Mass Academy Senior Succeeds at International Science Competition
The Regeneron Science Talent Search is one of the oldest and most prestigious international science competitions with thousands of students submitting original research each year. Diego Suchenski Loustaunau, a senior at Mass Academy, had low expectations going in.
“There are so many awesome people and projects who compete in STS that I wasn’t really expecting anything. Opening my email and seeing the semi-finalist announcement was a nice surprise,” said Suchenski Loustaunau.
During his junior year, Suchenski Loustaunau conducted an independent research project at the Schiffer Lab at UMass Medical School. His project used computational techniques to modify an oligonucleotide – a small molecule made of nucleic acids – to bind and inhibit a protein known for stimulating drug resistance in cancers. He competed in the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium competition and Massachusetts State Science Fair with his project.
A semi-finalist honor was not the only recognition he would receive.
“A couple weeks later I checked my phone after my Genetics lecture and saw I had missed a call from Washington, D.C.. I called them back and someone from the Society for Science picked up and told me I was a finalist!” said Suchenski Loustaunau.
Along with this notification, Suchenski Loustaunau was also invited to go to a week-long event in Washington D.C., where each of the 40 finalists would have the opportunity to present their projects to a panel of judges and compete for a number of prizes.
Suchenski Loustaunau said his favorite part of the experience was meeting everyone there.
“It was really cool to see the other projects and to meet so many people from across the country who are interested in research… We got to meet all of the Regeneron executives and the leadership team at HHMI’s Janelia campus after our tour there, as well as President Biden’s scientific advisor, Dr. Arati Prabhakar,” said Suchenski Loustaunau.
With an outstanding overall experience, Diego encourages everybody that’s interested to apply to the competition: “I’m super happy that I did. Don’t limit yourself because something seems difficult or like a long shot — you never know how it’ll work out!”
Omar El Nesr
Junior Staff Writer