Adina Kirkland is closing out her time at Huntington High School with the same drive and determination she demonstrated from her earliest days as a Washington Primary School kindergartener.
Ms. Kirkland is one of the top scholars and musicians in Huntington’s Class of 2018. She’s an outstanding varsity sabre fencer, too. The teenager is very popular with her classmates and teammates and her teachers adore her, pointing to her sweet personality and strong work ethic.
The Blue Devil marching band’s field major, Ms. Kirkland is a sensational musician who has earned the respect and admiration of Huntington music teachers across the district.
The senior is considering the University of Rhode Island, Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, University of Maine, Bucknell University and SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry as the next stop on her educational journey.
Ms. Kirkland’s top choice is Rhode Island and if she gets accepted there she plans to double major in wildlife conservation and environmental studies. If not, she intends to pursue studies in animal sciences or animal behavior.
The teenager has been a mainstay in Huntington High School’s science research program. Ms. Kirkland is currently putting together her research project for this year.
“Basically, my project has two parts: first I’m going to have a control period where two rats are getting used to the environment I subject them to,” Ms. Kirkland explained. “Following that, I’m going to expose them to the Morris water maze experiment, which is a big pool of milky water with a podium in the middle. The point is to test spatial memory. The rats have to swim around, find the podium and memorize where it is in the pool based on a map of the pool they create for themselves. Then I’m going to expose one of them to 12 hours of light and 12 hours of darkness and the other one will be exposed to 24 hours of light. Then I will put them in the pool again. I’m going to compare the amount of time in seconds it takes each rat to find the podium (comparing the times from before experimental light patterns and after exposure).”
The project sounds like a lot of work and it is, but tough challenges are nothing new to Ms. Kirkland, who enjoys breaking new ground and thinking outside the box.
“Adina is a very inquisitive your lady who finds a deep passion in animal research,” said teacher Lori Kenny, who heads the high school’s science research program. “She inspires many other students with her passion for the sciences.”
(Huntington High School senior Nolan Piccola contributed reporting for this story. He is a science research program participant and intern with teacher Lori Kenny.)