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Students & Scientists

Knowles Presents Breast Cancer Research Findings

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Knowles Presents Breast Cancer Research Findings

hs_knowles_caitlin_1sm Caitlin Knowles is well-known as a Huntington High School basketball player and as the Class of 2015’s recording secretary. She wears many other hats, too, and is one of the top scholars among nearly 300 juniors. But, did you know that the teenager engaged in breast cancer research and has presented her findings at several conferences?

Ms. Knowles applied for a spot in the Huntington Breast Cancer Action Coalition’s Students and Scientists environmental research scholarship program. “This program places high school students interested in environmental research with mentors studying the environmental causes of breast cancer in labs around the country for a summer internship,” the junior said.

HBCAC typically selects five or six students for the scholarship program, but a lack of funding limited the organization to just one award last year: Ms. Knowles. She spent four weeks last July working at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. “I learned a lot about breast cancer research and environmental toxicology,” she said.

When the internship concluded, Ms. Knowles took the data she collected with her mentors and presented it at the annual Breast Cancer and the Environment research program conference in Madison, Wisconsin last November.

“Most of the presenters were distinguished professional scientists in the field of breast cancer research, but there were a few high school students from Great Neck who attended as well,” Ms. Knowles said.

The Huntington teenager found her trip to Wisconsin to be quite worthwhile. “While I was there I was fascinated by both the complexity of the projects and the ease with which the researchers were able to explain their abstruse data to a mixed audience, ranging from professional researchers and postdoctoral fellows to graduate, undergraduate and high school students,” Ms. Knowles said. “This emphasis on communicating knowledge to the public inspired me to share what I had learned about the environment’s impact on health with students at Huntington High School.”


Ms. Knowles recently joined HBCAC President Karen Miller and the organization’s community communications director Kelsey Domino for a presentation on “Environmental Awareness: Identifying Endocrine Disruptors in Personal Care Products and the Health Risks That They Pose” to about 300 high school Living Environment, Earth Science and Chemistry students, as well as a business class studying environmental law.

“Although these presentations did not directly focus on my specific research project, the information I learned by working with HBCAC and interning at NIEHS was definitely applicable,” Ms. Knowles said. “The main message of these presentations is that there are substances in the environment that we are constantly exposed to that can cause major health issues, including breast cancer, obesity and diabetes. Often, we have no idea that we are exposed to these substances because they are hidden in personal care products (i.e. shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc.) Most people do not read the labels when they purchase these products and they rely solely on the brand name or packaging to decide what they put into their bodies. Chemicals that should be avoided include parabens, phthalates, triclosan and bisphenol A.”

Students attending the presentation were shown photos of common personal care product brands and realized some of the items they were using contained chemicals and compounds that are harmful and could threaten their health.

“Although there are several agencies working to protect us from environmental toxins, among them the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, FDA and EPA, the regulations are still insufficient,” Ms. Knowles said. “We need to be educated consumers to drive the market in favor of safe products by using our purchasing power. I think students really took this message to heart and will remember the negative health impacts associated with harmful substances in personal care products the next time they go shopping.”

Ms. Knowles said she is applying for another summer research this year through the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.

Article courtesy of Huntington Public Schools. Read the article in it's original format here.

2013 Student and Scientist

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HBCAC's 2013 Student and Scientists Environmental Research Scholorship Awarded to Huntington High School Student:Caitlin Knowles

Huntington High School, Senior, Caitlin Knowles spend summer of 2013 at the National Institute of Environmental Health Science's Research Triangle Park. Knowles spend three weeks studying under the direction of world renowed scientist, Suzanne Fenton, PhD, where she studied the effect of prenatal herbicide exposure on mammary gland growth, development and lesions in adult female Sprague-Dawley rats.


Our Next Generation of Scientists

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Students & Scientists Environmental Research Scholarship Program, SSERSP, post orientation meeting.
Joining the students from L to R Northport HS Teacher Brian Horan, Commack School Director of Science K-12 District
Alison Offerman-Celentano, Huntington HS Chair of Science & IT Rai Monsanto, Lisa Kratter HBCAC S&S coordinator,
Huntington HS Teacher Laurie Kenny, TOH Council Women Susan Berland, and Walt Whitman HS Principal Kathy Acker.


Community Action

GEMdaniellew Volunteering! Danielle Ferstler, shares valuable
breast health information at Walt Whitman Mall.


Making Headlines

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Huntington Youth Council's Science Forum Video feat. our Students and Scientists Environmental Research Program
Our Students were stellar presenting their abstracts to the Huntington Youth Council. The Science Forum was sponsored by Councilwoman Susan A. Berland. If you missed them at Huntington Town Hall check out http:// index.php/ students-a-scientists to download your copy of S.T.O.R.I and watch the Science Forum ON AIR.

The Students were broadcast on Cablevisions Channel 18 and Fios Channel 38.
Watch the 4 Part Science Forum Now!





More pictures



Environmental S.T.O.R.I. Newsletter

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Welcome to the 2013 issue of Environmental S.T.O.R.I (Student Translation and Outreach Research Initiative). This dedicated newsletter provides a platform to highlight the extraordinary accomplishments of our high school students from the Long Island region. A Road Map for Prevention could not be complete without focusing on the contributions made by young adults; they are in fact, Our Guardians of the Future. These students embody a combination of knowledge, focus and self-determination, and the Students and Scientists Environmental Research Scholarship Program provide them with the right connections. It is our hope that these young adults will redefine the future of emerging science and how it translates into regulatory Action.


2012 was the premier edition S.T.O.R.I newsletter.

Click here to download the 2012 PDF

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