Huntington High School students participating in the science research program recently traveled to J. Taylor Finley Middle to meet with eighth graders about one of the district’s academic gems.
The team of high school students visited classrooms and shared information, including their own personal experiences conducting research and presenting their findings at competitions throughout the metropolitan area.
The goal of the visitors was to create interest in the science research program and encourage the eighth graders to register for Introduction to Science Research Honors. The one-credit class meets daily and is open to students on every grade level.
“This course revolves around developing and completing a science project to compete in local, state or national science competitions,” states the 2017/18 high school curriculum guide. “Development of real-world skills, such as oral and written communication, statistical analysis, and technology will be a part of the curriculum. Students will be assessed by a portfolio that includes written work, project proposals, research analysis, and log data entry. Students are encouraged to take this course for successive years.” (A second course named Science Research Honors is available to those in grades 10-12 who previously the introductory class and who want to work with a mentor and develop an elite research project to enter into a national competition.”
The recent trip to Finley allowed the high school students to practice their public speaking skills ahead of their competitions, which kick-off in March. Being articulate while discussing their research findings with judges is imperative to a successful performance by the teenagers.
Teacher Lori Kenny leads Huntington High School’s science research program. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology at St. Michael’s College in Vermont in 1998 and obtained a Master of Science in biology at Adelphi University 2000. She also studied wildlife and ecology at the School for International Training in Africa and holds graduate teacher’s certification from Long Island University–C.W. Post College.
Mrs. Kenny’s excellence was formally recognized when the National Association of Biology Teachers honored her as New York State’s recipient of the organizations 2014/15 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award.
Mrs. Kenny has worked in Huntington as a science teacher since December 2005. She completed her student teaching requirements in the Half Hollow Hills school district. In addition to her responsibilities with the science research program, she also teaches Honors Living Environment.
Prior to coming to Huntington, Mrs. Kenny worked at the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory as a lab technician in the department of neurobiology from 1998 to 2005. In this position she conducted collaborative and independent behavioral and molecular genetic experiments, identifying and characterizing genes involved in learning and memory; maintained the inventory of lab reagents and materials, gained highly developed behavioral genetic and molecular skills such as genomic prep, PCR, digests, primer development, brain histology, lax Z and other staining techniques; trained visiting scientists to perform behavioral analysis and performed website development.
In late 2001, Mrs. Kenny represented the Cold Spring Harbor Lab as a teacher at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China, lecturing on background material and various techniques, directing the set-up and training of lab technicians on a large-scale forward mutagenesis project and ordering and arranging the shipment of all supplies.
Mrs. Kenny has also worked as a research assistant at St. Michael’s College, in the Adelphi University animal care facility and as a field biology teaching assistant in Colchester, Vermont. As a student in a study abroad program in Tanzania, she developed a project that involved researching giraffes in Arusha National Park. By photo identification and extensive study of behavioral patterns, records were developed for means of protecting endangered animals.
In addition to being proficient in numerous computer software programs, Mrs. Kenny has a working knowledge of Swahili, sign-language and Spanish. She has also contributed to several published scientific papers.
Contact Mrs. Kenny at [email protected] for more information about the science research program.
(Huntington junior Nolan Piccola, an intern in the high school science research program, contributed to this story.)