2023 Hawai’i Island Group Awards Hawai`i District Science & Engineering Fair

Every year since 1995, Moku Loa (Hawai`i Island) Group provides monetary awards and
certificates to deserving young scientists who focus on an element of Hawaii’s environment. We
have dedicated these awards to Sierra Club members whose scientific contributions have made
an historic, positive, and sometimes political impact in Hawaii. As we have every year (with the
exception of the pandemic years), our members met to evaluate the inspiring presentations.
We mahalo the organizing committee, and science fair judges Deborah Ward and Lanny Sinkin
for their assistance. Members who would like to support our upcoming young scientists are
urged to donate to Moku Loa Group’s Sierra Club Foundation (tax deductible) account!
Congratulations to the following young scientists!

Ms. Mae Mull Award for Senior Research:

Rachel Tao

Identifying the Molecular Mechanisms of a Safer Neuroblastoma Cure Using the Native Hawaiian ‘Awapuhi

Dr. Wayne Gagne Award for Senior Research

Beatrice Kim-Lee

Effects of carvacol, trans-cinnamaldehyde, and eugenol essential oils on the post harvest preservation of guava

Dr. Ruth Lani Stemmermann Award for Junior Research

Mason Wissman

Looking for Heavy Metal Contaminants in Local Stream Sediments

Dr. Don Worsencroft Award for Research in the field of physical science

Ciana-Lei Bence

Analysis of Galactic Nuclei Mass Across Varying Redshifts

Moku Loa Group Award for Research in the field of earth science

Emily N Wagner

Exploration of Natural Storm Water Drainage Filtration

Moku Loa Group is incredibly proud of these next generation scientists, we hope you consider supporting them too. These are the dedicated Sierra Club members for whom these awards are named:

Mae Mull was a resident of Volcano village who volunteered many hours to activate communities to protect their environment.  She was instrumental in preserving the last remaining home of the native Hawaiian bird called the palila– the forest of koa, mamane and naio which rings the slopes of Mauna Kea.  She was part of a community effort to address the construction of several unpermitted telescopes on Mauna Kea, and to protect the remaining natural and sacred environment on the summit. A dedicated leader in the Sierra Club and the Hawai’i Audobon Society, Mrs. Mull volunteered many hours to preserve Hawai’i’s vulnerable environment.

Dr. Lani Stemmermann was a plant ecologist who specialized in Hawaiian botany.  She loved to
help young people investigate the mysteries of Hawaiian evolution, and was an inspiring teacher
at the Hawai’i Community College. A dedicated conservasionistg, Dr. Stemmerman volunteered many hour to preserve Hawai’i’s vulnerable ecosystems, and was instrumental in protecting the rare and threatened ecosystems on the flanks of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, at Pohakuloa.

Dr. Wayne Gagne was an entomologist who specialized in Hawaiian insects.  He loved to help young people investigate the mysteries of Hawaiian evolution, and was instrumental in developing the Ohi’a Project while on staff with the Bishop Museum. A dedicated leader in the Sierra Club, Dr. Gagne volunteered many hours to preserve Hawai`i’s vulnerable environment.

Dr. Don Worsencroft, was a Hawaii Community College Instructor of Physics and Math. Don enjoyed the natural world, and was dedicated to teaching the mysteries of physical science to his students.  Don’s wife Edith was our newsletter editor for many many years, and she gave our group a bequest to cover an award is Don’s name.

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