Two Seniors Earn National Program Honors

Two seniors at The Mary Louis Academy in Jamaica Estates, Natalia Kula, left, and Ariana Diaz, were both recently honored for their scholastic achievement. Kula has been named a Commended Student in the 2020 National Merit Scholarship Program. Diaz was recognized as a Scholar in the National Hispanic Recognition Program.

There are about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation who are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. These Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2020 competition by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

As a Scholar in the National Hispanic Recognition Program, Diaz scored in the top 2.5 percent among Hispanic and Latino PSAT test takers in the region. As with the National Merit Scholarship Program, NHRP uses the junior year PSAT/NMSQT as the qualifying test.

The National Hispanic Recognition Program recognizes approximately 5,000 Hispanic/Latino juniors each year from among the more than 400,000 juniors who take the PSAT.

TMLA congratulates both students on these outstanding accomplishments.

Junior presents at Museum of Natural History

TMLA Junior Anna Ducroiset was invited by the Student Conference for Conservation Science at the American Museum of Natural History to present a poster abstract of her recent biochemical research. Although this international conference was designed for Graduate and PhD students, the conference mentors and attendees were impressed by the quality and significance of Ducroiset’s research.

With other scientists, Ducroiset has worked at a lab in Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and at the Marine Biological Lab in Cape Cod during the summer months and also during the school year. The research includes the effect of RoundUp Herbicide (common weed killer) and rising ocean temperatures on a plant species that lives freely in the water and inside of coral reefs. The free-floating plant species is essential for the production of atmospheric oxygen, processing of CO2, and regulating ocean acidification rates as well as for the ability of coral to grow.

As we become more aware of our planet, we understand that coral reefs are important for many reasons. They are thought to contain the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They protect coastlines from the damaging effects of wave action and tropical storms while providing habitats and shelter for many marine organisms.

Ducroiset became involved with this project the summer going into ninth grade. Her mentor was her Earth Science Regents teacher who encouraged her interest in science. Ducroiset intends to continue with this research during her years in high school and then hopefully to pursue this study in college.  

Ducroiset says she “loves doing the research. It’s so interesting to work with scientists and learn about a million different things at once. I really liked how I was given an absolutely unique experience I could not get anywhere else.”

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