Current Issue / DU Alumni

Alum gives back as Hyde interviewer

Sheldon Arakaki

Sheldon Arakaki

While he was a student at DU, Sheldon Arakaki (BSBA ’84) spent time volunteering in the admission office, where he developed friendships with many staff members. Twenty-five years later, he is still building on the relationships he made at DU by participating in the Ammi Hyde admission interviews for prospective students.

Arakaki is one of more than 300 alumni volunteers who conduct interviews each November and February. The voluntary interviews probe students’ motivation to learn, openness to new ideas, and personal values. DU faculty and staff also conduct Hyde interviews.

“I like talking to students and listening to what they have to say about their motivation for getting a college education and why they are choosing this university,” says Arakaki, an e-commerce analyst who conducts interviews in the Seattle area, where he lives. “I enjoy finding out how the last several years have shaped what they want to do with themselves.”

And what does he look for in a future DU student?

“People who understand that it’s all about getting an education to further open your mind and seeing what all the possibilities are, then applying it to life,” Arakaki says. “Who knows where life is going to take you? You’re going to have multiple careers, and so [college] is just about preparing you for life. To me, the really good applicants just recognize that.”

Nashwa Bolling, associate director of admissions, says the Hyde interviews are a win-win for everyone involved. Alumni get to reconnect with the University, and the admission office gets valuable insight into prospective students.

“It’s always good to have outsider input on the application — to get somebody else’s perspective on the student and to learn a little bit more about them as individuals and highlight characteristics that we’re not going to see by just reading the application,” Bolling says.

Before the Hyde interviews existed, Arakaki was part of the Alumni Admissions Council.

Volunteering always has been a part of Arakaki’s life, and helping the admission office is just a continuation of what he did in high school and college, he says. He’s been volunteering with DU for 20 years.

“He had a great experience at DU and just wants to share that with students and give back to the University,” Bolling says.

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