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Stanford University students carry out research in Tonga

Radio & TV Tonga, Nuku’alofa, 04/06/2019

A group of more than 20 students and teachers from the University of Stanford in America is currently in Nuku’alofa as part of the University’s research program known as the Stanford@Sea.

Speaking to Radio and Television Tonga News, a student – Alema Fitisemanu – spoke on the purpose of their visit.

“We here in Tonga, we have a variety of different projects, but get another perspective on Tonga’s islands and reefs vs. Cook Is. or even Tahiti, we started in Tahiti and we are on our way to American Samoa, but throughout this track we have been taking data like ocean and water samples and actually, while we do science we actually want to meet with Ministries, be with people as well to maybe give them the data that they never had before to help out … We will be continuing our projects in Vava’u, place like the coral reefs we’ve heard that they are well taken care of, so we wanna see that as a model for how we can help other coral reefs that aren’t doing so well, 4 days.”

While in Nuku’alofa they visited schools to encourage science education.

This morning they visited Liahona High School, where they spoke on the purpose of their visit and students were given the opportunity to ask questions about their research.

Questions raised included how students would enroll to Stanford University, if the group discovered any mermaids at sea and one student asked for quotes for motivations because they’ve witnessed a decline in the number of students studying science this year.

Fitisemanu spoke more on the significance of Science with quotes of encouragement.

“Anyone can change anything, and so, I believe that a lot, when I was growing up in the island, I never would have thought that I would go to the world’s top university. But think of things that means a lot to you, and why science would matter to you and your community. So why do the oceans matter to you, what fish we eat that we don’t see anymore, what are some issues that we can start looking into. So never underestimate yourself, because all of you are bright talented students.”

The group will depart Tongatapu for Vava’u tomorrow.

© Radio and Television Tonga News