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Savai'i man gets Samoa's first meteorology doctorate

A man from Savai’i has become the first Samoan to get a doctorate in meteorology.

Luteru Agaalii Tuvale graduated with a Doctorate of Science in Meteorology (Ph.D) from Nagoya University in Japan. 

The 33-year-old from the village of Safune, Savai'i told Samoa Observer that he is overwhelmed and humbled by his achievement.

"I am really happy that this journey has come to an end. This has always been a dream to achieve something like this and now that it's done, I am just happy,” he said.

And like anything else in life, Mr. Tuvale admits that achieving his goal was no walk in the park.

The workload, long nights, being away from his families, and not having any Samoans around where he stayed, were some of the main obstacles he faced during his doctoral studies journey. 

However, he found solace in his family who were behind him throughout the duration of his postgraduate program.

Mr. Tuvale worked at the Samoa Meteorology Division prior to going for studies in Japan, which he said was a big motivator. 

"The nature of my job being a meteorologist includes forecasting the weather, so I wanted to make sure I am competent and have the right skills and knowledge to do the job, and hope to save lives and properties,” he said. 

"Not only that, but I want to contribute to the well-being of Samoa, Pacific, and our people. With climate change, the weather is changing so there is a need to get all the knowledge needed in my line of work."

When asked what his message was to the children of Samoa? He said: "You can achieve anything as long as you put your heart and mind into. Even if you are from Savai’i, you can do it or even do better than me. Make good use of what's available to us, it does not matter if you are from the rural area or living in town."

He also took the opportunity to encourage more students in Samoa to consider science as a major in school, especially those who performed well in mathematics and physics.

"Particularly with good grades in Mathematics and/or Physics that can allow you to study meteorology and understand how the weather and climate changes."

When he was asked what the next chapter will be, he said he is heading back to Samoa to give back to the people. 

"I will come back to Samoa and work again to contribute and give back to our people. I will put the knowledge attained into good use and work hard to the best of my ability."

Luteru Agaalii Tuvale holds a Bachelor of Science in Maths and Physics from the University of South Pacific. He also did a Pro graduate Diploma in Meteorology in Fiji Postgraduate Diploma Meteorology, BOM in Melbourne Australia and graduated with a Master of Science in Meteorology from the University of Reading, England.

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