Yun Ha Seo, an 11th grader from Tinian High School, emerged as the biggest winner in this year's CNMI-PSS Islandwide STEM Fair after being adjudged the overall champion and official representative of the Commonwealth to the upcoming Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
The national contest, to be held in Arizona in May, is the world's largest international pre-college science competition where more than 1,500 high school students across countries, regions, and territories will showcase independent researches.
Seo entered a Mathematics project about spidrons, geometric forms made from alternating sequences of equilateral and isosceles triangles. Her project bested entries from both private and public high schools in the Mathematics category during Saturday's competition at the Marianas High School Gymnasium.
Seo said it took her more than a month to finalize her entry with her teacher-coach Mikkel Castro. She vowed to do her best to represent the CNMI at the national competition.
“I can't believe it! I never imagined myself in the national!” she told Saipan Tribune.
This year is Seo's fourth year to join the fair but her first time to actually bag a gold medal in the category.
Four other students who also emerged overall winners in their divisions will compete at the Guam science fair next month.
They include Tinian Elementary School's Mefi Norech, who topped the kindergarten to first grade division; Saipan Community School's Kevin Liang, who emerged overall winner in the second to third grade division; William S. Reyes Elementary's Alexandro Amaro, who won in the fourth to fifth grade division; and San Francisco de Borja's Angelica Lucero, who topped the sixth to eighth grade division.
26 schools, 177 entries
According to Jeaniffer Cubangbang, one of the event's coordinators, PSS received a total of 177 entries from 26 schools this year. This is an increase from last year's over 140 entries.
Each year, entries are getting better, Cubangbang said, a testament to an increasing interest and love for science and math.
The STEM Fair featured seven categories: life science, physical science, earth and space science, health and nutrition and medical, behavioral and social science, technology and electronics, and Mathematics.
Saturday's event was also attended by hundreds of parents and community members.