LIHU‘E — A third-generation member of the Maha‘ulepu Cattle Company is the Kaua‘i recipient of the 2020 FMPR Scholars award, presented by the Fujita &Miura Public Relations.
Leilani Alquiza is a cattle rancher working more than 1,000 acres of land. She is currently attending Texas A&M-Commerce’s agribusiness program, minoring in animal science.
She is joined in the recognition by Maddie Ridgeway of Philadelphia.
Alquiza said she is deeply inspired by Kaua‘i’s traditions and the unique ways of local communities that stemmed from the sugarcane era.
“I envision a time when Kaua‘i’s community and traditions can be combined with new, innovative solutions that can allow us to understand the economics of global agricultural industries and markets so we can be successful in our traditional ways of growing and raising local food for our consumption,” she said in a release announcing her award.
“Future generations should not have to lose confidence in becoming local ranchers and farmers because of economic defeat.”
Joy Miura Koerte, a partner with FMPR, said Alquiza has an entrepreneurial spirit and the passion to serve the agricultural sector, which has deep roots on Kaua‘i.
“We know she’s going to take everything she learns and bring it back home for the benefit of our island,” Koerte said.
Ridgeway currently attends Chicago Theological Seminary’s master of divinity and master of social work program after earning her bachelor’s degree in youth ministry from Eastern University. She works as a director of student and young-adult ministries at Paoli Presbyterian Church and teaches dance at The Salvation Army Kroc Center.
She hopes that her schooling will prepare her to work in her community so she can provide social services from a Christian aspect, said Jenny Fujita, an FMPR partner.
“I deeply desire to use the gifts that the Lord has gifted me to serve in communities where resources are limited,” Ridgeway said.
“I would love to combine my experiences in ministry with the skills needed for social work to help people meet their biopsychosocial needs. Dance has played a huge role in my life and ministry, and I would love to use that passion with the people I work with as well.”
Fujita said Ridgeway aspires to see people thrive as they connect with God, themselves and those they are in community with.
“This is such a beautiful mission, and one we’re happy to support,” Fujita said.
FMPR Scholars are selected based on several key criteria, including that they are Kaua‘i or Pennsylvania residents and students who are pursuing undergraduate or graduate degrees; are interested in owning or working for a small business and/or home-based business; are engaged in entrepreneurial activities; intend to come home to and pursue their livelihoods in their local communities following their undergraduate or graduate school; are engaged in community service and wish to advance their local community following college; have proven intellectual and academic achievements; show integrity of character and an interest in helping others; and have the ability to lead and the motivation to use their talents to the fullest. Fujita &Miura Public Relations is a full-service communications-consulting firm located on Kaua‘i and in the Greater Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania.