Big Awards at State Science Fair

Community Contributed

By Amber (Momi) Afelin and Moriah Jenkins

Two Molokai students participated in this year’s State Science Fair, where both girls won more than $1,000 in prize money and awards for their innovative projects.

Electronic Communication
My project involved using NXT LEGO Mindstorms robots to question if my robot was capable of distinguishing a black ink line from various colors, called Walk the Line. I built my own robot, attached a sensor to it and programmed it to follow a black line.  The questions that the judges asked us were much more complicated and intense at the state level of competition. There were many outstanding projects there and a lot of people competing for the various awards that were to be given out the next night.

After the judges had complied all of their scores it was time for the awards ceremony. I won first place for the Armed Forces Communication/Electronic Association, and was awarded a $200 cash certificate, a one year membership and a one year subscription. I feel honored because I was amazed that I had even made it to the state competition, especially since I was the first one from Molokai Middle School to ever make it to that level of the Science Fair – I was thrilled and proud. I was very honored to be able to represent Molokai at the state competition. I think that one of the significant reasons that I was able to make it as far as I did was because our Molokai Robotics Program which is supported by MEDB, Women in Technology and mainly by the 21st century grant.  I would like to thank my teachers, coaches, the sponsors, volunteers and judges involved with the entire Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair.
–    Momi Afelin

Doggy-Inspired Project
Guest speaker Gov. Neil Abercrombie encouraged the students to continue their pursuit of science, technology, and engineering at this year’s Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair.  He stressed that more and more future careers will depend on these fields. 
My project titled “Save the 3-Legged Dogs” combined my interest in robotics with CAD (computer assisted design), in which I created a myoelectric robotic limb for dogs that have lost a limb due to cancer or trauma. The project caught the attention of this year’s sponsor, Verizon Wireless, as one of five noteworthy projects. This year’s judging went in the way of “American Idol” as the winner was determined by the largest number of text votes during a 24-hour period. With 53 percent of the texting votes, more than the other projects combined, I won the the first place Verizon Scholarship award. After the awards ceremony, I asked a judge why my project was chosen as a finalist. The judge replied that the robotic limb idea connected with her personally as she had a three-legged chihuahua at home. I was also the recipient of a Veterinary Science award from the Hawaii Humane Society.

Both girls won prize money and awards totaling more than $1,200. Both of their projects were inspired by knowledge and opportunities provided by grants from the Maui Economic and Development Board – Women in Technology and the 21st Century after school programs such as CAD, FLL, VEX, and Moonbots.  Momi and Moriah would also like to thank their teachers, Ms. Malia Lee, Mr. Lee DeRouin, Mr. Rodney Nelson, Ms. Jennifer Ainoa, and Ms. Teri Hamasaki for their support. 
–    Moriah Jenkins


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