LIHU‘E — Capt. Tim Young, commanding officer of the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility at Barking Sands, had just one word to describe the field of nearly 80 exhibits and displays at the Kaua‘i Regional Science and Engineering Fair Saturday at the Kaua‘i War Memorial Convention Hall — “wow.”
State Department of Education Kaua‘i Complex Area Superintendent William Arakaki said everything starts with a question, as he congratulated the student winners at the fair.
Winners from participating schools collected from their respective fairs came to be judged on an islandwide level, and the eventual overall and category winners were supplemented by specialty awards provided by the community partners who support the opportunities for studies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
These sponsors make it possible for Kaua‘i students to send the top five overall winners in both the junior and senior divisions to the Hawai‘i State Science and Engineering Fair that will be held April 8 through 10 in Honolulu, said Maryann Tabuchi of the DOE, who coordinated the effort with Nathan Aiwohi. Additionally, sponsorships at the local level enable the overall senior division winner to attend both the Hawai‘i state event and the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair that, this year, will be held in Anaheim, California, and features participation from more than 1,700 students from more than 70 countries.
“I always had an interest in hurricanes and meteorology from when I was a young boy,” said Aiden Gregerson, the student from Kaua‘i High who earned the senior division first-place overall prize. “When I entered computer science, I asked myself how could I combine computers with my interest in meteorology to help people.”
That question resulted in Gregerson’s “Programming an Analysis of the Effects of the El Nino-Southern Oscillation Cycle on the Development of Hurricanes and Their Translation Speed” that went on to capture awards in environmental and best of categories, along with a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration specialty award.
In layman’s terms, Gregerson said the project tracks historical data from past hurricanes to create a model that will help predict future storms, allowing more time for storm preparation.
Priscilla Matthews, the sole entry from the Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School, was concerned about an easier way to identify invasive species.
“I created an app people can use to identify invasive species through scanning pictures on cards of the suspect plant,” said Matthews, who finished imn first place in the junior division. “I can work on this to make it easier by having a photo database within the program that would eliminate the scanning process.”
In addition to her overall prize, Matthews also copped honors for animal science in the best of judging, and the Lemelson Early Inventor Prize in specialty awards.
“We are lucky to have all this talent here on Kaua‘i,” Young said, presenting the Navy’s specialty awards to Jaiden Sams of Waimea Canyon Middle School and Kai Mottley of Kaua‘i High.
Junior division, best in category
Biological Certificate — Hannah Kostka, Michelle Lapilio (Kilauea School), “How Much Metal is in Your Food?”
Animal Certificate — Priscilla Matthews (Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle School), “Creating a Program in Python to Identify Invasive Species”
Plant Certificate — Jaiden Sams (Waimea Canyon Middle School), “Which Soil Absorbs the Most Pollutants in Water?”
Material Sciences Certificate — Gwyneth Adams, Helena Ng, Rumi Way (Hanalei School), “Makin’ Up Makeup”
Theoretical Sciences Certificate — Sage Octavio (Waimea Canyon Middle School), “Saving Cats and Dogs on the Road”
Environmental Certificate — Trevor Hankinson, Keale Schumacher (Kilauea School), “Albatross Protection Project”
Advanced Technologies Certificate — Finn Beebe, Haven Lathrop (Kilauea School), “Soccer Mom’s Dream”
Junior division overall
1. Priscilla Matthews; 2. Jaiden Sams; 3. Gwyneth Adams, Helena Ng, Rumi Way; 4. Finn Beebe, Haven Lathrop; 5. Given Goodwin (Hanalei School), “Coconut Maturity”
Senior division, best in category
Behavioral Certificate — Ainge Gillman, Ethan Smith (Kaua‘i High), “Agreement with Political Editorial as a Function (of) Content Versus Source”
Biological Sciences Certificate — Ryleigh Hernando, Jonathan Lau (Kaua‘i High), “Use Gas Chromatography to Identify the Contents of Vaping Liquids with Special Attention to Diacetyl”
Animal Sciences Certificate — Maximilian Graefen (Kaua‘i High), “Bacteria on Computers”
Plant Certificate — Emerson Harr (Kaua‘i High), “Dormancy and Germination of the Invasive Schinus Terebinithifolius”
Material Sciences Certificate — Hayley-Jay Ka‘eo (Kaua‘i High), “Growing Crystals”
Theoretical Sciences Certificate — Alexander Hung (Waimea High), “File Lock: File Security System”
Energy Certificate — Kai Mottley (Kaua‘i High), “Designing a Cost-Effective and Environmentally Friendly Form of Marine Renewable Energy”
Environmental Certificate — Jaedin Lagundino (Kaua‘i High), “Eco-Friendly Decomposition of Textile Waste”
Advanced Technologies Certificate — Kathleen Claire Alvarez, Carlton Hung, Jaymin Kali-Palau (Waimea High), “Monitoring System for Black Soldier Fly Colony”
Senior division overall
1. Aidan Gergerson; 2. Emerson Harr; 3. Kathleen Claire Alvarez, Carlton Hung, Jaymin Kali-Palau; 4. Kai Mottley; 5. Jaedin Lagundino
Surfrider Junior Division, Cynthia and Conrad Welti $50 — Jaiden Sams
Surfrider Senior Division, Cynthia and Conrad Welti $100 — Kailash Letman, Bill Lin (Kaua‘i High), “The Effect of Arthrospira Platensis and Chlorella Vulharis in the Moving-Bed Biofilm Reactor Method”
Association for Women Geoscientists (female student), Christa McLeod — Leilani Goldberg (Kaua‘i High), “ Investigating the Source of Acidic Rain’
Association for Women Geoscientists (female student), Christa McLeod — Jaedin Lagundino
Natikonal Tropical Botanical Garden Young Ecologist Award, Dustin Wolkis — Emerson Harr
Lemelson Early Inventor Prize, Alyssa Carveiro $100 — Priscilla Matthews
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Jamie Thornton — Aiden Gregerson
RICOH (sustainable development). Keola Aki — Jaedin Lagundino
Yale Science and Engineering, Richard Vetter — Hayley-Jay Ka‘eo
ONR Junior Division, Capt. Tim Young — Jaiden Sams
ONR Senior Division, Capt. Tim Young — Kai Mottley
Stockholm Junior Water Prize, Jason Kagimoto — Kailash Letman, Bill Lin
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 245-0453 or firstname.lastname@example.org.