Building a future in science

Molokai students are working on some groundbreaking science projects, from an app that helps repel deer and other unwanted animal intruders from your yard, to inventing a device that could play a huge role in the future of ocean science. Students at Molokai Middle and High schools and Aka`ula showcased their science projects last week at the Science Fair Family Night, as winners from school-wide competitions are preparing to move on to the Maui Regional Science and Engineering Fair next month. Hosted by Molokai LIVE and UPLINK programs, the event celebrated students’ application of science to real-world projects.

MHS senior Evelyn Haase has been developing her science fair project for three years, and it has already won at the international level. She said attending the International Science and Engineering Fair, which she did for the first time in eighth grade, is a memorable experience in itself.

Her project looks at ways to monitor ocean acidification.

“…More acidic ocean is caused by carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mixing with ocean water… and a more acidic ocean environment erodes calcium carbon structures… things like coral exoskeletons and mollusk shells,” she said, referring to the threat this poses to Molokai’s extensive fringing reef.

As part of her project, Haase designed an instrument to measure ocean acidification.

“Evelyn created and invented this device,” said Molokai High Principal Stan Hao. “This device is cheaper than any other model that is out there on the market… the closest thing on the market right now is about $7,000 to $13000. She created this with a little over $300 [using a 3D printer at Molokai High].”

Hao said she has the opportunity to make a profit if she chooses to manufacture and market her invention.

“Dream,” he told students. “Whatever your ideas are, we’re trying to facilitate that.”

Haase offered her own words of advice to attendees.

“I encourage all students and all adults and parents to find something in the community that you’re passionate about and go out and think about how you can make a difference and fix it,” she said. “Because even though you might not get recognition for it, there’s something really special about taking initiative to be part of your community and showcase the really special things about your community.”

Catherine Cluett Pactol, The Molokai Dispatch, 24 January 2018. Article.

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