PRESS RELEASE - July 29, 2016

The six young adults selected as summer interns with ASCC-ACNR showcased their research projects last week at the conclusion of this summer's internship program. Seen here are (front l-r) Pesamino Poyer and Anetioka Magaega; and (back l-r) Johann Vollrath, Fa'atoia Areta, Fa'amanu Puaina Jr., and Falani Fonoti. (Photo: J. Kneubuhl)

ASCC-ACNR Summer Interns Showcase Research Projects

July 29, 2016

By James Kneubuhl, ASCC Press Officer

Six local young adults with an interest in science completed their summer internship with the Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources (ACNR) division of the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) when each gave a presentation on their summer projects this past Wednesday, July 27th. The summer internship program gives ACNR (and related science) majors the opportunity to conduct hands-on research in the areas of Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources, apply what they learned in their courses, and gain work experience in the field.

This marks the third year in a row ACNR has offered its summer internship program, which is funded in part by the National Science Foundation’s Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and a Resident Instruction grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), a program of the US Department of Agriculture. With limited funding, ACNR can only accommodate about a half-dozen interns per summer session. During the prior spring semester, a call for applications is made to both ACNR majors as well as related science majors at ASCC. Applicants are then screened to determine who can fill the number of available slots. During the six-week internship period, students are expected to put in a regular 40-hour work week on their chosen projects, under the mentorship of a member of the ACNR staff.

This summer’s interns giving their concluding presentations included Fa’atoia Areta, who chose the project “A Preliminary Survey: Parasites of Myna and Bulbul Birds in American Samoa,” working under Dr. Otto Hansel of ACNR. Falani Fonoti, working with mentor Mr. Ionatana Faasavalu, researched “Soil Texture Effect on Plant Growth using Joi Choi Cabbage.” Johann Vollrath, working by special arrangement with Dr. Tim Clark of the National Park Service, studied “Distribution of Crown of Thorns Outbreaks along the North Shore of Tutuila.”

Pesamino Poyer explored “Utilization of Taro Leaves and Stems as a Human Food Source,” mentored by Dr. Hansell. Fa’amanu Puaina Jr., working under Mr. Faasavalu, made a “Comparison of Water Sources to Grow Joi Choi Cabbage Hydroponically.” Anetioka Mavaega, who was mentored by Dr. Hansell, researched “Identifying Internal Parasite Eggs in Swine Feces.” Four of the six interns are ASCC students majoring in General Agriculture, the exceptions being Fa’amanu Puaina Jr., who is currently pursuing an Agriculture major at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, and Johann Vollrath, who majors in Marine Science at ASCC.

During his opening remarks prior to the presentations, ACNR Director Aufa’i Apulu Ropeti Areta commended the six young adults for their interest in the sciences as well as their perseverance in focusing on their projects for the six-week period. He also reminded the interns to show gratitude to their parents and families for supporting them in their efforts to become science professionals. Aufa’i also recognized Dr. Ian Gurr, Dr. Mark Schmaedick, Dr. Ndeme Atibalentja, and the staff of the Research, Instruction, and Extension divisions of ACNR for their contributions to the summer internship program.

For more information on internships at ASCC-ACNR, contact Mrs. Pauline McFall at 699-1575.