Young Scientists Focus On Global Issues, Future Solutions

Jessica Goolsby
Wednesday - February 10, 2010
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Taylor Burnett (left) and Jennifer Fox, both eighth-graders at Island Pacific Academy, present their first-place project, ‘Chimpanzee in Our Family Tree?,’ at this week’s Hawaii Association of Independent Schools’ Science Fair. Photo courtesy of IPA.

Forty-five of Island Pacific Academy’s innovative young science enthusiasts have the chance to compete in 11 different categories at the Hawaii Association of Independent Schools’ Science Fair this week at the Disabled American Veterans Hall.

Judging will be held in two sessions Feb. 9 (9-11 a.m. and noon-2 p.m.), and the projects are available for public viewing from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. today (Feb. 10). The winners from the competition will advance to the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair April 5-7 at Blaisdell Exhibition Hall.

“We’re so proud of all our students and the ingenuity they demonstrated in each of their projects,” said Dr. Dan White, headmaster at IPA. “Their creativity continues to grow, which only serves to enhance the event year after year.”

The winners represent 30 different projects out of a total of 89. The environment and sustainability were among the more popular research topics at IPA’s third annual Middle School Science Fair last month, resulting in projects with titles such as “Solar Energy,” “Heat and Color” and “Farms of the Future: Hydroponics Versus Soil.” Other categories ranged from animal and plant sciences to energy and transportation. Teens marveled at the mathematics project, “Video Game Addiction: Does Age Matter?” while others like “Saving Energy and Money,” which had a more practical appeal.

Winners include Taylor Burnett, Jennifer Fox, Trevor Tseu and Raven Cruz (Animal Sciences Display); Mary Helen Gustafson and Jessica Merriman (Chemistry Research); Salus Kim and Alexis Tom (Computer Science Display); Michael Lee, Gavin Cabuslay, Tara Norton and Erica Ohki (Earth and Planetary Sciences Display); Jenna Minami (Earth and Planetary Sciences Research); Sam Coyle and Andrew Labaczewski (Energy and Transportation Display); Jonathan Finucane and Nycole Mitsuyasu (Energy and Transportation Research); Chelsea Robello and Tyler Arakaki (Environmental Management Display); Carly Leonoras (Environmental Science Display); Kazuo White (Mathematical Science Research); Celina Li, Ceslie Uno, Kiana Fleming, Makana Gionet and Christopher Chen (Medicine and Health Sciences Display); Jami Alamar and Lauren Chew (Medicine and Health Sciences Research); Bailey Dean (Microbiology Display); Kate Uesugi, Robyn Cabuslay, Brandon Keller, Tyler Tasaka, Noa Bennet Chong, John Black and Dayne Ramos (Physics and Astronomy Research); Emily Moss (Plant Science Display); and Tressa Hoppe, Dustin Agbayani, Aaron Bahr and Ian Schumaker (Plant Science Research). Honorable mentions also advancing include Kapena Fitzgerald and Giovanni de Lugo (Animal Sciences Display) and Zarina Araki and Jordan Yamamoto (Medicine and Health Sciences Display).

“The fairs are just a really nice opportunity for students to showcase their science skills,” said Anne Staggemeier, science fair coordinator and science department chairwoman.

“Hawaii and Florida are the only two states left that still offer middle school science fairs, so this is a very big deal to us. The funding is just not there in other places.”

For more information on the program, call 674-3563 or visit

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