High School projects display at Science Fair
The 30th annual Department of Education (DOE) Island Wide Science Fair 2013 will conclude today at the Governor H. Rex Lee Auditorium with the announcement of the top two winners in the high school division grades 9-12 and the top two winners in the elementary school division, with one overall winner from the lower levels of K through level 4 and one overall winner from the upper levels of 5-8 being announced today at the auditorium.
This past Tuesday, the elementary projects were judged, while yesterday the high school projects were displayed for judging as well. There were a total of 125 Science Projects from the high school levels that were looked at yesterday by the judges. The top two winners from the high school levels will take part in this year’s Intel International Science and Engineer Fair (Intel ISEF) competition, that will be taking place from May 12-17 and will be held in Phoenix, Arizona.
On hand yesterday was the Senior Analyst and Expert from the National Science Foundation (NSF) in Washington D.C., John Cruickshank. According to Cruickshank the NSF in Washington D.C. is the premier U.S. Science and Research Agency funding the most cutting edge research across the nation.
“I'm here for a number of reasons in support of capacity building,” said Cruickshank. “I am your federal advocate for American Samoa in helping to grow and to prioritize STEM, which stands for, Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. That covers a very broad spectrum of helping to infuse and reform your curriculum for more cutting edge science courses, as well as train your youth into more promising scientific careers ,and help embed more rigorous degree bearing programs at the community college in science and technology — all for the benefit of building capacity in American Samoa,” he said.
He went on to say that he wishes to do this while honoring the cultural traditions and our indigenous learning. He noted that it is about reaching out and partnering with the territory by the U.S. Government and helping support and fund the most cutting edge science for the betterment of our island territory.
Cruickshank said he was impressed by what he saw yesterday when interacting with the students and learning about their projects.
“I think it is a very important message when a senior official from the National Science Foundation in Washington D.C. gets a chance to participate in your territorial science fair, particularly at the secondary level. Because this is what we seek to support and partner with, which is inquiry based learning, rigorous research and capacity building,” he explained.
He explained that the research questions that he saw yesterday were robust and rigorous, with the participating science fair students asking, studying and investigating really deep core scientific questions across the fields of science.
“I am also motivating and inspiring the students to think about how that research could also be used to solve key problems and questions for the benefit of the territory."
He continued, "Investing in science, investing in your youth, investing in your education, is going to be the greatest foundation to allow to prosper and preserve and build a very promising future in this island territory, which is beautiful.”
Samoa News also spoke with some of the participating Science Fair students. One of the students was Evander Kitiona, a 15-year old Sophomore at Iakina Adventist Academy, who did his project on Ocean Acidification. “I would like to thank my teachers at Iakina Adventist Academy and my family for their support. Hopefully I will do well here at the science fair,” said Kitiona.
Tafuna High School Junior Fiatele Te’o whose project was on Stirling Engines also spoke with Samoa News, “I want to thank my mom for supporting me throughout this whole thing and thank all of my friends who helped me. This was a lot of work that I did, and I had so much fun and learned a lot during this science fair,” said Te’o.
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