PhD candidate from NMI awarded $10K scholarship


Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige presents Rica Ann Dela Cruz with the Robert Murakami Scholarship on July 20, 2022. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

A doctoral candidate from the CNMI was recently awarded the 2022 Robert Murakami Scholarship, which is worth $10,000, in recognition of her “outstanding academic achievement, excellent character, and potential for combining professional endeavors with community service in Hawai‘i.”

Hawaii Gov. David Y. Ige announced the award of the grant to CNMI-born Rica Ann Dela Cruz in a post on his official Facebook page. The $10,000 Robert Murakami Scholarship is for the 2022-2023 academic school year and was awarded on July 20, 2022.

Dela Cruz currently resides in Honolulu where she is seeking a Ph.D. in Public Health at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Dela Cruz obtained her bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College in 2010 and her Master of Public Health from the University of California Los Angeles in 2016.

Upon receiving a Ph.D., Dela Cruz desires to help improve the health of residents in the CNMI and the rest of Micronesia through sharing her knowledge and inspiring more research. Her mission is to “expand cross-sectoral capacity building and also conduct community-based research that would produce culturally-tailored interventions and introduce evidence-based health policies” for those who are underserved in the Micronesia region.

The Robert Murakami Scholarship, also known as the Hawai’i Veterans Memorial Fund, was named after one of the founders of the fund, attorney Robert K. Murakami, and was chartered and endorsed by Hawaii Gov. Ingram Stainback in 1945.

Chrystal Marino | Correspondents | Correspondents
A correspondent for Saipan Tribune, Chrystal Marino enjoys travelling, writing and meeting new people. When she is not writing, she finds ways to be involved in the community. She currently covers community beats. For any community news stories reach out to her at

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