Ads by Google Ads by Google

ASCC students attend 2022 American Indian Science and Engineering Society National Conference

MJ Matulino and Natalee Aitaoto

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Two students from the American Samoa Community College (ASCC) attended the 2022 American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference in Palm Springs, California held from October 6-8, 2022.

The Annual AISES National Conference is a unique, three-day event focusing on educational, professional, and workforce development for Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) studies and careers.

The National Conference works towards achieving the AISES mission by providing students and professionals access to career pathways, professional and leadership development, research, and networking that also meaningfully incorporates Indigenous culture into this signature event.

Chaperoned by ACNR Instructor and Community Nutritionist Travis Fleming, ASCC students MJ Matulino and Natalee Aitaoto participated in the professional poster presentation exhibition at the conference. They also attended the largest college and career fair in the U.S. for Indigenous students and professionals while networking with other Indigenous students.

Matulino, a Natural Resources major, presented his research project, “Effects of Continuous Human Presence on the Biodiversity and Functional Feeding Groups of Stream Macroinvertebrates”, which investigated the effects of human existence and activities on benthic stream macroinvertebrates.

His research project was completed during an eight-week summer internship for the Organization for Tropical Studies Research Experiences for Undergraduates Program in Costa Rica. Matulino received an Honorable Mention for his research in the Undergraduate Poster Presentation category. He was mentored by Dr. Patricia Esquete at the Las Cruces Biological Station.

“My favorite part of the Conference was the presentation day because I got to present the research I had worked hard on with my mentor and other field researchers,” said Matulino. “In addition, I networked with researchers looking for student researchers to help them with future studies”.

General Agriculture major, Aitaoto, presented her research project, “A Case Study on Swine Inbreeding in American Samoa”. Under the mentorship of Seiuli Dr. Michael Otto Hansell, Aitaoto’s project focused on the impact swine inbreeding has on local Samoan farmers and piggeries. She conducted her research during her summer internship at the ASCC-Agriculture, Community and Natural Resources Division’s Piggery Unit.

“The experience was amazing,” said Aitaoto. “It is important to participate in events like this because you gain experience and help increase the representation of Pacific Islanders in STEM activities by representing American Samoa.”

Along with internship opportunities, ASCC currently offers Associate of Science degrees through its ACNR Division in the areas of Agribusiness, Family and Consumer Science, General Agriculture, and Natural Resources.

The degrees are designed to provide a solid educational foundation and prepare the students for on-island positions in these fields as well as for transfer to off-island schools.

For more information on these degree programs, please call ASCC-ACNR 699-1575 or visit the ASCC website at