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The Jason Project

The Jason Project’s current expedition, JASON XV: Rainforests at the Crossroads, will engage student and teacher “argonauts” in an exciting journey of discovery as they explore the Isthmus of Panama region and its fascinating tropical rainforests.

24 students and 8 teachers from Panama, Bermuda, Mexico, and the US were selected to join Jason Project scientists and explorers in the rainforest of Barro Colorado, Panama.

Jason XV will look at the unique physical geography of the area as well as Panama's geologic history and how the isthmus has shaped the area's unique biology and ecology. They will also explore the region's incredible human history and culture, including the native peoples of Panama and the development of the Panama Canal as one of the world's crossroads for trade, gold, religion, people, plants and animals.

Teachers from around the world can join the expedition within their own classrooms through televised footage of the Argonauts' adventure.


EXPLORER HERO:
JASON XV: THE ARGONAUTS

Daniela Aguilera-Titus
Kensington, Maryland, USA

Daniela is a ninth grade student from Kensington, MD. She believes that the JASON expedition will provide her with a rich, more in depth experience of zoology, her favorite subject in school. She is looking forward to studying the various types of rainforest life, while exploring a different part of the world. Daniela has earned her black belt in karate and spends her free time participating in swimming, soccer, track, basketball and Irish dancing.

Anna-Stacia Allen
Toledo, Ohio, USA

Eighth grader Anna-Stacia from Toledo, Ohio is fascinated with chemistry, because she believes “the learning possibilities are endless.” She has developed leadership skills by serving as a peer mediator, helping resolve student disputes. For the past two years, she has been involved with JASON studying the JASON XIII and XIV curricula and participating in their activities. In her spare time, Anna-Stacia enjoys singing and listening to music. In addition, she is a member of the youth choir and The Ohio State University Young Scholars Program.

Mary Catherine Bernal
Moffett Field, California, USA

Mary Catherine is a ninth grader from San Jose, CA. She has been interested in Astronomy since she was very young, and particularly loves studying stars and constellations. In her free time she enjoys taking advantage of opportunities to observe animals in their environment. She also enjoys learning about photography. For the past five years, Mary Catherine has volunteered as a teaching aid for kindergartners. She was elected historian of her school council and participates in extracurricular activities such as soccer and basketball.

Melissa Giselle Cordova
Palm Springs, California, USA

Melissa, an eighth grader from Indio, CA, has been fascinated with marine biology since her first trip to Sea World at the age of six. From that point on, her excitement about science has continued to grow, and she now aspires to become a marine biologist. Melissa has participated in the JASON XIV: From Shore to Sea curriculum and looks forward to a more hands-on scientific experience during her expedition to Panama. In her free time, Melissa enjoys being a member of the Spirit Club.

Soren Estvold
Missoula, Montana, USA

Soren is a ninth grade student from Missoula, MT. He is captivated by all areas of science, but particularly enjoys zoology and learning about different ecosystems. His goal is to “work his hardest to try to make a global difference.” Soren was elected vice president of his student government and was appointed Target Range School World Geography Champion. He is active in his school science fairs and is a member of the Aviation Club.

Linzey Garza
Halecenter, Texas, USA

Linzey Garza, a ninth grader in Olton, TX, is intrigued by all areas of science and comes to JASON with a desire to learn more. By serving as class president, Linzey has developed strong leadership and public speaking skills. She enjoys computer technology and is active in athletics as a cheerleader and basketball player. She is also a member of the band.

Jonathan Gibson
Dallas, Texas, USA

Jonathan attends ninth grade in Plano, Texas, and has been fascinated by the universe and space exploration since he was a young boy. Jonathan is looking forward to serving as an expedition team member and sharing his positive attitude and passion for learning. For the past eight years, Jonathan has practiced leadership skills, responsibility and independence as an active member of The Boy Scouts of America. He loves music and can play several instruments, including piano and percussion. In addition, he is active in his church and is a member of The National Honor Society and International Baccalaureate Program.

Andrew Johnson
Brownsville, Texas, USA

Andrew is an eighth grader from Brownsville, TX. He has had a strong interest in all areas of science and technology ever since his participation in his fifth grade science fair. Andrew has been a Boy Scout for the past five years and has applied the leadership skills he has developed, as a patrol leader. Andrew spends much of his spare time in the water. He has been a member of a swim team for nine years and is training to earn his SCUBA certification.

Stephen Leger
Houston, Texas, USA

Stephen is a ninth grader from Tomball, TX. He is fascinated by the mysteries of geology and is interested in learning more about fossils and rocks. His favorite subjects in school include geography and geology. As an active member of the Boy Scouts of America, Stephen has developed leadership skills, has learned CPR and First Aid, rock climbing and other outdoor survival skills. He is also involved with his church.

Benjamin Losinski
Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA

Benjamin is an eighth grader from Idaho Falls, ID. He is fascinated by computer science because it allows him to best utilize his creative talents and technical skills. A former member of his student council, Ben enjoys problem solving, theater, and outdoor activities such as cross-country skiing and backpacking. He also has experience creating webpages, Powerpoint prsentations, games and video software.

David McGinely
Garden City, New York, USA

David, a ninth grader from Bay Shore, NY, and has been interested in geology since he started collecting rocks at age five. David is a member of the National Junior Honor Society, High School Concert Band, and plays on the Junior Varsity soccer team at school. He also plays basketball, lacrosse, and volleyball. David fills his free time volunteering for his church through Youth Group, is a "Light the Night" Flyer Distributor and teaches young children to enjoy reading through Book Buddies. He is also a member of a select ensemble called The Symphonic Band of Bay Shore/ Brightwaters.

Nataly Mercado
Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, MEXICO

Nataly is 15 years old and attends Preps Tec in Eugenio Garza Laquera in MEXICO. She has taken part in the JASON XIV curriculum and now has an increased concern for nature, endangered species, and the harsh effects of pollution. Nataly was the winner of her school’s Environmental Award and the Tec Scholarship. She has served as president of student council, where she organized campaigns for Acciones en Cadena, an organization that deals with adolescent issues. She also participated in Model U.N., where she won awards for best speaker, best delegate and outstanding delegate. She is actively involved in basketball, tae kwon do, and the Leadership Club.

Audacia Moore
Wichita, Kansas, USA

Eighth grader Audacia Moore is from Wichita, Kansas. She has recently developed a love for science and it is now her favorite subject at school. She is excited to travel to Panama as an Argonaut in order to further expand her knowledge of science. Audacia is a member of the Student Leadership Council at her school and is also actively involved in track and field and the Special Olympics. She enjoys playing music and singing.

Kari Otteman
Denver, Colorado, USA

Kari attends ninth grade in La Junta, Colorado. She enjoys studying biology, and she especially likes learning about hydrothermal vents. Kari is very enthusiastic about gaining more scientific knowledge as an Argonaut. At school, Kari participates in Forensics and enjoys theater and playing her trumpet in marching and jazz band. Her athletic activities include softball and tennis.

Patel Sheetal
Clarksdale, Mississippi, USA

Patel is a ninth grader from Clarksdale, Mississippi. After being introduced to Botany in her third grade class by growing a tomato plant, Patel’s excitement about science has grown and she continues to enjoy studying plant life. Patel has developed leadership skills by serving as student council and Technology Students Association president. She was also a member of the OJH Helping Hands Club and Allies in junior high school.

Abigail Patterson
Sarasota, Florida, USA

Abigail is a 14-years-old from Osprey, Florida who has been fascinated by biology since her family began taking her on trips to zoos and museums. As an Argonaut for JASON, Abigail is excited to “be immersed in the extreme biodiversity of the species in the rainforest” of Panama. Abigail has developed leadership skills by serving as president of her school’s Environmental Club. She has been a ballet student for the past 11 years and has earned a brown belt in Kung Fu. Abigail is also actively involved in her church youth group.

Gerald Porter
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Gerald is a ninth grader from Milwaukee, Wisconsin who has been fascinated with physical science, particularly the human body since the sixth grade. Since then he has developed an interest in becoming an anesthesiologist. As an active member of his church, Gerald is involved in Peer Counseling and is a drummer in his youth choir. He is also a student council representative, and runs track and plays football.

Elizabeth Quintana
Washington, D.C., USA

A ninth grader from Arlington, Virginia, Elizabeth has always been fascinated by Forensic Science and aspires to pursue a career in this field. Elizabeth is also bilingual in Spanish and English and excited to use this skill in Panama. An American Red Cross volunteer, Elizabeth is a liaison for the Community Disaster Education Department of the Red Cross. She enjoys volunteering as a math tutor and a peer mediator, helping fellow students resolve disputes. In addition to volunteering, she was also editor-in-chief of her school newspaper and involved with the financial department for her school yearbook. Elizabeth has received several awards for her hard work, including the American Citizenship award, the General Excellence Award in academics and the Perfect Attendance Award from St. Agnes School.

Lee Richter
Mystic, Connecticut, USA

Lee is a tenth grader in Old Lyme, Connecticut. He has been drawn to nature for as long as he can remember. In elementary school he was already interested in an Atlantic Salmon restoration program. Since then he has been involved in many other scientific programs at his nature camp and through Project Oceanology. He is excited to add the JASON expedition to his list. For three years, Lee has been a member of the FIRST Lego League Robotics Team and was assistant counselor at a nature camp, which he attended for seven summers. He is a member of a competitive debate team, mock trial team, and Math Counts team. In his spare time he enjoys soccer, basketball and baseball.

Kaila Sanders
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

Kaila comes to the JASON project from Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin where she is a ninth grader intrigued by all areas of science, especially environmental science. She is looking forward to learning more about environmental issues on the expedition. Kaila enjoys music and in her spare time sings and performs at retirement homes and day care centers. She works with children as an assistant at a park and also manages the wrestling team at her high school.

Zhan Tao Yang
Henderson, Nevada, USA

Zhan Tao is a tenth grade student in Las Vegas, NV. She has been captivated by biology since she was seven and studied minnows that she brought home from a fishing trip. Zhan Tao is a member of several clubs, including the Future Business Leaders of America, Varsity Quiz Team, Science Bowl, Book Club, Equestrian Club and KEY Club. She is also a member of the swim team.

Lisa Tran
Beaumont, Texas, USA

Marine biology fascinates Lisa, a ninth grader from Port Neches, Texas. She wants to become a pediatrician because of her love for medicine and children. Lisa has been a member of student council and the National Junior Honor Society and is now involved in KEY club. She helps teach Vietnamese to first graders and also volunteers at her church. She is involved in U.I.L. General Math, Number Sense and Science. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, building, drawing and writing.

Andrea Kam
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Panama City, Panama

Andrea is a ninth grader at The International School of Panama, where her favorite subjects are English, languages and debate. Andrea had the unique opportunity to do her award winning science fair project at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. Assisted by marine biologists, she studied the effects of pollutants on marine organisms. Andrea has a passion for volunteering and is involved in tutoring and making theatrical puppet plays for children. She has presented at theaters, schools, hospitals and on television. In addition to volunteering, Andrea enjoys playing on her school’s soccer team.

Maria Victoria Ferrara
The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Panama City, Panama

Maria Victoria Ferrara is a 10th grade student at the Academia Interamericana de Panama, in Panama City. Genetic Engineering is her favorite field of science, particularly selective breeding. She aspires to one day become a genetic engineer. She recently participated as the captain of her four-member team, in the three day Ocean to Ocean Cayuco Race from the Atlantic to the Pacific. Her extracurricular activities include cheerleading, soccer, and the science club.







Photos courtesy of The Jason Project
Last changed on: 1/27/2004 7:19:33 PM

The Jason Project Announces Jason XV:Rainforests at the Crossroads

Maria Victoria Ferrera, a Panamanian student Argonaut in Jason XV's gives My Hero an interview.

Andrea Kam, from Panama, is one of Jason's XV's student Argonauts and gives My Hero an interview.


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