Nina Varvatsas really enjoys science. The Huntington High School junior is a great all-around student. She’s an essential part of the science research program where she’s pursuing a high-end interesting project and also interning with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition.
“I’m really excited to be back doing a science research project after being away from the scene for so long,” Ms. Varvatsas said. “This year, the focus of my project is to raise awareness of endocrine-disrupting chemicals found in personal care products. Endocrine disruptors can cause numerous health defects and are in thousands of products we use every day including fertilizer, the food we eat, and even in cosmetics. Raising awareness of endocrine disruptors and harmful chemicals found in daily personal care products can help encourage many to turn to healthier and more mindful options that can prevent sickness and harm to their bodies.”
The teenager is developing a research study that involves surveying high school students on their daily product and care routine.
“I am having each participant look at about five products and use an app that I will provide them to see their average scale of how harmful their daily products are to their body,” Ms. Varvatsas said. “I will also have them tell me the most common toxic chemical found in each product. After this information is gathered, I will analyze and create an informative presentation about my findings.”
Ms. Varvatsas said she has been especially looking forward to taking Psychology and AP English Language and Composition this year. “I love all my science classes, especially Science Research and I’m definitely looking forward to working with Mrs. [Lori] Kenny,” she said.
The junior’s internship with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition involves participating in research on factors in the environment that contribute negatively to good health and well-being.
“HBCAC targets community-oriented programs focused on breast cancer, education, precaution and prevention to help spread awareness and bring more attention to environmental awareness,” Ms. Varvatsas said. “I have participated in the Children’s Environmental Health Center creative project, where my partner and I drew an infographic representing what we think a cleaner and healthier New York looks like accompanied by a storyline. I also made a project that I created over this past summer. I made an informal air pollution presentation with an informative voice-over and presented it to my peers.”
Ms. Varvatsas’ summer project also involved coordinating a social media campaign along with fellow interns to advocate and spread awareness of environmental issues across the globe.
“It was a very rigorous selection process, but I am really happy to be a part of this internship and to be able to make a difference in the community and to advocate for others,” Ms. Varvatsas said. “This experience has definitely built my character and found who I am, as well as discover a new passion.”
The junior is currently reviewing college possibilities and reflecting on career options, “but I know it will focus on science and more specifically health sciences,” Ms. Varvatsas said.
The high school Environmental Club’s administrative assistant, Ms. Varvatsas is also a Key Club member and she hopes to join the Grandfriend’s Club. She babysits in whatever spare time she has. “I love working with kids,” she said.
A Girl Scouts of Suffolk County Silver Award recipient, Ms. Varvatsas is working toward gold level recognition. She is also a member the Greek Orthodox Youth Association (GOYA) “where I help organize and run fundraisers through my church to benefit the community,” she said.