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ASCC Marine Science students learn while giving back to their community

ASCC Marine Science student interns Claudia Thompson and Naomi Matagi teach local youth about fish anatomy and ecology through fish prints at the recent STEM Summit at Samoana High School.  [Courtesy Photo]

The Marine Science Program at the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) is proud to have a dedicated cohort of student interns who are spending a large part of their summer sharing their knowledge with the community. As part of the Marine Science Program, students can apply to various internship opportunities, one of which is to receive training to effectively share what they’ve learned with a wide variety of audiences. With the arrival of summer break, many summer programs and camps ask for guest speakers who can share environmental knowledge, and the Marine Science students are excited to serve this purpose. 

The ASCC Marine Science student interns have already participated in over a dozen outreach events, which gave them the opportunity to refine their presentation and leadership skills. The current student interns include Johann Vollrath, Claudia Thompson, Andry Senefili, Naomi Matagi, and Saelia Holmgren. 

The student interns are tasked with coming up with a fun, engaging, and informative talk and a hands-on activity that addresses the topics requested by the event organizer. They then present their programs in a practice run to the ASCC Lab Coordinator Ruby Tupuai, the ASCC Marine Science Coordinator, Ms. Meagan Curtis, and ACNR Sea Grant Extension Agent Mrs. Kelley Anderson Tagarino, who provide feedback.

Once the interns are confident in their presentations, they are ready to speak at community events, which thus far have included guest lectures for several high schools, First Friday at the Fatagogo Market, an activity booth at the STEM Summit, and activities at the Sanctuary Summer Science in the Village (SSSV) Program organized by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa.     

Feedback from participants at the outreach events has been overwhelmingly positive, with many high school students expressing interest in joining the Marine Science Program when they attend ASCC. 

The student interns have also improved their presentation and leadership skills, with Andry Senefili stating, “I was nervous at first but when I saw how interested the kids are in learning about our oceans it made me really glad to be able to share with them!”  By giving back to their communities, the student interns not only gain important life skills, but also empower the youth in their communities to become better stewards of their environment.

Those interested in learning more about the ASCC Marine Science Program or who want to request a presentation can contact Kelley Anderson Tagarino at 699-3353 (office) or 258-2967 (cell) or at: on email, or via post mail at P.O. Box 2609 for more information.