Mahi Pono names two recipients of its inaugural scholarship

Photo courtesy of Mahi Pono (Bryan Berkowitz Photography)

Maui farming company Mahi Pono has named two recipients of its inaugural educational scholarship.

Moani Tiare Atay and Nakoa Benjamin were awarded $3,000 each, which will support educational costs as they pursue an agriculture-related field of study in college.

The 2022 Mahi Pono Scholarship supports educational opportunities aimed at creating long-term career paths and job opportunities in agriculture for Maui County residents. The scholarship is open to graduating seniors in Maui County who are seeking to pursue further education towards a career in an agriculture-related field.

“The future of food sustainability on Maui depends on our kuleana to equip the next generation,” said Shan Tsutsui, chief operating officer for Mahi Pono in a company announcement. “We are glad to support two of Maui’s brightest as they pursue higher education in an agriculture-related field, and we look forward to seeing the many ways that they will help contribute to our Maui community through their education.”

Nakoa Benjamin (left) and Moani Tiare Atay (right).

Moani Tiare Atay is a 2022 graduate from Kamehameha Schools Maui, and will be attending Oregon State University in the fall.  She will be majoring in environmental science to further her passion and knowledge for environmental stewardship.  Moani hopes to combine her college education with the experience she has as a crew member of Hui O Wa‘a Kaula, an organization formed to perpetuate Hawaiian canoe building, wayfinding and voyaging arts.

Nakoa Benjamin graduated from Maui High School and will attend Linfield University in McMinnville, Oregon. By studying agriculture, he hopes to learn what it takes to grow and sustain a successful agricultural business, and looks forward to one day applying that knowledge to help his family and hometown.

To qualify for the scholarship, applicants had to be a graduating senior and Maui County resident, have at least a 3.0 grade point average, and intend to pursue higher education in an agriculture-related field of study. In order to apply, students needed to submit grade transcripts, a recommendation letter and a resume detailing co-curricular activities, community service, awards and honors, and employment throughout the applicant’s high school years. The application also included an essay prompt about the applicant’s reasons for pursuing an agriculture-related field of study.

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