Professor for a Day: Natalie Van Hooser

Natalie Van Hooser, a buyer for Walmart with over 30 years of experience in the merchandising industry, paid a visit to students of the UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources’ Fashion 100 class as part of the UH Alumni Relations’ Professor for a Day program. Students had the opportunity to hear from Natalie on what drew her to the merchandising industry, where her career has taken her in the last 30 years and what it takes to be successful.

“I always asked for more,” said Natalie, recalling her work experiences. “I wasn’t trying to compete with anyone, it was just what I wanted to do. It’s important to start something and finish it to show your follow-through.”

The Fashion 100 students also learned more about the retail landscape and what types of job opportunities are available to students who major in merchandising. Natalie urged students to always be prepared and to know your work inside out.

“Never show up empty-handed to a meeting,” said Natalie. “You need to know more than they know and always think ahead.”

An alumna of CTAHR’s Fashion Design and Merchandising program herself, Natalie’s visit was part of the Professor for a Day Program where alumni come back to campus and share their career-related experiences. Alumni who wish to participate in the program are matched to a class according to their profession, major, or area of interest.

To learn more about the Professor for a Day program, visit

University of Hawai‘i Alumni