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2017 Ambassador: Asya Shneerson

2017 Ambassador: Asya Shneerson

Asya Shneerson
Juanita High School
Redmond, WA

FUTURE CAREER GOALS

I’m still exploring my options, but I’m very interested in biology and the research process.

DESCRIPTION OF YOUR SCHOOL/ORGANIZATION

Juanita High School is a public school with about 1400 students in Kirkland, Washington. Juanita offers varied programs, including a STEM program, Cambridge program, the Futures school, and many Advanced Placement (AP) classes. Currently, the school is undergoing construction.

WHAT ORIGINALLY MADE YOU INTERESTED IN THIS PROJECT?

The connection to food insecurity really caught my attention. When I first heard this project asking how we will feed 10 billion people by 2050, it really forced me to stop and think about the magnitude of this problem. I also thought the educational aspect was interesting because it allows students to both apply scientific concepts to the real world and, on a more general level, learn about food insecurity. Personally, I also wanted to learn more about environmentalism and sustainable agriculture.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO BRING THIS PROJECT TO YOUR SCHOOL/COMMUNITY CENTER/ORGANIZATION? WHAT ARE YOUR OBJECTIVES?

This project is a great way to spread awareness about aquaponics. Students working on this project can apply concepts they learn in science class to the real world. On a greater level, I also see aquaponics as a way to get students thinking more deeply about hunger and food insecurity – its meaning, different causes and variables, the effects of a growing population, potential solutions, and their role in the whole picture.
The first objective would be to implement a small-scale aquaponics system in our school, mainly through clubs. Maybe from there, we would be able to scale it up or even get science teachers to introduce the system in their classroom.

WHAT CURRENT CLUBS ARE AVAILABLE? WHAT TEACHERS/COURSES COULD INTEGRATE THIS PROJECT?

Possible clubs: Community service clubs (like National Honor Society, Interact, and Key Club), Earth Corps, UNICEF.
Possible courses: AP Environmental Science, Biology (AP, Cambridge), other science classes. We have many different science teachers/classes, but I would have to see which teachers have the interest and time to do this project. I think it may be easier with the AP and Cambridge classes because they usually have more time after May exams.

WHAT IS YOUR PLAN?

I want to find an existing club who would want to do an aquaponics project. We would first need to find a teacher willing to lend classroom space. Ideally, we would start by figuring out how to make a small-scale system. I want to recruit enough people to help so that everyone would have a specific responsibility in creating and maintaining it. Once my group figures out how to get a small system going, we could work on scaling it up and using to spark conversation about food insecurity.
Hopefully, we would be able to mostly work on it during AC time (a thirty-minute study period), but we could also put aside time before or after school.

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU THINK YOU WILL FACE IN GETTING THIS SET UP?

This year, my school is beginning construction. Many of the teachers will be working in portables, and working around that may be difficult. I can see construction making it especially difficult to find a teacher willing to lend classroom space.
-It may be difficult to get the necessary funding and materials. I don’t have much prior experience working with aquaponics, so it will take some trial and error to get a system going.
-It may also be difficult to find time for this project (with classes, college applications, etc.) and also find enough other students willing to dedicate their time to an aquaponics project.