A student from the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has been accepted into the Haskell Environmental Research Studies (HERS) Institute at the University of Kansas (KU). Talofa Fe‘a, a Natural Resources major and president of the Green Force student agriculture club, will be attending the HERS Institute from June 6 to July 30, 2022.
“The HERS summer internship program acknowledges the critical role Indigenous peoples and Native Pacific Islanders play in the fight against climate change”, Fe‘a said. The Institute is an eight-week paid summer internship program dedicated to preparing tribal college students for graduate school and to helping meet the challenges of climate and environmental change. It is open to undergraduate students with good academic standing. Program eligibility is limited to American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Island students who are U.S. citizens.
Interns will work closely with KU graduates, masters, and Ph.D. students to study the effects of climate change on natural and human systems. They will design independent research projects on climate and environmental change occurring in a Native community of their choice. After the summer program, during the academic year, HERS interns will have several opportunities to present their work at professional meetings, workshops, and symposia around the country, including the Society for Advancing Chicanos & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) or the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).
“Climate change may be a global crisis, but in the Pacific, we feel the greatest effects along with other small island nations and coastal regions,” Fe‘a said. “From tropical cyclones to floods and sea-level rise, our people have witnessed and experienced various disasters directly connected to climate change, displacing our homes, and threatening our lives. Therefore, it’s important for us to be included and represented in public discourse and efforts to combat the crisis.”
ASCC currently offers Associate of Science degrees through its Agriculture, Community, and Natural Resources (ACNR) Division in the areas of Agribusiness, Family and Consumer Science, General Agriculture, and Natural Resources. The degrees are designed to provide a solid educational foundation and prepare the students for on-island positions in these fields as well as for transfer to off-island schools. For more information on these degree programs, please call ASCC-ACNR at 699-1575 or visit www.amsamoa.edu.