American Samoa High School Science Symposium 2018 - 2019

The high school science symposium, 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 Pacific Science Symposium for Science and Sustainability (PS3) in Honolulu, Hawaii. 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 include field trips and social events.

The symposium was held on November 9th at the American Samoa Community College Multi-Purpose Center. A total of 22 student research papers were reviewed by off-island readers (scientists and university faculty), selecting the top 12 student finalists to present on symposium day that was then judged by local judges.

The top 12 winning students were: First Place: Da In Myung of South Pacific Academy; Second Place: Emily Kennach of Tafuna High School; Third Place: Sophie Young of South Pacific Academy and Gloria Park of Pacific Horizon School; Fourth Place: Geraldine Ofisa of Tafuna High School; Fifth place: Koneferenisi Purcell of Manumalo Academy. Other student finalists of the local symposium in order of ranking are 6th place: Heyao Yang of South Pacific Academy; 7th palce: Carl Daniel Balauro of Faasao Marist High School and Raquel Mamea of Manumalo Academy: 8th place: Talofa Fea of Tafuna High School; 9th place: Hewlett De Lara of Manumalo Academy; 10th place: Taumafai Masunu of Manumalo Academy.

We also wish to acknowledge our 10 semi-finalists that submitted papers for review:

Honorable mention in alphabetical order is Aitulagi Alofa, Manumalo Academy, Akenese Saleutogi, Tafuna High School, Ben Schuster, Manumalo Academy,

Chanel Fatu, Fa’asao Marist High School, Isia Gurr, Tafuna High School, Jaedyn Alefosia, Fagaitua High School, Komisi Suani, Manumalo Academy, Philip Liang, Manumalo Academy, Talalelei Auvaa, Manumalo Academy, Tooa Faalogo, Samoana High School.

In recognition of their achievements, Top 12 finalists received a prize package containing certificate of merit; Trophy; a bag with school supplies. On approval, the top six finalists will receive an all-expense paid trip to Honolulu, Hawaii from January 19-20, 2019 to showcase their science projects at Hawaii Academy of Sciences in a two-day Pacific Symposium for Science and Sustainability (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 get the right to represent Hawaii 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, we thank you for your continuous support and advice. The off-island readers were: Rob Rivers Ph.D., National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Bethesda, MD 20817, George Hui   Ph.D., Research Professor, University of Hawaii, School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI 96813, Meru Sheel Ph.D. National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, Australian National University, Aparna Anantharaman Ph.D., University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, Rajesh Ambasudhan Ph.D., Chief Strategist | Allele Biotechnology & Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Asst. Professor | Neurodegenerative Disease Center, Scintillon Institute, Aneesa Golshan, University of Hawaii at Manoa, John A. Burns School of Medicine, Honolulu, HI 96813

The local judges were Domingo Ochavill Ph.D., Chief Biologist, Department of Marine and Wildlife Resources, American Samoa, Fatima Sauafea-Le'au, NOAA Fisheries – PIRO, Habitat Conservation Division, American Samoa, Hanae Spathias, Scientist, National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, Francine Amoa Ph.D., Department of Health, American Samoa, Ms. Jane Taifane NOAA-National Weather Service, American Samoa.

This special project is coordinated by the Office of Curriculum and Instruction (OCI) 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, American Samoa Community College President and staff assisting the department and for the use of the Multi-Purpose Center. For any questions or inquiries regarding this special project, please contact Dr. Joserose Jyothibhavan (Science/Health Coordinator), /Alice Moeolo, (Science/Health Specialist), / Magdalene Augafa-Leauanae (Program Director) at the DOE-Office of Curriculum & Instruction (699-6516).