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Monday, May 27, 2024
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Friends of Virgin Islands National Park Awards Seven University Scholarships

Sanaa Burke of the University of Delaware. (Submitted photo)

Friends of Virgin Islands National Park (VINP) is happy to announce this year that seven university-level scholarships have been awarded to Virgin Island youth.  The $5,000 awards fall under the auspices of the Friends’ two scholarship programs: the Noble Samuel Scholarship and the Jeffery Matheny Scholarship.

Scholarship recipients for the 2022-23 academic year are Ki’Janne’ Alfred (Stetson University, Florida), Sanaa Burke (University of Delaware), Kaj Gerard (University of Virgin Islands), Caliyah Helliger (Howard University), Lila Uzzell (University of Virgin Islands), and Lyric Vacharat (University of North Carolina Wilmington).

“It is exciting and rewarding to be able to support these talented young Virgin Islanders as they pursue their dreams,” said Tonia Lovejoy, executive director of Friends of Virgin Islands National Park (VINP). “Our youth are our future, and Friends is committed to building a pipeline of conservation education opportunities for island youth starting with our ‘School Kids In The Park’ and ‘Learn To Swim’ programs, to our Summer Trail Crew opportunity, and internships and scholarships like these.”

Kaj Gerard of the University of Virgin Islands with two turtles. (Submitted photo)

Friends manage two scholarship programs:

  • The Noble Samuel Scholarship and Internship was launched last year and is endowed by anonymous donors. It is inspired by the life of Noble Samuel who was a ranger in Virgin Islands National Park known for generously sharing his love for our park with passion and humility.  Recipients of this scholarship for the 2022-23 academic year are Ki’Janne’ Alfred, Sanaa Burke, Kaj Gerard and Lila Uzzell.
  • The Jeffery Matheny Scholarship was established in 2010 by his family in recognition of Jeffery’s love of St. John and supports Virgin Island students at the university level studying fields related to natural resource management and protection. Recipients of this scholarship for the 2022-23 academic year are Caliyah Helliger, Lila Uzzell and Lyric Vacharat.

Friends of Virgin Islands National Park is the official philanthropic partner of Virgin Islands National Park. Since 1988, Friends has been assisting and advising the National Park Service in assuring VINP’s unique terrestrial and marine resources are protected, the Virgin Islands’ cultural treasures in the park are preserved, and visitors and community are connected to the park through volunteerism, education and advocacy.  For more information, visit www.friendsvinp.org

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