April 24, 2024

Where Are They Now – Tatiana Figuerres

After graduating from Lāna‘i High & Elementary School (LHES) in 2015, Tatiana Figuerres set out on an adventure that whisked her from the sandy shores of Hawai‘i to the rugged peaks of Colorado.

Shifting Career Aspirations

Tatiana started her higher education at Kapi‘olani Community College on O‘ahu, majoring in liberal arts with plans to transfer to a local university to study criminal justice. However, feeling that the programs in Hawai‘i didn’t fully meet her expectations, she transferred to Colorado Mesa University and completed her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2021.

Although Tatiana initially planned to enroll in the police academy after graduating, her career goals changed as she reflected on her personal experiences. Growing up, she saw firsthand the struggles of family members with addiction, which sparked her passion for helping others facing similar challenges.

“That’s what started my drive to want to help others,” said Tatiana. “I wanted to go into something that allows me to help other people and give back to the community.”

This led her to her current role as a utilization management case manager, where she oversees funding and support for clients in three different substance use disorder residential facilities in the city of Grand Junction. In this role, Tatiana is responsible for ensuring clients have the necessary resources for their recovery, including funding for their stay and scheduling psychiatric appointments.

One unique part of her job is the family-oriented environment of one of the facilities, where clients are allowed to have their children stay with them during treatment. Tatiana says this arrangement creates a supportive environment that benefits both the clients and their families.

“I get to see them healing together — and that’s something I didn’t see a lot of resources like this growing up on Lāna‘i,” said Tatiana. “It’s like therapy for me to help clients here, and who knows, maybe one day in the future I’ll be able to take this back to Lāna‘i.”

Inspiring the Next Generation

As the first person in her family to attend college, Tatiana not only set a new course for herself but also became an inspiration for her siblings. Her courage to leave home and explore new educational opportunities encouraged her younger sister to also leave Hawai‘i and pursue higher education on the mainland.

Tatiana’s advice to current students at LHES is to embrace opportunities and explore beyond their comfort zones.

“My advice would be to get yourself out there and try to see the world,” said Tatiana. “Don’t feel limited even though we are from such a small island because there is so much out there if you work hard and stay motivated.”


“Where are they now?” features alumni from Lānaʻi High & Elementary School, shedding light on their journeys post-graduation.

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