Tapped by high school science teachers as Huntington’s best, Kianna Criscuola was honored by the Science Teachers Association of New York State at a festive dinner at Villa Lombardi in Holbrook that recognized scholars from across Suffolk.
Vice president of Huntington’s Science National Honor Society chapter and co-president of Natural Helpers, whose members assist and support classmates as they work through challenging personal circumstances, Ms. Criscuola is a scholar with a very big heart.
The senior plans to attend Colgate University in upstate New York where she is interested in pursuing ecology or environmental science studies. Ms. Criscuola credits her success to “being curious and asking questions.”
STANYS honored one senior from each Suffolk high school who had been chosen by teachers as that district’s “outstanding senior science student.” Ms. Criscuola was accompanied at the awards dinner by Huntington High School physics and engineering teacher Stacey Byrnes.
“I am greatly appreciative of this honor and am grateful for all of the opportunities that the Huntington science department has provided me with,” Ms. Criscuola said. “I brought Ms. Byrnes to the dinner because she has been an extremely influential part of my science journey.”
“Each year, we teachers could probably fill a room with students who are deserving of this award,” Ms. Byrnes told the crowd at the dinner. “We have so many smart and hardworking science students, but I don’t think anyone has the same passion for science that Kianna does. She found the science department in her freshman year and with that, she found her home in the high school. Starting as a freshman, every new science class she took, she tell deeper in love with science.”
Ms. Criscuola has also been a key player for the Blue Devil varsity volleyball team. She garnered All-County Academic honors in the sport last fall.
“When Kianna took Living Environment Honors as a freshman, she got such excitement out of every new subject covered that she set a goal to become a senior intern in a Living Environment class so she could help instill that same excitement in the younger students and she did exactly that throughout this year,” Ms. Byrnes said.
After completing Advanced Placement Biology, the teenager thought she might what to take a pre-med route in college. “For a while, she even thought about going into the biological side of forensic science,” Ms. Byrnes said. “When she took AP Environmental Science, she decided that her true passion was environmental and ecological sciences. After taking AP Chemistry, she gained a new perspective on the world around her and while the class was difficult, she learned not to take challenges as defeat. I won’t take it personally that she never fell in love with AP Physics, even though I was finally her teacher this year. But I’ll let her off the hook for that because she worked as my physics lab assistant for the past two years, so she must have found some enjoyment in the subject.”
The senior said taking challenging classes she is passionate about has provided her with an opportunity to learn about a variety of academic areas.
“Kianna packed her schedule throughout high school, often giving up her lunch period so she could take multiple science classes in a year and I think she came pretty close to taking all the science classes we offer,” Ms. Byrnes said.
Ms. Criscuola said finding a balance between academics, extracurricular activities and her social life has contributed to her success.
“Kianna’s excitement is palpable with each new science concept she learns and with each new concept, she thinks about how she can use the science knowledge learned to make the world a better place,” Ms. Byrnes said. “Kianna is the light for so many of her teachers and peers at Huntington High School and we know that wherever her path throughout life leads her, science will always be the light illuminating her way.”