TOKYO – A recent college graduate of Yapese ancestry has been awarded a scholarship that will allow her to earn a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies at Sophia University in Japan. Darla Yatilman, who was raised on Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia, is the 2020 recipient of the coveted APIC-MCT International Student Scholarship. The highly competitive scholarship is awarded to individuals from the Micronesia region to attend Sophia University’s Graduate School of Environmental Studies in Tokyo.

“I’m passionate to further my education in this field because of the modern-day threats or issues affecting our Pacific Islands and communities,” said Yatilman, who recently graduated from Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia, USA, with a BA in Criminal Justice.

Yatilman is the daughter of Andrew and Gerethy Yatilman, originally from Yap and now living on Pohnpei. Andrew Yatilman is the Secretary of the Department of Environment, Climate Change, and Emergency Management, of the Federated States of Micronesia.  Darla Yatilman graduated from Xavier High School in Chuuk, FSM.

The full-ride graduate scholarship is a partnership between The Association for Promotion of International Cooperation (APIC), the non-profitMicronesiaConservation Trust (MCT), and Sophia University. The MCT’s Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge (BRMC) Scholarship Program also supports graduate students selected for this initiative.

The scholarship’s goal is to train Micronesians to play leadership roles to develop regional responses to issues such as rising sea levels and climate change. This is the fourth year that the graduate scholarship is being offered.

APIC is a Tokyo-based foundation that strengthens ties between Japan and nations in the Pacific Islands and Caribbean. The Micronesia Conservation Trust, headquartered in Pohnpei, supports biodiversity conservation and related sustainable development in the region comprised of the Federated States of Micronesia, Republic of Palau, Republic of the Marshall Islands, U.S. territory of Guam and U.S. Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  Sophia University is considered one of the top research universities in Japan.  It was founded in 1913 by the Roman Catholic order The Society of Jesus. About 14,000 students attend undergraduate and graduate programs at the university, which is located in central Tokyo.

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