Seabury Hall alumna Rachel Hodara found her passion from an array of interests

Aria DiMartino, Staff Writer

As we come to the end of yet another school year, students often find themselves reflecting on the year behind them and daydreaming about the one ahead. Especially for upperclassmen, this can be an anxiety filled week in which they spend more time than they planned fretting over the uncertainty of the future. In a time like this, everyone loves to hear a story about someone who worked hard through the uncertainty and ended up with a career that she is truly passionate about.

Rachel Hodara, a Seabury Hall alumna who graduated in 2004, is the perfect example of someone who ended exactly where she should be. After attending Stanford University and spending some time abroad, Hodara found herself right back on Maui where she started with a job in the field she loves.

Although being an archeologist is not quite as exciting as Indiana Jones makes it seem, Hodara explains why being an archeologist is worthwhile to her. “I like working outside. I like reconstructing the past, trying to figure out what a place was like a hundred years ago, a thousand years ago, ten thousand years ago. I like the whole idea of thinking about human evolution and cultural evolution and the way things change as time goes on and technology changes,” Hodara explained about her job.

After graduating from Seabury Hall, Hodara attended Stanford University where she majored in anthropology. She didn’t always know that archeology was the path that she wanted to explore.

In high school, Hodara had a wide array of interests. “My high school experience was really positive. I had a good group of friends at Seabury, and I did sports. I ran cross country and track and I did art. I was in AP art when I was a senior,” she said.

Although she never took a journalism course in high school, Hodara thought that she wanted to be an investigative journalist and said that this is something that still interests her.

One thing that has always interested Hodara was the outdoors. “In high school, I was passionate about cross country, and I loved to go to the beach with my friends, go hiking, be outside.”

Archeology just happens to be the perfect profession for a lover of the outdoors. “I like that it’s dynamic and I’m somewhere different every day,” she answered about her favorite part of the job.
“We got to spend a whole week out in Hana, and they were on the airport, which is really small and we got to hike through the jungle there which is really intense and difficult but then we also got to hike along the coast and map with GPS,” she said about her recent trip to Hana. “It’s really cool out there. There’s these huge stepping stones along the sharp jagged lava and those stepping stones mark the old King’s Trail.”

Before her current position, Hodara lived in San Francisco, England, and spent time traveling around the Middle East. Yet, like so many Seabury Hall alumni, Hodara ended up back on Maui where she has continued to explore the island that she grew up on.

“My favorite thing is definitely the nature, just getting to go outside and go hiking and go surfing, and go to all the places that I loved to go to when I was younger and also just discovering new places because there are so many places on Maui that I’ve never been even though I thought that I had been everywhere. There’s a ton of places I have never even seen,” Hodara confessed.

Since coming home for Christmas break in 2012 after finishing graduate school and earning a masters in archeology, she has been working.

She urges high schoolers who think they might be interested in archeology to get involved in the community any way that they can.

“It’s good to intern with a company so that you can get to know what it’s like or volunteer at a national park or at anywhere really where they need archeologists so you can kind of get some experience before you decide it’s what you want to do,” explained Hodara.

There are many volunteer opportunities for students on Maui. Hodara said, “You could intern with a company and they might put you on a project or I would say the Hawaiian Islands Land Trust. They have archeology projects. There’s Olowalu Cultural Reserve out in Olowalu Valley; they do some archeology with Maui Cultural Lands. And then if you want to go abroad, you can find a lot of information on shovelbums.org and there you can sign up and get emails about going on digs but usually then you have to pay.”

Even if archeology might not seem like the most interesting subject, it might be worth it to give it a try. Hodara urges high schoolers to “try a lot of different things,” and “focus on finding your passion and figuring out what drives you and makes you happy because that will guide you through the rest of your life, through all the decisions you have to make.”