Sara Frawley and Sam Roberts are two of the top teenagers in the country. The Huntington High School duo impresses everyone they cross paths with, especially the medical professionals who have helped guide them through high level research. The pair presented their work last week at the Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program’s two day conference in Washington, DC.
Veterans of the high school’s science research program, Ms. Frawley and Mr. Roberts have been interning with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, which arranged an opportunity for them to complete research in Dr. Jia Chen’s lab at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan.
“They were all extremely welcoming and wonderful to learn from,” said Ms. Frawley about the lab experience at Mount Sinai. “Our research focused on the effects of glyphosate based herbicides, which are commonly used throughout the United States on gene expression and also accessing knowledge and concern over pesticide use in Suffolk and across Long Island. We found that there are possibly harmful effects of this common herbicide and that there is also a need for further education in our community.”
The Breast Cancer and the Environment Research Program is co-funded by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Cancer Institute. “They work with scientists, the community and clinicians to evaluate breast cancer risks from environmental exposures,” Ms. Frawley said.
The two Huntington seniors were invited to the 13th annual conference in Washington, DC to present their research findings and to listen to “amazing” researching presenting their own groundbreaking work.
“Attending the conference was a privilege for which I am very grateful,” Mr. Roberts said. “Sessions were long, slow and filled with words I couldn’t understand, but they provided valuable insight into the fields that I’m interested in. I was also able to meet many of the people who are conducting fantastic cancer research.”
The Huntington duo participated in a discussion concerning Washington, DC’s Ward 8 health concerns. “Ward 8 has extremely high instances of breast cancer and also a need for further communication and health care,” Ms. Frawley said. “This experience really highlighted why we do what we do with both working with the community and finding ways to prevent cancer.
The two day conference left Ms. Frawley and Mr. Roberts feeling tired, but invigorated. “This was a wonderful and insightful opportunity, which we are both so grateful for,” Ms. Frawley said.