Valerie Rogel is looking to build off a summer internship at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. The Huntington High School sophomore is thriving in the science research program and is looking to take her project to a whole new level this year.
Ms. Rogel was a standout during her freshman year in the high school’s science research program and teacher Lori Kenny knew quickly she had a very special young woman in her class.
Mrs. Kenny felt very comfortable helping to arrange and coordinate Ms. Rogel’s summer internship on the campus of one of the premier research universities in the country.
“It was an amazing experience and I am so grateful to Mrs. Kenny for allowing me to have the opportunity to immerse myself in a laboratory environment,” Ms. Rogel said. “She has instilled a love for scientific research in me and I am so glad I decided to take Science Research my freshman year, because it’s a class I’ll continue to enroll in throughout the rest of high school.”
Ms. Rogel research projects focused on the effect of ambient cell concentration on the growth and feeding rates of Crepidula fornicata larvae. “To put it simply, I studied how different concentrations of phytoplankton affect the shell length of snail larvae,” she said. “A great deal of my work involved diluting the stock of various phytoplankton cultures and determining the concentration of each single-celled organism, as well as measuring the individual larvae. Subsequently, I learned to use R coding software to generate graphs and analyze the statistical significance of my data.”
The teenager said she began her lab experience “with little knowledge on the subject,” but quickly was brought up to speed by her mentor Abigail Tyrell and Stony Brook Professor Nicholas Fisher.
“I gained knowledge in both marine science as well as laboratory skills and coding,” Ms. Rogel said. “It was an honor to work alongside such accomplished individuals and I can honestly say that I was inspired to put everything I had into developing an impressive experiment. In addition to the general lab work that I conducted on a day-to-day basis, I had the opportunity to get to know my fellow intern, Sagarika Samavedi and attend various lectures with her that covered everything from modeling protein structure to the hazardous mercury levels in Pacific marine life.
With the sophomore on such a roll, it appears she won’t allow any obstacle to stand in her way. “I am already looking forward to participating in the Long Island Science & Engineering Fair’s varsity competition for the first time this February,” Ms. Rogel said. “While it’s certainly a lot of work to complete a scientific study, I am confident that my time at Stony Brook will allow me to develop the best result I possibly can.”
Ms. Rogel is already thinking about what she will tackle next July and August. “I hope to conduct research in a different field next summer in order to broaden my horizons and gain a better understanding of what I want to pursue in college,” she said.