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US Representative Aumua Amata Coleman Radewagen

Proudly Representing American Samoa

Congresswoman Amata Highlights Importance of U.S. Tech Education in Commencement Speech

June 12, 2018
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Saturday, Congresswoman Aumua Amata gave a commencement speech highlighting the importance of technology education to the skills and jobs of the future.

Speaking on the striking growth of cyber and other technology in our expanding economy, she congratulated graduates at the Virginia University of Science and Technology, and accepted an honorary doctorate centered on her policy work in the U.S. House of Representatives, including the Committee on Small Business, where she chairs the Subcommittee on Health and Technology.


Congresswoman Aumua Amata speaks to the press after receiving honorary Ph.D
Congresswoman Aumua Amata speaks to the press after receiving honorary Ph.D.


Six Key Excerpts of Congresswoman Amata’s remarks:

As a Member of the Committee on Small Business, where I Chair the Subcommittee on Health and Technology, I know firsthand that the economy is changing rapidly in this century. The Virginia University of Science and Technology, positioned here near our nation’s capital, is a great resource for the exact skills needed in this historic time. The educators here will have the opportunity to influence some of the next generation of entrepreneurs and leaders in their fields of study.

In recent decades, I’ve seen great progress for those of us who have heritage from faraway places, including some of us here. It’s a pleasure to envision the new leaders from any-and-all cultures that will be educated right here and go on to positions of responsibility and innovation in their communities, businesses and governments.

Many recognitions – like this one – do not solely belong to an individual. In my case, countless people have influenced me and molded my career over the years. Just this past week, former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci passed away. He was my first boss in Washington, DC, and a friend, and upon getting that news, I found myself thinking back to the early days of my career. It was in those early positions that I first learned many of the processes of working in our federal government – absolutely foundational lessons to serving American Samoa in Congress all these years later.

As one of the insular representatives, I’ve learned that working together I can accomplish much more for my home islands than any one Member can alone. That lesson of cooperation applies to almost any career, or any future goals, no matter how different your vision might be from my role in government. Take it from Aumua: build a team, and you’ll bring those goals closer. Those who share your vision; those who can strengthen your abilities, or even replace your deficiencies, will elevate your work – even as you do the same for them.

The best opportunities sometimes come from seemingly unlikely places. But it doesn’t happen without an education and life experiences that fit those opportunities. My message is ultimately simple: Prepare. Then go out with confidence. Success may take time and patience, and even enduring setbacks. Step out there and find your way. In time, you’ll look back and see you’ve made a difference.

I’m humbled to have this small role in this chapter of this institution’s story, and in doing so, send a message home to our young people that education is a crucial stepping stone in life’s goals.