Ms. Jolly Ann Cruz

Young CNMI woman awarded the 2022 Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship

October 3, 2022

Ms. Jolly Ann Cruz, a citizen of the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas (CNMI), is awarded the Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge (BRMC) scholarship this year. She is the 21st student to be supported by the BRMC Scholarship since it was first launched in 2017. Each year MCT recruits up to two students to pursue their Master's or Doctorate degrees in conservation or environmental-related f fields. Ms. Cruz works with the Mariana Islands Nature Alliance (MINA) as the Program Manager for MINA’s Schools, for Environmental Conservation, and the Tasi Watch Rangers initiatives.

Before joining MINA in June 2014, she served as a Micronesia Challenge Young Champion (MCYC) intern hosted by MINA from 2013 to February 2014 dedicating a lot of her time to the education and outreach through the RARE Managaha Pride Campaign. This is also another program supported by the Micronesia Conservation Trust (MCT). “This internship exterminated any remaining doubt about my interest in pursuing an environmental career. I realized that this is where I wanted to be, in the community, raising awareness and combating the environmental challenges we face, sparking an interest in the conservation of our environment and the sciences”, says Ms. Cruz.

After years of working as the Program Manager at MINA, Ms. Cruz decided to pursue her Master of Education in Teaching (STEM+ the Art). Her goal is to make the science curriculum, taught locally, relevant to Micronesia and create connections to the environmental realities we face daily. Her passion for teaching makes her realize that she needs to pursue higher studies to be able to give back to future generations of leaders, science experts, decision-makers, and of course the island communities across Micronesia. Ms. Cruz will continue to work full-time with MINA while pursuing her Master's Degree at American Public University (APU) she expects to graduate in 2024.

The Micronesia Conservation Trust and partners of the Micronesia Challenge are fully committed to continuing to support young Micronesian champions to pursue graduate degrees under the Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholarship (BRMC) and to return home to work after they graduate as a way to give back to their home islands. If you would like to learn more about the scholarship, you can email Ms. Bertha Reyuw at