Trio Studies Biodiversity of Macro Algae in Northport Harbor

A Huntington High School research team is studying Northport Harbor.

January 11, 2018

Natalie McCann, Emma Grassi and Mackenzie Joseph are pursuing an interesting project. The Huntington juniors are three year veterans of the high school’s science research program. The teenagers are currently using high tech means to study what lies in local waters.

“Our project this school year is the biodiversity of macro algae in Northport Harbor,” Ms. Grassi said. “We’ll be using DNA barcoding from Cold Spring Harbor Lab to get samples from the harbor so we can test them and analyze the data.”

Although the three research team members lead very busy lives with each of them pursuing a variety of academic and personal interests, they have never lost their individual or collective passion for science.

A team of Huntington juniors is studying the biodiversity of macroalgae in Northport Harbor.
A team of Huntington juniors is studying the biodiversity of macroalgae in Northport Harbor.

This year’s project is certainly challenging, but the group is excited about it and they are looking forward to developing it and reaching a set of conclusions they will present during various contests later this winter and in the spring. Teacher Lori Kenny, who leads the high school science research program, has high hopes for the group.

Huntington science teacher and environmental club faculty advisor Gina Carone has been mentoring the group over the past five months. The faculty member is providing the teenagers with key information to help pivot their project in the right direction.

The three juniors are easily recognizable figures around the high school. Ms. McCann is the elected president of Interact Club, working closely with faculty advisor Camille Tedeschi and directing the energetic organization since the beginning of the school year.

Ms. Grassi and Ms. McCann are both active in Habitat for Humanity and the high school’s Gay-Straight Alliance. Ms. Joseph is currently starring on the Blue Devil indoor track and field team. All three are also members of the newly created women’s empowerment club.

“My time in science research has been amazing,” Ms. McCann said. “I’ve learned skills that have helped me flourish in all aspects of life from organization to professionalism. It also helped me make important connections and set goals for myself that seemed unrealistic or above my comfort zone. Mrs. Kenny actually helped me get an internship at Cold Spring Harbor Labs, which has been beyond my wildest dreams. She has also been so supportive in pushing me to achieve my goals and always believing in me.”

(Huntington High School senior Nolan Piccola contributed reporting for this story. He is a science research program participant and intern with teacher Lori Kenny.)

Huntington junior Emma Grassi.
Huntington junior Emma Grassi.
Huntington junior Mackenzie Joseph.
Huntington junior Mackenzie Joseph.
Huntington junior Natalie McCann.
Huntington junior Natalie McCann.
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