Congressman Faleomavaega today offers his congratulations to Dr. Fa’anofo Lisa Claire Uperesa who recently joined the faculty of the University of Hawaii at Manoa as Assistant Professor of Sociology and Ethnic Studies.
“I am very proud of Dr. Uperesa and congratulate her for her outstanding academic accomplishments,” said Congressman Faleomavaega. “Dr. Uperesa’s success exemplifies a new generation of Samoan and Pacific scholars whose achievements at the highest level of education speak volumes of the possibilities that await our high school and college students who wish to pursue careers in academia.”
Dr. Uperesa recently earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Anthropology at Columbia University, one of the most prestigious universities in the country. Her dissertation, “Fabled Futures: Development, Gridiron Football, and Transnational Movements in American Samoa,” explored the Samoan transnational movement through American football. After years of living on the East Coast, Dr. Uperesa will return to the Pacific to teach courses on Immigration to Hawaii and the U.S., Introduction to Race and Ethnic Relations, Racism and Ethnicity in Hawaii, as well as a new course under development, Sociology of Sport.
Born in Canada to Mr. Tu’ufuli K. “Duke” Uperesa of Fagatogo and Mrs. Kristin Nybo Uperesa of Billings, Montana, Dr. Uperesa later grew up in the village of Fagatogo where she was raised by her father and stepmother, Mrs. Talosia Uperesa. She attended Matafao Elementary and Samoana High School before heading to the University of California, Berkeley where she received her Bachelor of Science in both Sociology and Ethnic Studies. She later received her Master of Arts and Master of Philosophy in Anthropology at the University of Columbia before completing her Ph.D. studies. Dr. Uperesa is married to David A. Raygoza and they have two daughters, Tagi’ilima Santana Reese Uperesa Raygoza and Lelaleleiolepasifika Avienda Skye Uperesa Raygoza.
“I congratulate Dr. Uperesa for her perseverance and determination in completing her Ph.D. from one of the leading universities in the country and I am confident that she will be a valuable addition to the University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Sociology and Ethnic Studies Faculty,” said Congressman Faleomavaega.
“Dr. Uperesa is a shining example to our Samoan community and I know that Samoans everywhere join me in congratulating Dr. Uperesa for her distinguished success. I wish her and her family the very best.”