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Cameron Quon, a student producer for Saugus High School’s in-house Saugus News Network, has been selected as a finalist in a national science-themed video competition.

The 17-year-old’s entry, “Solar Power: Saving With Solar,” is one  of 20 videos selected out of more than 260 submissions in this year’s Kavli Science Video Contest. The contest is a component of the USA Science & Engineering Festival, held in late April in Washington, D.C.

The festival is a collaborative, grassroots effort of 500 leading science and engineering organizations in the United States including Harvard, Princeton, Yale, Stanford and Georgetown universities, as well as NASA, EPA, USGS and other government agencies.

The only national science festival in the U.S., it attracted nearly 1 million participants in a month-long celebration in 2010. This will be the second festival and is hosted this year by Lockheed Martin with the goal of “encouraging the next generation of engineers, scientists and technologists, and (increasing) public awareness of the importance of science and math education.”

Cameron Quon

Organizers note that a report to Congress last year shows the world’s only superpower ranks just 48th in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The Obama administration has declared STEM education a top priority.

There’s obviously no lack of it at Saugus, where Quon produces creative video segments both on campus and around town for the morning student announcements.

He told festival organizers his contest entry about solar power was inspired by the Hart School District’s recent installation of solar panels.

“Ten of the schools in our district began putting up solar panels over our parking lots this year,” Quon said in his entry. “Creating a video relating to science and engineering seemed to fit perfectly with this project.”

In the video, Quon interviews David Mattice at the city of Santa Clarita’s Transit Maintenance Facility, where the city recently installed solar canopies.

On his own Vimeo page, Quon explains the theme of the video: “Amidst a rapidly industrializing society, the excessive burning of fossil fuels in the form of carbon dioxide emissions and the seemingly insatiable demands of deforestation have wrought much damage on the health of Earth. In order to mitigate the deleterious effects of these problems, photovoltaic canopies (AKA solar panels) are just one of thousands of solutions.

“This video details the attractive qualities of using photovoltaic canopies, focusing specifically on the solar panels that have recently been sprouting all around the City of Santa Clarita, especially at the public junior high and high schools.”

Quon acknowledges the work of co-director and videographer Justin Ramer and thanks Mattice as well as Saugus broadcast journalism instructor Wade Williams, Kristi Schertz, Carla Callahan and his own mother and father for their participation and support.

As for future aspirations, Quon told contest organizers he hopes to “combine my love for broadcast journalism, my avid interest in medicine, my excitement for traveling abroad and my love for Jesus into a career as a medical news correspondent/broadcast journalist with an active medical practice. I yearn to open the eyes of the world through the eye of the lens.”

Clearly, he’s on his way.

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