5/4/2017 Source: Office of Communication Services, CTAHR
More than a dozen CTAHR faculty, staff, and grad students volunteered as judges in the 60th Hawaii State Science and Engineering Fair recently held at the Convention Center. The volunteers were wowed by the accomplishments of Hawai‘i’s best and brightest middle- and high-school students. Special thanks are due to those who mentored the next generation of local scientists and engineers! With funding from USDA-NIFA, and on behalf of all campuses in the UH system, CTAHR presented a $500 award to Sunny Sakai, a twelfth-grader at Hilo High School (pictured here with CTAHR Alumni Association president and TPSS grad student Kauahi Perez), for her excellent research project, “The Effect of Mycorrhizae on Hydroponic Lactuca sativa ‘Manoa’.” Sunny’s research showed increased yield in lettuce grown hydroponically when it is treated with mycorrhizae, fungi that are usually associated with root–soil interactions. They weren’t thought to be important in soilless agriculture, but her research clearly showed that even here mycorrhizae play a critical role in the nutrient absorption by roots. Sunny did her research under the mentorship of Hilo High School teacher Nyra Dee and UH Hilo’s Dr. William Sakai, long-time CTAHR colleague and former TPSS graduate faculty—and, coincidentally, Sunny’s grandfather!