Ma. Vida Amor Eschaluse is this year’s recipient of the “Live Your Dream” funding award given by the Soroptimist International of the Northern Marianas Islands.
She will be presented with the award at the “Live Your Dream” gala on Jan. 19, from 6pm to 9pm, at the Hibiscus Hall of the Fiesta Resort & Spa Saipan in Garapan.
According to Pam Brown, Soroptimist Ways and Means chair and former CNMI attorney general, the selection was tough because all nine candidates have stellar backgrounds and achievements but the 28-year-old aspiring physician stood out.
“Maria is an amazing young woman. She is the daughter of Filipino contract workers and she came to the CNMI with them. She was educated thoroughly here and in the Philippines,” she said.
When Eschaluse returned to the CNMI, she got married, became a U.S. citizen, and had a daughter. Eschaluse then pursued a nursing major at the Northern Marianas College in 2016.
“In her third semester at NMC, she was chosen as a Build Exito Scholar, which is a research pathway program. She will be taking up a course called BS Health Sciences, which will prepare her to medical school,” Brown said.
“Her education pathway is to pursue a doctorate in pathology, leaning toward cellular pathology. Her ultimate career goal is to become a pathologist, studying diseases at a cellular level,” Brown added.
She said that Eschaluse met all Live Your Dream’s criteria: head of household, financial need, educational goals, career goals, and references.
“Her grades are incredibly good, she got rave reviews from esteemed professors at NMC like Prof. Lisa A. Lunde and Dr. Beylul Solomon, and she is on her way to pursue a medical career, which is not an easy feat,” she said.
The “Live Your Dream” program is considered a major event of the Soroptimist International of Americas. It makes sure that deserving young women who are the heads of the household can further their education by awarding them money that they can use for anything.
“It’s not a scholarship as awardees don’t have to use it for tuition or books. If they have to pay the rent or the babystitter, they can use it for what their need is. We don’t restrict it,” Brown said.
“We had our most ever nine applicants this year. Normally, we get four and we are happy. SINMI received good response to our call to apply. Saipan, Tinian, and Rota were all represented as there was incredible differences in nationalities—U.S. citizens, Chamorro, Korean, Filipino, Chinese, and Japanese descent,” she added.
This is the fifth year of the “Live Your Dream” award given by Soroptimist International NMI and they plan to continue the program yearly.
“This is our way of giving back to the community because we all came from very divergent backgrounds. None of us took the straight path to whatever success we have now. We had to go through meandering journeys and people ended up helping us so we are paying it forward by helping this year’s awardee,” Brown said.
“We don’t see it ending and, in fact, we just chartered a club on Palau in October. They’re having their ‘Live Your Dream’ and this shows that we are a dynamic group. We extend our thanks to Bank of Guam as they have been instrumental to make this take off in the Micronesia region,” she added.
Everyone is invited to join SINMI to celebrate the acheivements and dreams of the 2018 “Live Your Dream” awardee. For tickets, call 234-9480.