Categorized | Education, News

Waiakea student off to national science symposium


Five top science students from Hawaii and Samoa – including Nolan Kamitaki of Waiakea High School – have won all-expenses-paid trips to the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Chosen for the best experimental research papers in regional competition at the recent Pacific Symposium for Science and Sustainability in Honolulu were:

* First place: Lucia Mocz, a senior at Mililani High, won a $2,000 scholarship to the college of her choice. Her teacher, Namthip Sitachitta, also will receive a trip to the national event.

* Second place: Nolan Kamitaki, Waiakea High junior, who received a $1,500 scholarship to the college of his choice.

* Third place: Samuel Meleisea, senior at Tafuna high School, Samoa. He received a $1,000 scholarship.

* Fourth and fifth place: Carolynn Kitamura, senior, and Alyssa Fujimoto, junior, both from Kamehameha Schools.

Mocz and Kamitaki will compete at the national symposium.

A multiple-science award winner, Kamitaki recently was the featured guest speaker at the 82nd Hawaii Academy of Science annual dinner meeting. He gave an account of his experiences with the Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair (HSSEF), the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and the Pacific Symposium for Science and Sustainability (PS3).

Nolan compares his experiences with the Dr. Suess book, “And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street,” a story about a boy’s vivid imaginative views of the world. He explained his involvement with the Academy’s programs contributed to his maturity and awareness that helped him succeed in the intense environment of the competitions.

“I would not have known what I was capable of,” he said, if he had not been “forced” into his first school science fair by his seventh grade teacher and given the many opportunities that followed.

In 2006, as an eighth grader, he won the junior research first place award at HSSEF for his project, “Arsenic in the Schools and the Students?” He also received a nomination to the Discovery Channel Young Scientist Challenge (DCYSC) and was selected the National Champion of the DCYSC held in October 2006 in Washington, D.C.

As a freshman in high school, Nolan conducted research in computer simulation with his project, “Programming a Network Approach to Contain the Spread of Epidemics.” He won first place at HSSEF in 2007. He also placed second in the 2007 PS3 competition, earning a trip to the 46th National Junior Science & Humanities Symposium (JSHS) in Orlando, Fla.

In 2008, he worked a second year of his computer simulation looking at different variables. This project won second place in the 2008 HSSEF. He also won an award in May at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Atlanta, GA.

Meanwhile, the upcoming National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium will host Meleisea, Kitamura and Fujimoto as observers. Vanessa Lui, a McKinley High junior, was selected as an alternate.

The regional competition is sponsored by the Hawaii Academy of Science through a grant from the Academy of Applied Sciences. It is open to all high school students from Hawaii, American Samoa and Micronesia.

The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium is sponsored by the U.S. Departments of the Army, Navy and Air Force with leading research universities. It is slated for April 30 to May 4.

More than 400 students are expected to participate from 48 regional symposiums.

— Find out more:
Junior Science and Humanities Symposium:
Hawaii Academy of Science:

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