The Covid-19 pandemic didn’t stop Huntington High School junior Emily Roberts from interning with the Human Health Environmental Analysis Resource, a well-respected program that receives its funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Cancer Institute, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes.
“The aim of the program is to make adding environmental exposure analysis to research studies cheaper and easier and to advance the understanding of how the environment impacts human health,” Ms. Roberts said.
Ms. Roberts attended online Zoom meetings once a week where she was taught how to engage in the practice of “data mapping.” She learned her lessons well.
“We learned how to data map so we could make the information from various studies machine-readable,” Ms. Roberts said. “I would take the variables from a study and would match all the different variables with a code that corresponded with that variable from the Human Health Environmental Analysis Resource ontology.”
Ms. Roberts admits the whole thing can get confusing for a layman. Ontology is defined as “a set of concepts and categories in a subject area or domain that shows their properties and the relations between them.” Still confused? You aren’t alone, by the Huntington junior came to understand it well.
“At times, data mapping can be very complex and time consuming, but as I understood it more, I began to enjoy it more,” Ms. Roberts said. “I am continuing to work for the Human Health Environmental Analysis Resource program throughout the fall.”
Ms. Roberts engaged in a second internship with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition, that was also accomplished virtually via Zoom. “I spent a lot of time researching environmental topics and learning about science from professors and doctors and also from Karen Miller and Melanie Gabrell,” the teenager said. “I focused on endocrine disrupters, and how they impact the human body.”
The junior said she is “really looking forward” to taking Advanced Placement Chemistry and Advanced Photography this year. “I am also very excited to be taking science research with Mrs. [Lori]Kenny,” Ms. Roberts said. “I have really enjoyed having her as a teacher for freshman and sophomore year and I am so happy I get to have her again for junior year.”
Ms. Roberts intends to continue interning with the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition during the year, joining some high school clubs and participating in the Blue Devil fencing program.
“Some of the colleges I am interested in as of right now are the University of Michigan, Boston University and Cornell University,” Ms. Roberts said. “For career possibilities I am thinking about something in the medical or law field.”