A Hampton Bays teen hopes her research on genetically modified organisms helps consumers make more informed decisions about what they eat.
Kaylee Catena, a senior at Hampton Bays High School, has spent four years researching the positive and negative effects GMOs have on humans and the environment by scouring articles written on the topic dating to 1999. The articles, which came from sources ranging from scholarly journals to The New York Times, were separated into three categories: positive, negative and no effect.
Her findings found a majority of articles showed that GMOs have negative effects ranging from toxic reactions in the digestive track to unexpected mutations in organisms.
“I’ve always loved food and cooking, and I was curious how that would transfer to science,” Catena, 17, said.
The science-minded teen pursued the project under guidance of her mentor, Patricia Stapleton, an assistant professor at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. She plans to present her research at her school’s science research symposium in April.
Catena is secretary of her school’s Student Council, president of the Future Business Leaders of America club, and a member of the varsity gymnastics team. She was named to the 2016 All-County gymnastics team.
In addition, Catena has been named her school’s female winner of the 2016-17 Zone Award based on factors including her academic prowess, physical performance and leadership skills.