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SPA and THS take top 6 spots at ASHS 30th Science Symposium 2017

2017 American Samoa High School Science Symposium presenters, teachers and judges with OCI staff. [Courtesy photo]
They’re heading to Hawai’i to showcase their science projects
Source: American Samoa Department of Education — Office of Curriculum and Instruction

The Science/Health Division of Office of Curriculum and Instruction, American Samoa Department of Education announced the Top winners at the 30th annual High School Science Symposium — STEM related competition for high school students.

The high school science symposium is a special project adopted and coordinated to inspire young scientists, engineers and innovators who will solve the grand challenges of the future.

The Top 6 winners are now eligible to represent American Samoa to the Regional Pacific Science Symposium for Science and Sustainability (PS3) in Honolulu, Hawai’i.

The Pacific Symposium for Science and Sustainability is an annual event coordinated by the Hawaii Academy of Science and funded by the Department of the Army, Navy and Air Force to encourage high school students to pursue research and study in science, engineering and mathematics.

The regional competition is open to all high school students in grades 9-12. It provides a unique educational experience by bringing high school students from the Pacific Islands including Hawaii to share their studies. The symposium is also fashioned after professional conferences to include field trips and social events.

The local Science Symposium was held on Nov. 8 at the American Samoa Community College Lecture Hall, where the top 11 student finalists presented their papers that were then judged by local judges. A total of 15 student papers were reviewed by off-island readers (scientists and university faculty), by which the 11 finalists were selected.

The top 11 winning students were:

1. Gayathri Murali, South Pacific Academy

2. Timothy Gayapa, South Pacific Academy

3. Karallyn Fitisone, South Pacific Academy

4. Wilson Reid, Tafuna High School

5. Vini Sipili, Tafuna High School

6. Marian Rajamohan, South Pacific Academy

7. Josivini Voseci, Tafuna High School

8. Da In Myung, South Pacific Academy

9. Serenalia Iona, Leone High School

10. Noelle Lei Sam, South Pacific Academy

11. Isaiah Saina Ito, Tafuna High School.         

 We also wish to acknowledge our 4 semi-finalists that submitted papers for review:

Honorable Mention in alphabetical order are:

Carl Daniel Balauro of Fa’asao Marist High School; Eseta Te’I of Samoana High School; Joelyn Rafil of Fa’asao Marist High School; and Olyvia Taa’se of Faga’itua High School.

In recognition of their achievements, the Top 11 finalists received a prize package comprising a certificate of merit; trophy; and a bag with school supplies.

The top six finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to Honolulu, Hawai’i from January 13-14, 2018 to showcase their science projects at the Hawaii Academy of Sciences and compete in a two-day PS3 competition.

The PS3 serves as a regional competition for students to advance to the national program, Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS).

All students in grades 9–12 in both public and private schools in Hawai‘i, American Samoa, and Micronesia are invited to submit papers for participation in the PS3.

Five finalists at the PS3 will receive expense-paid trips to the national JSHS in April/May. The top three finalists will receive scholarships and the top two will represent the Hawai’i region in the national JSHS competition.

Scholarships and travel to international science events are prizes included at the national JSHS.

For this year’s symposium readers and judges, AS-DOE thanks you for your continuous support and advice.

The off-island readers were: George Hui- Ph.D., University of Hawaii, School of Medicine; Andrew Pati Ah Young- Ph.D. Genentech Inc., South San Francisco; Meru Sheel- Ph.D, Australian National University; Vidisha Tripathi- Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Aparna Anathanaraman- Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center; Emel Adaligil- Ph.D., Genentech Inc., South San Francisco; Michael Holliday- Ph.D., Genentech Inc., South San Francisco; Christine Huang- Ph.D., Genentech Inc., South San Francisco; Tatjana Petojevic- Ph.D., Genentech Inc., South San Francisco.

The local judges were Utu Abe Malae, Chief Executive Officer, American Samoa Power Authority; Domingo Ochavillo- Ph.D., Chief Biologist, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources; Mareike Sudek- Ph.D., National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa; Edna Noga, American Samoa Power Authority; Aifili Tufa, Epidemiologist, Department of Health American Samoa; and Victoria Barker, National Park of American Samoa.

This special project is coordinated by the Office of Curriculum and Instruction and sponsored by the Department of Education.

Many special thanks to all the parents and supporters in attendance to witness the presentations by these ‘young scientists’ of American Samoa, as well as the American Samoa Community College President and staff assisting the department and for the use of the Lecture Hall.

For any questions or inquiries regarding this special project, please contact Dr. Joserose Jyothibhavan (Science/ Health Coordinator) or Magdalene Augafa-Leauanae (Program Director) at the DOE-Office of Curriculum & Instruction (699-6516).

For more information on the HIGH SCHOOL SCIENCE SYMPOSIUM, visit the ASDOE web site: