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Matthew Shimura

Honolulu, Hawaii
Punahou School
What is your favorite subject in school?: 
My favorite subject in school is social studies. I like social studies because it’s a challenge to learn about the world and other cultures. Social studies connects me to others around the world, and helps me understand human nature.
What kind of extra-curricular activities or hobbies do you enjoy participating in?: 
I enjoy tennis and fencing, and I love to make movies. Tennis is very fun for me because I get to have a great time with my friends in a challenging and competitive environment. I enjoy fencing because it is very fast-paced, which heightens my senses. Filmmaking is a great way for me to express my creativity and my views about the world.
What career do you want to pursue and why?: 
When I grow up I would like to be a documentary filmmaker like Michael Moore or Ken Burns. I love informing people about issues from a kid's perspective. Filmmaking lets me show the world my ideas. I can also inspire others to act, so that changes can be made. The world is full of problems that I would like to understand better and help to solve. As a filmmaker, I can help others see these issues, appreciate their significance and get involved. Global warming, wars, homelessness, starvation, discrimination and disease – there is no shortage of issues for a documentary filmmaker.
Why did you enter in the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge?: 
What prompted me to enter the contest was my interest in the topic of sunlight and its effects. Sunlight is especially relevant to me because I live in Hawaii. Sunlight is all around us, so I wanted to inform people about it and how it affects us. More importantly, my mom tells me every day to put on sunscreen, and I wanted to understand why.
What do you enjoy most about science?: 
Science is the basis for understanding the world around me. I enjoy learning about how things work, and I enjoy building things. It's fun to use my movie talents to help explain complicated things and to help others understand them as well. Making movies is really a process of building too, except that I use pieces of digital data instead of the Legos I played with as a kid. Science and math are an integral part of moviemaking, too. My editing programs use algorithms to handle the digital data captured by my camera. Figuring out the best way to make a movie and display it involves understanding the codecs and formats so I can pick the best options. Editing and mixing the audio involves understanding the waveforms that sound creates. The visual part of the movie often uses filters or other behaviors that adjust the images, all created with the math that's embedded in the software. The better I understand science and math, the better filmmaker I will be.
Anything else you'd like to tell us about yourself?: 
Ever since fourth grade when my teacher Mr. Schwengel taught me about iMovie, I have been making documentaries. I have made a number of movies that I am proud of. The summer after fifth grade, I made a movie about access to justice that won first prize for the Hawaii State Bar Association. In sixth grade, I helped produce a commercial for the Red Cross that was shown on television. Last year, I made another TV commercial for a local event called Band-Aid, which promoted a concert to raise money for different charities. This year, I won the middle school first prize in the statewide Olelo Youth Exchange contest for a public service announcement about why you should drink water instead of soda. Also this year, I won the C-Span StudentCam contest for middle school students with a documentary about childhood obesity. This video was incorporated into a program about childhood obesity at the White House, where I got to meet Michele Obama.

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