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HI STAR Alumni Excel at Intel Science Fair, TEDx Talks

Matthew Thomas Sturm, Christopher Kim, Stephanie Spear, and Sarah Jenkins at ISEF. Photo courtesy S. Spear.

Students who have participated in HI STAR (Hawai‘i Student/Teacher Astronomy Research), an IfA program that encourages middle and high school students to excel in the sciences by teaching them how to do astronomical research, picked up a bundle of awards at the 2014 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Los Angeles. Six of the 25 students from Hawai‘i who went to ISEF were students who had previously attended HI STAR, and nine of the 18 awards won by Hawai‘i students were won by HI STAR alumni.

  • Sarah Jenkins: “Hot Biology: Use of Thermal Imaging to Detect Nesting Behaviors of the Endangered Hawaiian Coot”—Third Place in Animal Science, and a full tuition scholarship from Drexel University.
  • Christopher Kim and Matthew Thomas Sturm: “Observational Detection of Solar g-mode Oscillations Using Doppler Velocity Signals”—Third Place in Physics and Astronomy, and the First Physical Science Award from Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
  • Stephanie Spear: “Rocks of the Rainbow: Asteroid Classification Using SDSS Filters”—Fourth Place in Physics and Astronomy, Certificate of Honorable Mention from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society, the Third Award from the American Geosciences Institute, the New American University Provost Scholarship from Arizona State University, and the Second Award given by NASA.
  • Kayla Ishida: “Predicting the Strength of Solar Flares Using Sunspot Characteristics”—Alternate status for a summer internship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Several students who have been HI STAR participants also gave impressive TEDx youth talks that can be found on YouTube. Stephanie Spear gave a talk entitled “Bigger Isn't Necessarily Better” at a TEDx youth event held at Kamehameha School on O‘ahu. McKayla Wandell spoke about “Not Being Defined as ‘X’,” Matthew Thomas Sturm’s talk was “Magnetic Suspension, Levitation and Suspension,” and Aaron Rohozinski spoke about “The Nature of Originality” at a TEDx youth event entitled “Imagining a Better Tomorrow” held at Seabury Hall, a private school on Maui.

TED—Technology, Entertainment and Design—is a nonprofit organization devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks. TEDx events, which are independently run, share ideas in communities around the world.