American Samoan graduate travels across Pacific to receive award, visit campus

Although she has made many trips to the mainland from her American Samoa home, Mariana Timu-Faiai, 2010 graduate, has never gotten a chance to see the Fort Hays State University Campus in person.

This September, regret will fall away when she makes the flight from American Samoa to the states to receive the National University Telecommunications Network Student Recognition Award in Colorado Springs, Colo., and visit the campus in Hays.

"It is an honor to be selected as the NUTN 2010 Student Recognition Award recipient. I am truly humbled," said Timu-Faiai (pronounced tee-MOOH fah-EE-ah-EE).

The NUTN (pronounced NEWT'n) Student Recognition Award recognizes a student whose use of distance learning has been exemplary. Nominations are assembled by faculty and staff from institutions and submitted to NUTN for consideration. Nominees are chosen based on opportunity, academic achievement and personal or professional advancement.

As part of the award, Timu-Faiai will fly to Colorado Springs to receive the award in person at the NUTN Summit 2010. Her trip and travel costs will be covered by FHSU.

"After receiving her award, Mariana will travel to Hays to see our campus for the first time and to meet the faculty members that she's been inspired by throughout her bachelor's and master's here at FHSU," said Hayley Bieker, FHSU Virtual College online student communication strategist.

"FHSU has helped me acquire the knowledge and skills to advance my career," said Timu-Faiai. "I'd like to take a tour of the campus and meet with my instructors and advisors in person."

Timu-Faiai is a prime example of distance education at FHSU: If she can do it from the middle of the Pacific, anyone can do it from anywhere.

"I challenge anyone to take advantage of the significant opportunity presented by virtual education at FHSU," she said. "It can help anyone acquire higher learning and education."

Timu-Faiai graduated with a Master of Liberal Studies in social sciences in fall 2009 from FHSU.  Thanks to President Edward H. Hammond and the administration at American Samoa Community College, she was able to receive her degree at the commencement ceremony at ASCC in Pago Pago, American Samoa.

For more information about the Virtual College at FHSU, visit the Web site at

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