TOKYO, JAPAN – Two citizens of the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) have been awarded full-ride scholarships to pursue Master’s Degrees in Global Environmental Studies from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. The competitive scholarships are offered by a partnership comprised of The Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT), Sophia University, the Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC), a private foundation based in Tokyo, and partners of the Micronesia Challenge. This is the fourth year that the two graduate school scholarships, which cover all expenses, are offered to citizens of the FSM, Republic of the Marshall Islands and the Republic of Palau.
The 2021 recipients of the APIC-Sophia University-MCT Scholarships are Ms. Natasha M. Gorong of Yap, FSM, and Ms. Tara Shaniah Arnold of Chuuk, FSM. Since it was first offered in 2017, seven Micronesia region citizens have been awarded the coveted scholarship. Of that group, four have received an M.A. in Global Environmental Studies and now hold leading positions in their home countries.
Both scholars in May this year received their undergraduate degrees. Ms. Gorong, who majored in Environmental Studies and minored in Political Science, received her bachelor’s degree from Le Moyne College in May 2021. Ms. Arnold received her bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Wheeling University, in West Virginia.
APIC, Sophia University and MCT partner to select current conservation professionals from Micronesia to pursue graduate level degrees in conservation. Sophia University has committed to providing full tuition scholarships, APIC covers travel, room and board and monthly allowance, and MCT, through the Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund, covers the cost of internships for the scholars.
The Scholarship Fund aims to produce professionals who contribute to the development of effective conservation of Micronesia’s biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods across the region. The scholars focus on developing leadership and technical skills and/or majors that enhance their ability to carry out work in conservation, climate adaptation and sustainable development in Micronesia.
Awardees of this prestigious scholarship will receive financial support to earn graduate degrees while receiving close guidance and mentorship from key individuals within the Micronesia Challenge partnership. The mentors/advisors are technical experts who have extensive experience in the field of conservation, climate change adaptation and sustainable development in Micronesia and the broader Pacific. Scholars are paired with host institutions at their permanent residences in the FSM, Palau and the Marshall Islands where they are required to carry out research work to support conservation, climate adaptation and sustainable development initiatives supported by MCT, and its Micronesia Challenge partners. The program has retained 100 percent of its graduates within Micronesia.