ASCC Science Symposium rescheduled for Tuesday
Students at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) who have conducted research both locally and off-island will share the results of their studies during a Science Symposium this coming Tuesday, November 5th, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. in the College’s Lecture Hall.
The Symposium had originally been scheduled for this past Thursday, but unforeseen circumstances made it necessary to re-schedule the event. Six students who have participated in science-related seminars, workshops and internships off-island will each give a presentation on their topic and how it relates to the current environment of American Samoa. The theme for this year’s Symposium is “Sustainable Practices Now for a Better Future.”
The event is organized by ASCC Science Department chair Randel DeWees, Science assistant Victor Ualesi, and former Marine Science instructor Kelley Anderson-Tagarino, who now serves as Sea Grant Extension Agent. Every semester, the ASCC Science Department encourages students with a strong interest in a particular area of research to apply for available grants and other opportunities to further their studies through off-island programs such as internships and conference participation. The six students who will make presentations at the Symposium have all taken advantage of such opportunities through pursuing topics of particular relevance to their home environment.
Mona Chang made a National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded research trip as far as Arkansas to observe firsthand the environmental impact of pork production. Mine Lilomaiava was funded by the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) to travel to Iowa State University to research the turnip mosaic virus. Eirenai Tesimale also secured support from LSAMP to study taro pollination and seed production at UH Manoa. Ioana Vaisagotem traveled to Costa Rica to study reproduction patterns in Cecropia plants through funding from the NSF and the Native American and Pacific Islander Research Experience. Rocco Tinitali gave a presentation at the Hawaii Conservation Conference this past July, supported by the NSF and an Advanced Technology Education grant, and Leilua Watson has also researched sedimentation impact as part of the Undergraduate Research and Mentoring Program funded by the NSF and hosted by UH Manoa.
National institutions make funding for research available in the hopes that students will use what they learn as a means to engage with pressing environmental issues at home, an opportunity of particular relevance to a location with a limited land base such as ours which also relies on imported food. “My research is on the impact of pork production on land use in the United States, and to try to find a correlation between the amount of pork imported into the territory and the amount of land required to produce it,” explained Mona Chang. “Results show that if no intervention is made, the amount of land used in the United States to produce the pork we consume will increase steadily.”
Over the past decade, ASCC has made great strides towards incorporating studies of the ocean into its curriculum, which has resulted in an increased number of students entering the field of Marine Science. “We live in a wonderful natural laboratory for studying best management practices in tropical ecology – a hot area currently due to the increasing pressures of climate change and human population growth,” observed instructor Tagarino. “Living on a steep-sloped island, we can readily study the effects of land-use practices on our reefs, and hopefully from this learn how to improve both our land and our sea.
The Symposium is open to all students and interested members for the public. For more information, contact the Science Department through the main ASCC telephone number 699-9155 ext. 358.
Contributing to this article were Kelley Anderson Tagarino, Randel Dewees and James Kneubuhl.
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