The Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT) and partners in the Micronesia Challenge are proud to announce the selection of four talented young professionals as the first recipients of two new graduate degree scholarship programs.  


The establishment of the Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship Fund (BRMC) was inspired by the work of one of Micronesia’s conservation pioneers, William (Bill) Charles Raynor (Feb. 22nd, 1957-Sept. 1st, 2015), former Director of The Nature Conservancy’s Micronesia Program.

The Scholarship Fund aims to contribute to the development of effective conservation of Micronesia’s biodiversity and the promotion of sustainable livelihoods across the region. This scholarship provides an opportunity for individuals from Micronesia to undertake either a Master’s or Doctorate degree in any resource management/conservation field.  The selected scholars will focus on leadership and technical skills and/or majors that enhance their ability to carry out work in conservation, climate adaptation and sustainable development in Micronesia.   In addition to the BMRC, the Association for the Promotion of International Cooperation/Japan (APIC), Sophia University and MCT have partnered to select current conservation professionals from Micronesia to pursue graduate level degrees in conservation.  Sophia University has committed to providing full tuition scholarships, while APIC is covering travel and room and board expenses.  Four Micronesian students have been selected for these two opportunities and will begin their programs this fall.

The Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge program scholars:

Elizabeth (Becky) Ada Furey is from island of Saipan in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  She works with the Micronesia Islands Nature Alliance as a full-time program manager and has a BS in Health Studies, but after finishing her degree at Portland State University, she returned home to the Marianas to pursue her passion for her home, this region, and ensuring we take care of these special places today, so our people can continue to enjoy them in the future.

She is a proud mother of a 17-month old little girl.  After she was born, she made the decision to return to school and further her education.  Her time with MINA, her concern for our natural environment, and her passion for working with communities to ensure our island way of life, led her to enroll in a Master of Science program in Environmental Policy and Management.  She says “As Pacific Islanders we come from a legacy of ocean-faring peoples and it is our responsibility to continue the tradition of caring for this vast resource.“

Nicole Yamase is from the island of Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia. She graduated with her B.S. in Environmental Studies and B.A. in Biology from Chaminade University of Honolulu and she is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in the Marine Biology Graduate Program at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

Her research focus is on the effects of climate change on the marine plant community. Of her studies, Nicole says, “Understanding how our primary producers respond to these changes will help us predict the future health of our reefs. This is crucial for the livelihood of Pacific Islanders who highly depend on the ocean for food, income and cultural purposes.”

The Sophia University program scholars:

Bradford Mori is from the island of Chuuk in the FSM and has worked for the Chuuk Environmental Protection Agency and the Technical Support Program Manager since 2006.  He earned his BA degree in Geography and Certificate of Environmental Physical Science from the University of Hawaii at Hilo in December 2005. He has been accepted to the Sophia University program and says that his objectives in participating and completing his degree include, “To be a part of a University where continuous learning & growth is assured and fulfilling the expectations out of my knowledge, skills and experience. Aspiring to have a good career path with my interest and ability to learn and deliver results.”

Bertha Mochieg Reyuw is from the island of Yap in the FSM and has served as the Environment Program Development Officer for the Yap Community Action Program since 2014.  She earned an AS in Business Administration and Third Year Certificate in General Business from the College of Micronesia – FSM in 2011.  She also holds a BA in Environmental Studies from the University of the South Pacific in 2014. She has been accepted to further her education at the Sophia University in Japan. She says, “Furthering my education is like continuing to water a seed to grow. The sweetened fruit it bears is what I like to share with those that helped me to be where I am today: my family, friends, colleagues and definitely the communities I serve.” [/restrict]