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Community News Briefs

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EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS GRANT

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — A U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) grant in the amount of $413,850 is headed for the American Samoa Department of Health (ASDOH).

The Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) cooperative agreement provides crucial support for state, local, and territory public health departments. This is a new discretionary grant that allows public health systems to respond to and recover from emergencies.

“Thank you especially to Jacqueline Solaita for her work on this grant, and the preparedness efforts it supports,” said Congresswoman Uifa’atali Amata. “It’s important to have good planning and preparation in place if necessary for urgent response while working for prevention.”

The grant is through the Office of Readiness and Response, an office of the CDC.

“Thank you as always to all our medical professionals for their dedication and constant care,” concluded Congresswoman Amata. “Thank you to Governor Lemanu Mauga, Lt. Gov. La’apui Ale, and Health Director Motusa Nua as they lead territory health programs including efforts to fulfill qualifications for federal funds.”

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND DEAN’S LIST

Faiane Saelua of American Samoa was named to the Dean's List for the spring 2024 term at University of Maryland Global Campus. To be eligible for the honor, a student must complete at least six credits during the term, earned a grade point average of at least 3.5 for the term, and maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.5 at UMGC.

University of Maryland Global Campus was founded more than 75 years ago specifically to serve the higher education needs of working adults and military servicemembers. Today, UMGC is the largest provider of postsecondary education in Maryland and continues its global tradition with online and hybrid courses, more than 175 classroom and service locations worldwide, and more than 135 degrees and certificates backed by the reputation of a state university and the University System of Maryland.

USAF GRADUATION

In celebration of Asian American & Pacific Islander month last May, more young scholars from the Pacific Islands continue reaching their first of multiple decorated milestones in life, especially this graduation season. 

Cadet Taylor Poia Miller, a recent graduate of the United States Air Force Academy in the state of Colorado, received her Bachelor of Science (BS) in biology. Ms. Miller received her 2nd Lieutenant (2LT) ranks for successfully completing her academia on May 30, 2024.

2LT Miller has earned medals and scholastic recognitions throughout her college years, and her first military assignment will be at the Royal Air Force (RAF) at Mildenhall in England.

Her parents, Bret Miller (US Air Force, Retired Senior Master Sergeant/E8) and Lina Ma’afala (US Army, Chief Warrant Officer/CW2) have been strong pillars of support enabling Ms. Miller to achieve her goals and dreams in life. 

 2nd LT Miller’s Samoan mother, CW2 Lina Ma’afala hails from the villages of Aua Paepaeulupo’o, Leulumoega, and Malie. Her grandparents are the late Sa’ousoali’i “Sa’o” Ma’afala-Amituana’i and Poia Leoitiiti.

Ms. Miller has visited American Samoa at an early age, and she is immensely proud of her Samoan heritage. Congratulations 2LT Miller.

ADVANCING EDUCATION

On June 13-14, the U.S. Department of Education hosted the second of three Regional Convenings to support state action to advance the education professions. This one convened in Chicago.

The three convenings are bringing together key leaders from across over 25 states, D.C. and American Samoa in cross-sector state leadership teams to learn from each other about effective efforts by states to increase educator compensation, expand access to high-quality and affordable pathways into the education professions, and increase educator diversity. The opening remarks featured the Department’s Assistant Secretary for the Office of Planning, Evaluation, and Policy Development Roberto J. Rodriguez and Illinois State Superintendent of Education Dr. Tony Sanders.

Illinois is among the diverse states undertaking high-impact work to advance the teaching profession, which will be presented at the convening. Other states to be highlighted over the three convenings include Colorado, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, and Washington. The first convening, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico on May 29 and 30, focused on the Western states and a third and final convening will be held in Jackson, Mississippi on June 20 and 21, focused on the Southern states. These convenings are hosted in partnership with The Hunt Institute and TEACH.org.