A Huntington High School science research duo is studying the effect of the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent triclosan on the ant colony behavior of “Pogonomyrmex barbatus,” more commonly known as the red harvester ant.
Huntington sophomores David Canas Granados and Nathali Ulloa are completely engaged in the project. “We are testing how Triclosan will affect the behavior of red harvester ants,” states the project abstract. “We set up four ant farms; three of the four will have different amounts of triclosan and the fourth one will have no triclosan, which will serve as the control group.”
Triclosan is a common ingredient in items such as shampoo, soap, detergents, toothpaste, hand sanitizer, surgical cleaning treatments and even toys. “We read an article that showed that triclosan is going into bodies of water as runoff and affecting the reproductive rate of aquatic organisms,” Mr. Canas Granados said.
While Mr. Canas Granados has participated in the high school’s science program in each of the past two years, this marks Ms. Ulloa’s first experience in it.
Last year, Mr. Canas Granados worked on a project that studied the effect of different types of fertilizers on pea plans. The plants were exposed to organic and synthetic fertilizer to see which of them would affect the growth of the plants at a faster rate.
The teenager is excelling in all of his classes. He also participates in the Blue Devil marching band, drama club, chamber orchestra, a capella choir and the high school fencing team.
“I joined the science research program after I learned that you could do a project on any type of science,” Mr. Canas Granados said. “I decided that I wanted to do projects that could help the environment because I’m a big environmentalist.”
Mr. Canas Granados immigrated to the United States from El Salvador. He came to Huntington in February 2014. “My experience at Huntington has been very pleasant,” the sophomore said. “I’ve met most of my closest friends in this district, such as Logan Toth, Molly Kessler, Natalie Ciccone, Ryan Aguirre, Cianna Batts, Mack Brunner and Nathali Ulloa. And the teachers, like Ms. [Victoria] Garbarino, Mrs. [Lori] Kenny and Mr. [Michael] Schwendemann have been nothing but helpful.”
Ms. Ulloa also strives for excellence in every academic course. She, too, is a member of the Blue Devil marching band and the high school’s chamber orchestra. She is also involved with the stage crew.
The sophomore is happy she registered for the research course. “I just wanted to try something new and explore the world of science more,” Ms. Ulloa said. “Ever since I was little I was always interested in science and growing up I just wanted to learn more. That’s when I decided that the science research program would be the class for me to enroll in.”
Ms. Ulloa has been a student in Huntington UFSD since she was a kindergartener at Washington Primary School. “So far, I’ve loved my experience here at Huntington,” she said. “I’ve been blessed to be able to attend a school that offers many opportunities; that pushes their students to do more and to try their best. I’ve also been able to make a few friendships here that have made my experience so much better. Always being able to have those people that light up your day when it’s not going so good is always a huge blessing.”
The teenager has also developed fruitful relationships with the faculty members she has worked with. “I’ve always tried to connect to my teachers as much as I can and I have been able to so far,” Ms. Ulloa said. “They have been incredibly helpful and supportive. And I’m very grateful for the experiences and people I’ve been able to meet so far. I hope to have many more to come.”
(Huntington senior Robert Jean-Gilles contributed reporting for this article.)