Above – (L to R): Kylie Higaki, Chanelle Mattheus and Angelina Ramirez.

PISCES is excited to welcome its latest team of bright minds to the agency for a unique summer experience in applied research and field work. This year the staff will mentor three students: AKAMAI intern Kylie Higaki from Oregon State University (OSU), and volunteers Chanelle Mattheus and Angelina Ramirez—both Hawaii Island students. Under the mentorship of PISCES Geology Tech Kyla Defore, the trio will be investigating techniques to sinter volcanic basalt for ISRU applications on Earth and on other planets likes Mars.

Originally from Pearl City on the Island of Oahu, Kylie currently studies Environmental Engineering at OSU. Her interest was piqued by the Material Science work at PISCES because it involved a unique and environmentally friendly project that could provide non-toxic, sustainable products. She also wanted to learn more about Hawaii’s geology—a topic she briefly touched on during an introductory geology class.  Kylie said she’s excited about her 7-week internship and the experience she will take home. “I’m really looking forward to it,” she said. “I think it’s going to be fun.”

Chanelle is a 2017 STARS Program alumnus who graduated from Kea’au High School. Originally from South Africa, she took an interest in geology during the STARS program tour at the USGS Hawaiian Volcanoes Observatory led by lead scientist Christian Neal. “I could feel her passion for the subject, and it really got me excited.” In Fall 2018, she will attend the University of Hawaii at Hilo to study Geology. Chanelle said she wants to gain research experience this summer and hopes to learn everything she can about the planet she lives on.

Angelina is a former Hawaii Preparatory Academy student who will attend the 2018 Women’s STARS Program this summer. From a young age, she dreamt of becoming a scientist. “Ever since fifth grade, I wanted to be an astrobiologist,” she said. “I heard about the STARS program and knew it was something I wanted to do.”

Angelina’s interest in the Materials Science work at PISCES overlaps with a previous science project she envisioned in school: 3D printing genetically modified mycelium that could live in the harsh environment of Mars; essentially, the first Martian mushrooms. Angelina said she looks forward to doing field work with the rest of the team during her volunteer position and learning about planetary geology.

Welcome to the PISCES ‘ohana Kylie, Chanelle and Angelina! We are excited to have you working with us this summer.