A petition for the Northern Marianas College to develop a Bachelor of Science in Natural Resources Management and Environmental Studies curriculum is doing its rounds in the CNMI.
Initiated by NMC alumna Zabrina Mae Shai, with Robert Deleon Guerrero and Jovahna Taitingfong, the petition has already gathered 79 signatures, plus six from environment professionals who have signified intention to teach under the program, if it pushes through.
“The need for this bachelor’s program in the CNMI increases as more environmentalists emerge in our community, [such as] those who have graduated with their Associate in Science in Natural Resources Management degree, and those who are in the environmental workforce,” said Shai.
Right now, NMC only offers an associate degree in Natural Resources Management, which Shai holds.
“A big number of us have already obtained our associate in science in natural resource management,” Shai said. “So if we were to go to NMC, there is no further option for us. This is why we decided to do this petition.”
The proposal states that the program would provide an understanding of the environmental challenges at the local, national, and international levels, as well as developing a more sustainable future in the CNMI.
The bachelor’s program would also strengthen CNMI workforce capacity, specifically in compliance and monitoring, safety, environmental wellness and health, and environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It may also open up careers in management, consulting, and engineering services.
Shai, who works at the Bureau of Environmental and Coastal Quality, also believes that the community and the economy will benefit from the program.
“In our environmental agencies, there are a lot of people who are carrying [the AS] degree now who can further their education. They are dedicated and loyal to their job. They don’t want to leave the island. They want to contribute to the community,” Shai said.
The petition will be submitted to the NMC by the end of the year. To support the petition, email Shai at email@example.com.