Waimea robotics grad earns international scholarship honors

Brycen Nakashima, a freshman at the University of Hawai‘i College of Engineering, was recently featured in a world-wide publication, said Stu Burley.

Burley is the advisor and partner for the Waimea High School robotics club where Nakashima was a member until he graduated.

“He applied to the Marine Technology Society ROV Committee for a scholarship and was announced as one of the winners from about 500 applicants,” Burley said. “What makes Nakashima so special is that only four recipients were selected, and the announcement was featured in the July 2008 issue of “Marine Technology Reporter,” a publication which has readership around the world.”

In April 2008, Nakashima was part of the Waimea ROV Club which took second place in the Big Island robotics competition held in Hilo.

Burley, who is one of the mentors of the club, said the Menehune robotics team is coordinated by Laura Mission with the primary sponsors being the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board Aloha ‘Ike and CSC.

During the competition, the Waimea team left for the competition without having an opportunity to test its craft on Kaua‘i because the Waimea pool was undergoing repairs.

The pink craft featured three motors and propellors, two underwater cameras and 40 feet of electrical cabling tethering it to a control box and a 24-volt battery. It additionally sported an underwater magnet and scoop to help it during the competition.

Following the Big Island event, Nakashima was one of the Waimea High School graduates in June and is currently majoring in mechanical engineering with a minor in underwater robotic manipulators.

“We’re very proud of Brycen on his international selection,” Burley said.

Meanwhile, Kellen Nadatani has taken the lead for the Waimea ROV Club as a senior. He spearheads the construction of a new ROV which the team plans on entering in the BIRR in April 2009. He is joined by Camden Nakashima who is now a junior at Waimea High School.

Other members of the team which placed second on the Big Island in 2008 include Mana Shigematsu who is currently a freshman at the University of Colorado majoring in Civil Engineering.

Crystal Whitehill is a freshman at the University of Hawai‘i majoring in Meteorology.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or dfujimoto@kauaipubco.com

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