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National University of Samoa awards first PHD of Philosophy


Susana Taua’a, Senior Lecturer in Geography and Head of Department for Social Science at NUS

BY Chloe Chomicki*

APIA, SAMOA – THURSDAY 20 APRIL 2017: The National University of Samoa has for the first time awarded a PHD of Philosophy on the 7th of April.

The recipient being Susana Taua’a, Senior Lecturer of Geography and also the Head of Department for Social Science at NUS.

“My interest in Geography and passion for learning has driven me to carry out my research,” Taua’a says.  Her thesis titled “Urbanization, Poverty and Economic Informality: Characteristics of Informal Enterprises in Apia” asked  to what extent does the urban non-agricultural informal economy provide livelihoods for Samoan people and prevent poverty?

The PHD of Philosophy is a milestone for Taua’a whose academic career began in 1985.

“I obtained a scholarship and moved to Australia for 5 years where I completed my Bachelors Degree with Honours followed by my Masters degree,” Taua’a says, “Before I was able to pursue my PHD in Australia I had to return to Samoa to attend to family obligations. I began my first job teaching at the Western Samoa Teachers College in January 1994 and the in December I joined NUS and I have been with the university ever since then.”

Almost 20 years later, in February 2014, Susana Taua’a began her PHD in Philosophy through NUS graduating earlier this month. Holding a wide range of publications in many areas of Geography Taua’a says she wants to continue publishing.

“It’s the nature of my job here at NUS as an academic, you either publish or you perish,” Taua’a says, “I am hoping to apply for Associate Professor in Geography possibly after two more publications I’m currently conducting research on Rainwater Harvesting in Samoa so that is something I’m working on. I’m interested also in Post-Doctoral Studies. This is all Geography and I want to explore the physical and human components of Geography.”

  • Chloe Chomicki is a Journalism student from James Cook University, Townsville, Australia, studying at the National University of Samoa