Lithia & Driveway Scholar Series

Lithia & Driveway Scholar Fiasamoa Fa’asauvale: Finding Belonging & Opportunity at SOU

The next student in our LAD Scholar Series is Fiasamoa Fa’asauvale who has come to SOU from the village of Malaeloa in American Samoa. As the youngest of seven children in her family, Fiasamoa worked hard to support her family financially. This was an ethos instilled by her parents who have worked tirelessly to provide for their children’s education. Her family’s commitment to hard work and education laid the foundation for Fiasamoa’s aspirations. A pivotal moment arrived for Fiasamoa when she earned a LAD Scholarship allowing her to pursue her educational dreams.   

Finding Home Away from Home: A Supportive Community at SOU 

Leaving the familiarity of home to pursue higher education at SOU was a daunting decision for Fiasamoa. As the youngest in her family, being away from her parents was a significant shift. She continued to ask herself, “Is coming here truly worth it?” Doubts lingered, with questions of whether the decision aligned with her deepest desires. However, it proved to be the best decision she ever made.

Intrigued by the prospect of exploring new surroundings and finding a community of fellow Samoans at SOU, Fiasamoa discovered a supportive environment that has truly felt like a home away from home. Fiasamoa’s mother has been a foundational support in her growth and aspirations. With a daily dose of inspiration from her mother, Fiasamoa lives by the mantra, “Try your best and forget the rest.”  

Fiasamoa’s pursuit of a degree in business reflects her goal to utilize her education in supporting her family financially and pushing herself to exceed societal expectations. Fiasamoa says,

“I am an advocate for education, sharing my own journey to inspire the younger generation back home in American Samoa. Embracing higher education isn’t just a personal pursuit. I also think it’s a pathway to individual growth and collective progress for our community.”  

In high school, Fiasamoa actively engaged in leadership roles, notably as the Secretary for the National Honor Society. She later served in a similar capacity for the Student Council during her senior year. Her responsibilities included meticulous data record-keeping and coordinating with fellow officers.

Further, beyond these roles, she assumed the presidency of one of her classes, emphasizing the enjoyable nature of leadership. Fiasamoa’s experience taught her the essence of leadership, emphasizing a collective “We” mindset over an individualistic “I” approach. Despite the challenges, she found joy in motivating and encouraging fellow high school students to persevere through difficulties. 

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LAD Scholar Fiasamoa Faasauvale

Beyond Academics: Aspiring Leader and Future Business Woman 

Residing in Shasta Hall and immersing herself in the vibrant atmosphere of campus life, Fiasamoa cherishes her experiences. She reflects, “Transitioning here early through the Bridge program, I’ve been embraced with overwhelming love and support. Currently residing in Shasta Hall, my dorm experience has been delightful for forging connections and friendships. I’ve formed bonds with fellow Samoans and individuals from diverse backgrounds. The experience at Shasta Hall, coupled with utilizing the study lounge, feels gratifying and propels my focus, motivating me to surpass the intended path and reach beyond my dreams.”  

Equally important is Fiasamoa’s aspirations to extend beyond academics. With dreams of becoming a businesswoman, her leadership experience in high school laid the foundation for her belief in the power of collective effort. Transitioning to independent living, Fiasamoa looks forward to honing organizational and time management skills.

As well, Fiasamoa is active in the Polynesian Samoan club where she is enthusiastic about showcasing cultural traditions through events like the upcoming FiaFia night. She says, “I believe my favorite class so far is the Bridge class that I am currently taking. This class teaches basic leadership skills and motivates me to become a better leader myself. It helps me practice those values and roles to become an effective leader as well.”  

Finally, for Fiasamoa, choosing SOU has proven to be a source of happiness and has, for her, created a sense of belonging, akin to being surrounded by family. Her favorite spot is the Lithia Pavilion where she unwinds amidst studies and embraces the available resources. Fiasamoa describes herself as a hard worker, a motivator, and above all, humble. She says,

“I’m so grateful for the scholarship as it is providing me with the means to support myself financially through my academic pursuits.”  


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