ASCC student receives SACNAS Student Presentation Award at the 2022 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference


By Daniel Helsham, ASCC-ACNR

American Samoa Community College (ASCC) student and Natural Resources major, Talofa Fe‘a, received a 2022 SACNAS Student Presentation Award at the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics & Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) 2022 National Diversity in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) Conference in San Juan, Puerto Rico held from October 27-29, 2022.

SACNAS is a society of scientists dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists—from college students to professionals—in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in science. The largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event in the country, the SACNAS conference is a gathering which serves to equip, empower, and energize participants for their academic and professional paths in STEM. This year, the conference gathered over 5,000 students and professionals. Over the course of the event, college-level through professional attendees were immersed in cutting-edge STEM research, professional development sessions, motivational keynote speakers, and the Graduate School & Career Expo Hall, as well as multicultural celebrations and traditions, presented by an inclusive and welcoming community of peers, mentors, and role models. In addition to these activities, the conference is also an opportunity for students to present their research in a professional setting.

Fe‘a, accompanied by ACNR Greenhouse Technician Eirenei Tesimale, received a SACNAS travel scholarship award to present at the conference. She presented her research, “Eroding Ele’ele: A Qualitative Study of the Fa’asamoa Impact of Climate Migration”, which was conducted over the summer at the Haskell Environmental Research Studies Institute at the University of Kansas. “As a research poster presenter, I had the great privilege to represent and amplify the voices of my community by discussing the toll of climate change on the cultural livelihoods of our people, the supply chain of our villages, and the memory of our ancestors,” said Fe‘a.

A total of 980 posters and oral presentations were delivered at the conference. Fe‘a was among 110 graduate and undergraduate students awarded for their research and presentation skills. She received recognition for her outstanding presentation in the Undergraduate Poster Presentations - STEM Education and Learning category. “At the Conference, our mentor judges recognized Talofa’s work as standing out among the student presentations, and selected Talofa to receive one of the 2022 SACNAS Student Presentation Awards,” shared SACNAS Student Programs Coordinator Emily Pavlik. “It is my honor to share that Talofa’s communication skills and command of the research topic were exemplary.”

Along with internship opportunities, ASCC currently offers Associate of Science degrees through its ACNR Division in the areas of Agribusiness, Family and Consumer Science, General Agriculture, and Natural Resources. These degrees are designed to provide a solid educational foundation and prepare the students for on-island positions in these fields or for transfer to off-island schools. For more information on the College’s science degree programs, please call ASCC-ACNR 699-1575 or visit the website