KEKAHA, Hawaii – Sailors and personnel assigned to Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF), Barking Sands, participated as judges for the Kaua’i Regional Science and Engineering Fair (KRSEF) on Feb. 11 at the Kaua’i War Memorial Convention Hall.
Students from around the island were selected by their schools to present their projects for judging. As the Navy’s representatives for the island of Kaua’i, PMRF’s judges provided expert insight and mentorship for students interested in STEM fields.
This face-to-face interaction between experienced innovators and our new generation allows students to develop their projects even further through professional insight.
“To see the level that these kids were at in science compared to where I was at that age was highly rewarding,” said Electrician’s Mate 1st Class Raymond Burnett, assigned to PMRF. “I thought the presentations showed the enthusiasm of each student. The topics they chose spoke to who they want to be as a person and demonstrated a strong awareness of their community and its needs.”
Science fairs encourage students to develop their own interests and abilities to observe the world around them while advancing their problem-solving skills, elaborated Burnett. They are able to develop new ideas and solutions to scenarios they encounter in their daily life through critical thinking techniques and understanding the scientific research process. These types of events and interaction with experts are meant to employ, retain, and develop diverse thinking for our nation’s future civilian and military technical workforce.
“Our presence is very important,” continued Burnett. “It makes us more approachable to the youth of the island and allows them to see tested experts in their chosen field encourage and help guide them in the path they want to take in their life.”
Dan Matthews, director of KRSEF, began the evening awards ceremony with enthusiasm about being able to have a full science fair not interrupted by Covid-19 limitations as well as praise for the students of Kaua’i.
“Today we have a science fair, a real science fair, something that has not been heard in this building for three years. Tonight, we are going to celebrate some amazing work. … [These students], along with their teachers and mentors, have persevered on beaches, went digging through soils, studied both flora and fauna, designed devices for a better world and never thought about giving up.”
A unique aspect that PMRF’s judges were able to provide students participating in KRSEF is the chance to receive the Office of Naval Research Navy Science Award. This year, four students received the award for their projects relating to naval science and technology. This outreach program is meant to inspire, engage and educate the next generation of scientists, engineers, technology professionals and medical professionals.
Cmdr. Kacee Jossis, PMRF’s executive officer, presented the naval awards during the evening ceremony in the convention hall’s auditorium.
“Science is a central aspect of our society. Scientific literacy not only gives us a better understanding of the world around us, it strengthens everyday skills of problem solving, critical thinking, using technology effectively, and working as part of a team to reach a common objective.”
The projects students presented must show imaginative solutions to issues affecting the world around them. Jossis provided examples that Naval scientists and engineers have developed that have become common commercial spinoffs. These initiatives range from environmental impacts, developing new technology, to medical research and much more. The Navy values the diversity that can come from innovators who may see things in a different light.
“The Navy has very talented and hard-working scientists and engineers that have made a difference,” said Jossis. “Your participation here today and in the future lays a foundation for the Navy, Marine Corps and the rest of the nation to have continuing access to the finest and brightest. Our investment in you and your investment in STEM is the nation’s weapon to face future challenges.”
The winners from this year’s junior division were Sadie Stiglmeier from Island School and Lily Santiago from St. Theresa Catholic School while the winners from the senior division were Matthew Fontaine from Waimea High School as well as the group project members Paoa Itamura, Colten Dela Cruz and Trenton Tanigawa from Kaua’i High School.
Students who are selected to move onto the State Science Fair in Honolulu are given the opportunity to compete for cash, scholarships and other awards. From there, the top five projects are selected to represent the State of Hawai’i at the International Science & Engineering Fair (ISEF). In addition to recognizing over 800 high school students at science fairs with certificates and monetary awards, the Office of Naval Research will award five portable undergraduate scholarships to high school students at ISEF, who is a U.S. citizen, which will be held in Dallas this year. Five students will receive a $15,000 Chief of Naval Research Scholarship.
|Date Posted:||02.24.2023 20:33|
|Location:||KEKAHA, HI, US|