Congratulations to the First Winners of the Maunakea Scholars Program Awards Season
Today we kicked off the Maunakea Scholars awards season by announcing our first round of winners from Kealakehe High School in Kailua Kona, Hawai‘i. Executive Director of the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope (CFHT), Doug Simons, joined excited students, teachers and families to award four exceptional student observers observing time for their scientific research at one of the world’s most powerful telescopes.
Simons shared his personal story of how STEM education opened incredible doors for him, leading to his present position with Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope. Hawai‘i Department of Education leadership congratulated the students on their work and remarkable achievements. Leadership from the observatories selection committee spoke with individual project teams about the merits of their proposal, each of which was creative, sophisticated and ambitious.
“In our first year here at Kealakehe, we’ve been so impressed by the caliber of the student’s imaginative research proposals. Similar to other student ideas in our Maunakea Scholars cohorts, the limiting factor for their projects is our technology, not their creativity,” said Mary Beth Laychak, program lead for Maunakea Scholars and outreach program manager at the Canada-France-Hawai‘i Telescope (CFHT). “Even the most advanced instruments in the world of astronomy, right here on Maunakea, can’t keep pace with our local students’ groundbreaking ideas.”
The Kealakehe Maunakea Scholars Award winners include:
- Shane Arellano – “Is There a Relationship Between the Metallicity of a Nebula and its Shape and Size?”
- Nathan Weir and Mason Solomonson – “NIR Spectroscopy of Accretion Disks of Different Black Holes”
- Amanda Schiff – “Composition and Formation of Secluded Starburst Galaxies”
Students worked for months alongside mentors from the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Astronomy, and while every student compiled fantastic proposals, the projects of these four stood out as the most creative, scientifically promising and technically viable. Our winners received certificates noting their achievement, and will soon embark on a visit to Maunakea, where they will have the amazing opportunity to collect data for their projects using a world-class telescope under the guidance of highly skilled and experienced mentors.