From taking an idea and creating a design, to allowing others to re-create that idea with wood and metal that people can sit in and enjoy, the 13 students at the Guam Community College Sustainable Technologies and Environmental Education Program learned valuable skills that can translate into future careers.

For Izzy Paco, an incoming freshman at Tiyan High School, the experience sparked an interest in science.

"This camp is so woman-empowering. Every teacher has been like, 'You can be something great.' I just want to be something great. I want to make a difference,” Paco said.

She and 12 other high school students completed a monthlong summer program. This was the fifth year that GCC has held the STEEP summer program.

Their accomplishments were displayed Friday at the GCC campus in Mangilao.

Program manager Kiko Palacios said the program is focused on science, technology, engineering and math. For the last few weeks, program instructors taught the students about the environment and how to become better stewards of Earth and its resources. The students also learned about the things they could do to balance people's impact on the environment using technology, "such as with solar and wind energy, even with drones and robotics."

"We teach them about the mechanics, the electronics, but we also ask them how you can use this to help protect the environment," Palacios said.

Idea to reality

George Washington High School student Farren Chamberlain, who participated in the program for the fourth year in a row, used a software program called AutoCAD to design a shaded sitting area called a pergola.

“It’s a really cool thing to know because my dream job is to be an architect, so AutoCAD is something that is going to help me reach my architect dreams,” he said.

Ethan Rosalin, an incoming sophomore at Simon Sanchez High School, was part of a team that built the pergola with help from instruction by Dave Santos, who teaches carpentry and construction at GCC.

“We want to open up their eyes to different kinds of trades and different types of work," Santos said. "It was so much fun. I loved working with the kids."

Teaming up with technology

Rosalin demonstrated how the team installed solar panels on the roof of the pergola to convert photons into electrical energy.

“You can charge your cellular devices. Maybe do your work outside, have your computer on your lap and charge it,” Rosalin said. “I really think we did a great job here. Everyone worked together as a group.”

Paco and fellow Tiyan High student Robert Flis worked on a project to install solar panels on model cars.

“Basically, what happens is the light from the sun touches this solar panel, which allows these solar panels to power up, which will power the motor,” Flis said. 

Timothy Hutapea, an incoming freshman at St. John's School, assembled a robot car and downloaded an app on his phone to control it. He said the car can be programmed to avoid obstacles. “So when it runs into something, it knows to avoid it,” he said.

“The programming part of this project taught me basic scripts and critical thinking,” Hutapea said.

Elijah Ooka, an incoming senior at Southern High School, created a scaled-down version of a wind turbine.

“It works by turning wind energy into mechanical energy. I learned that different types of renewable and sustainable resources can be an alternate to fossil fuel. It’s kind of getting a little harder to find fossil fuels like oils and gasoline, and we would eventually have to find alternatives that are safer, like solar or wind power,” Ooka said.

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