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ASCC Alumni award Spring scholarship

Ms. Eirenei Tesimale, a Natural Resources and Agriculture major at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) has been chosen as this semester’s recipient of the ASCC Matai Alumni Scholarship. The Alumni Association presents the cash award each semester to help defray the education costs of academically outstanding students who do not qualify for the Pell Grant available to most college-bound students born in American Samoa.


Tesimale, 21, is the daughter of Lepisi and Faauma Tesimale of Tafuna, and will graduate this semester. Both her parents also attended ASCC, with father Lepisi having completed his studies in 2004 and mother Faauma a member of the 1986 graduating class.


Eirenei’s long-term goal is to become a Plant Pathologist, but before she leaves home to study off-island she will work for two years with CNR/Land Grant, where she is currently a work study student gaining firsthand greenhouse experience under the CNR Instructions division. Born in the Independent State of Samoa and therefore technically a citizen of that country, Eirenei could not qualify for federal Pell funding despite having spent most of her life in American Samoa. She could, however, meet the ASCC Matai Alumni Association award criteria.


Each semester, the ASCC Alumni Scholarship Board chooses a recipient from among applicants who do not qualify for the Pell grant. The Board consists of one alumni on the ASCC faculty, one alumni community representative, and the ASCC Dean of Student Services and Dean of Academic Affairs, and evaluates applications based on academic performance and financial need. To qualify for the scholarship, an applicant must have completed 24 credits at ASCC, passed English 90/91 and Math 80, and not yet graduated with any degree.


They must also attend the College full time, and not be working full time nor receiving any other scholarship. Finally, applicants need to submit a one-page essay explaining how the ASCC Matai Alumni Scholarship award will assist them in reaching their academic goals.


The ASCC Matai Alumni Association finances its scholarship through donations from its membership as well as its own fundraising activities. The Association also works closely alongside the American Samoa College Research Foundation (ASCRF), and a separate entity which also promotes ASCC and its mission. ASCRF considers all ASCC alumni as potential donors and networks with them to encourage giving back to ASCC for the benefit of current students. 


“At most universities and college’s off-island, their Foundation and alumni work hand in hand to support the students,” said ASCRF head Matesina Aseta-Willis, “and both we and the ASCC Matai Alumni are doing the same.” Willis explained that the ASCRF, currently in a transitional phase, is working towards establishing its board members, and is open to community involvement.


The ASCC Matai Alumni Association is headed by President Amio Mavaega-Luvu.  Its officers are Evile Feleti (Vice President), Peteru Lam Yuen (Treasurer), Tina Tapua’i (Secretary) and Matesina Aseta-Willis (ASCRF Director/Alumni Liaison). “We would like to invite all the graduates to come join the ASCC Alumni and work together with the Foundation to give back to the College,” said Mavaega-Luvu, who added that American Samoa’s various ethnic communities are welcome to establish scholarships for students of their nationality who do not qualify for Pell grants.


The ASCRF can be contacted through the main ASCC phone exchange at 699-9155 ext 401/301. Ask for Matesina Aseta-Willis, who will also answer inquiries regarding the ASCC Matai Alumni Association.