June 11, 2012

By College of Micronesia-FSM
The Kaselehlie Press

KOLONIA, Pohnpei (May 25, 2012) - May 19 was another memorable day for the GEAR UP program students. This day was the culmination of the "Middle School Science Fair Program and Expo" project funded by the Australian Embassy in Pohnpei and implemented, together with six public schools, by the College of Micronesia and GEAR UP program. On Saturday, May 19th, the concluding Science Fair and Expo gathered 76 winners from Awak, Kolonia, Nett, Ohmine, Saladak, and Sekere school science fairs.

At the Expo, 18 groups of students displayed their science research projects, ranging from "What is the fastest way to cool a soda" to "Predicting the weather". The eighth graders were ready to explain to the audience and the judges how they conducted their research and tested their hypothesis using science experiment materials over the last four months. Because students were very prepared, the judges had a tough task determining the winners. After two hours of judging, the judges were able to select the winning groups.

The females took the highest awards. Awak school female groups won first place on the category of the "Most knowledgeable" with the topic "Converting salt water to salt". The topic for the group was "How salty does the sea have to be for an egg to float?"

Ohmine school female group came in second on the category of "Most diligent" with the topic "Measuring surface tension of water with a penny". Their topic was also about "How salty does water have to be for an egg to float?"

The category of "Practical and Applicable" was awarded to Kolonia school female team with the topic "What is the most absorbent type of soil product?" Kolonia school students also won the category of the "Most useful" with the topic on "What is the fastest way to cool a soda?"

Sekere school female group won the "Food security" category with the topic "How do seeds germinate?" An eight grade male student, also from Sekere, won the "Solo player" category with the topic "What is the rate of heat loss?"

Nett school students won the category of the "Most challenging" with the topic "Can water float on water?" and the category of the "Most creative" with the topic "Offspring".

Saladak school students won third place with the topic "Predicting the weather" and the "Most enthusiastic scientists" category with the topic "How does soil affect the PH of water?"

For the winning categories, the Expo offered a variety of prizes donated by the Australian Embassy, FSM PetroCorp-Vital, Ace Office Supplies, Ace Hardware, Palm Terrace, MicroPC, Blue Nile, Ray & Dors, Etscheit Enterprises, and Nihco Store.

Overall, the project proved to be very successful as it clearly strengthened student science knowledge and skills as well as received big support and involvement from the schools, Pohnpei State Department of Education, and a big number of volunteers and supporters.

In his remarks, Australian Ambassador Martin Quinn noted Australia's strong commitment to supporting science education and helping students achieve their educational goals. He stated that this experience would not only improve the students' science knowledge but also improve their science skills. "Australia is happy to be a part of this event and we are proud partners with the College of Micronesia and the GEAR UP Program to make today a memorable day for everyone present," the Ambassador said.

Another major contributor to the 2012 Science Fair and Expo, FSM PetroCorp and its subsidiary Vital Energy, also expressed interest in continuing to support science education initiatives in Pohnpei and throughout the FSM in the coming years.

Mr. Alex Nanpei, Project Engineer from the company's Engineering division, gave some remarks on the importance of fields within the sciences, including engineering, planning, architecture, chemistry and technology, all of which are vital skills within the energy sector. Nanpei stated that youth in science is therefore one of the key areas of community support that FSMPC focuses on annually.

The U.S. Department of Education funded the GEAR UP program with the aim to prepare students to enter and succeed in post-secondary education. The program will continue its efforts to support students in science and other areas. The GEAR UP program is located at the College of Micronesia-FSM Pohnpei Campus at 320- 3795.

Congratulations to all the winners: First place winners - Kiona Obispo, Naoko Edwin, Melissa John, and Marla Samuel of Awak school; Second place winner - Maria Johnathan of Ohmine School; Third place winners - Tyron Alex, Vanessa Donre, Natasha Hedgar, and KM Sakai of Saladak school; "Most challenging topic" category winners - Tialana Mallarme, Denzel Ligohr, Timeaca Sohl, Griza Perez, and Brandod Joab of Nett school; "Most enthusiastic scientists" category winners - Mitchell Marino, Alicia Adalfred, Kelly John, Antryann Lorens, and John Inoke of Saladak school; "Most knowledgeable group" category winners - Leniva Jonathan, Claudia Donre, Britney Aron, and Allysha Samuel of Awak school; "Solo player" category winner - Jeff Soar of Sekere school; "Most useful" category winner - Marlagna Mihkel, Johannes Mihkel, and Driney Phillipus of Kolonia school; "Food security" category winners - Jamie Ann Noket, Dory Ann Harry, Daisy Elpet, and Wilma Raymond of Sekere school; "Practical and Applicable" category winners - Natasha Martin, Dorina Pretrick, Lucille Remoket, and Vanessa Rufes of Kolonia School; "Most creative "category winners - Chris Iriarte, Marcel Laylau, Marcelly Laylay, and Rico Setik of Nett school; and the "Most diligent" category winners - Trini Daniels, Sharla William, J.J. Hadley, and Brandy Elias of Ohmine school.