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Horace Greeley Seniors Research ALS, Cancer

CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Four seniors nearing the end of their time in Horace Greeley High School’s science research program showcased their studies on May 1, which included advanced research in areas such as breast cancer, ALS, and color blindness.

The school’s three-year research program allows students to take additional science classes and perform hands-on research with a mentor of their choosing during their senior year.

“I remember hearing about the program and filling out the application and realizing it’s something that I wanted to do. I’ve been interested in science my whole life,” said student Julia Keegan. “My grandmother actually passed away from ALS about 20 years ago, which is why I got into the research and why I found it so rewarding.”

Presenting with Keegan were Rebecca Passman, Neel Patel and John Desmarais. For their final year in the program, students had to find a mentor to perform research with. Desmarais said he happened upon his mentor by chance when he was reading a National Geographic magazine article about his research with curing color blindness.

“I thought the research was so interesting I wrote down the professor’s name and I found his email,” Desmarais said. “We went back and forth with the questions and eventually the relationship got stronger and stronger.” Desmarais said he was eventually invited to the University of Washington to work in his mentor’s lab.

Keegan also reached out to her mentor through email, and said it took some convincing for him to allow a high school student into his lab.

“He’s amazing and we have a great relationship now,” Keegan said. “So I hope I proved to him that high school students can do great work and we won’t screw everything up.” 

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