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

PISCES is excited to welcome a new team of bright minds for a summer of applied research and field work. This year’s cohorts includes three students: AKAMAI intern Kylie Higaki from Oregon State University (OSU), and two volunteers Chanelle Mattheus and Angelina Ramirez—both Hawaiʻi island students. Under mentorship from Geology Tech Kyla Edison, the trio will investigate techniques to sinter volcanic basalt for ISRU applications on Earth and on other planets likes Mars.

Originally from Pearl City on the island of Oʻahu, Kylie studies Environmental Engineering at OSU. Her interest in the Material Science work at PISCES was piqued because it involved a unique and environmentally friendly project that could provide non-toxic, sustainable products. She also wanted to learn more about Hawaiʻi’s geology—a topic she briefly touched on during an introductory geology class.  Kylie said she’s excited about her seven-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 head scientist, Christian Neal. “I could feel her passion for the subject, and it really got me excited,” Chanelle said. In Fall 2018, she will attend the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo to study Geology. Chanelle hopes to gain research experience this summer and learn as much as she can about the planet she lives on.

Angelina is a former Hawaiʻi Preparatory Academy student attending 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 at school: 3D printing genetically modified mycelium that can 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 and learning about planetary geology.

Welcome Kylie, Chanelle and Angelina! We are excited to have you working with us this summer!