STEM Fair names parade of winners

STEM Fair 9th to 12th grade cluster first place winner, Kagman High School senior Kloe Borja, receives her medal from Education Commissioner Cynthia Deleon Guerrero last Saturday during the STEM Fair awarding ceremony at Saipan Southern High School. (Erwin Encinares)

STEM Fair 9th to 12th grade cluster first place winner, Kagman High School senior Kloe Borja, receives her medal from Education Commissioner Cynthia Deleon Guerrero last Saturday during the STEM Fair awarding ceremony at Saipan Southern High School. (Erwin Encinares)

Both public and private schools displayed their most impressive experiments in the 2017 CNMI Islandwide Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Fair last Saturday.

Leading the 9th to 12th grade cluster is Kagman High School senior Kloe Borja, whose project focused on birds native to the Marianas and the best type suited for re-introduction to Guam. The brown tree snake, which was accidentally introduced to Guam more than 70 years ago, is blamed for the extinction of 10 of the 12 native bird species in the region.

Borja’s study focused on the time for seeds to pass through a bird’s digestive system, which further correlates to the spreading of plant and fruit species across the island through bird defecation or regurgitation.

Borja tested three birds—the Micronesian starling, the Mariana fruit dove and the ground dove, all of which are native to both Guam and Saipan.

Borja’s study concluded that the Mariana fruit dove is the most likely candidate for re-introduction to Guam.

“All the bird species used in my study were captured here on island,” said Borja.

Borja was mentored by an on-island organization called “The Ecology of Bird Loss Project,” which focuses on studying the effects of the loss of bird variety in Guam and how it affects forests in terms of the scattering of seeds.

Winning first place in the Islandwide STEM Fair hasn’t really sank in just yet for Borja.

“I still can’t believe I’ve won first place,” she said. “The last science fair I participated in was during elementary. It’s my first time [to] win.”

In the Kindergarten to 2nd grade cluster, Eainne Miel Ladao of Rota’s Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja bagged first place for her study on the well-known 5-second rule (Food is OK to eat if you pick it up in 5 seconds or less), while Kagman Elementary School’s Kei’ani Hofschneider and Northern Marianas International School’s Althea Loryn won second and hird place, respectively.

In the 3rd to 5th grade cluster, Koblerville Elementary School’s Leandro Mendiola’s study on Airsoft got him first place, while Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja’s Edward Maratita and Koblerville Elementary School’s Sky Palacios got second and third place, respectively.

The 6th to 8th grade cluster displayed smarts as well, with Michael Cantil of Eskuelan San Francisco de Borja receiving first place for his homemade wireless mobile charger experiment, while Francisco M. Sablan Middle School’s Jerine Blazo and Rota Grace Christian Academy’s Jed Santa Theresa got second and third place, respectively.

Second and third place for the 9th to 12th grade cluster went Tina Choi and Jessica Choi, respectively. Both winners are from Marianas Baptist Academy.

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Erwin Encinares | Reporter

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