by KELLEY GUSICH

STEM Superstars

student_aikopajaka2For their entire Aviara Oaks Middle School (AOMS) careers, CHS students Aiko Lozar and Pajaka Lakshmin loved their time at AOMS because of the family atmosphere. This caring community expanded an interest in STEM that began when both girls were small. Aiko’s mom has been a researcher and robotics coordinator, and her father is a doctor, and her interest was really sparked through Jr. FIRST Lego League in third grade. “My favorite part about STEM activities,” Aiko shared, “is that you never run out of things to learn.” Pajaka’s STEM memories started with Science Week. “My favorite STEM activity would have to be the experiments we did in seventh and eighth grade which combined all four aspects of STEM and taught us to think outside the box.”

In 2017, Aiko and Pajaka became involved in ProjectCSGirls, a nonprofit program designed to encourage girls’ involvement in STEM-based fields. Under the category World Health, they designed a theoretical device they named Co2nversion. This would use artificial photosynthesis to reduce the amount of CO2 in the air. Their project was awarded an Honorable Mention at this national competition, and they were invited as one of 30 teams to present their project for the national gala in Washington, D.C.


MEET AIKO & PAJAKA

Name: Aiko Lozar
School: Aviara Oaks Middle School (2014-2017) and Carlsbad High School (current)
Parents: Anna Lozar and David Lozar
Sibling: Quinn Lozar
Favorite Places in Carlsbad: My schools, bookstores, Bressi Ranch, Carlsbad Village area


Name: Pajaka Lakshmin
School: Carlsbad High School
Parents: Jayakrishnan and Anuradha Lakshmin
Sibling: Dvaita Lakshmin
Favorite Places in Carlsbad: The Village, the library, the beaches


Pajaka’s and Aiko’s experience at the gala was one of their most memorable, with incomparable opportunities to meet and collaborate with girls nationwide. “There were so many girls with brilliant ideas which had the potential to change the way the world worked,” Pajaka said. “My favorite part has to be how everyone there was so supportive and understanding,” Aiko shared. “It seemed as though the atmosphere was unreal, as everyone treated each other like long lost cousins!”

Aiko finds her inspiration in every aspect of life, but is most awed when children begin to realize things older people have never considered. “Seeing how the future generations are already making connections gives me hope for the future and motivates me to inspire more people in the areas I’m interested.” Pajaka finds her motivation in looking back. “I am most inspired by the powerful women in our history and society, those who stood for what they believed in like Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai and have defied the stereotypes like Susan B. Anthony and Marie Curie.”

Both are in other activities from Indian dance/song to the San Diego Shakespeare Society. Their myriad talents make them the perfect 92009 Student Stars!