education, socio-economic development, and fiscal/financial budgeting and management. These experiences have also augmented her policy interests in environmental sustainability and equity for indigenous peoples, further supporting her goal of pursuing a public sector career to effect change in Hawaiʻi.