Derya Tansel spent the last two summers doing research at Florida International University. One reason for her nomination probably is that she spent the past two summers researching how the Gulf oil spill affected sea life.
They tested the effects on shells, mangroves and seaweed.
“The oil did create a kind of coating around the organisms,” she said. “Those had potentially harmful effects.”
Both of her parents work at FIU and she asked if she could work in one of their labs.
“They set me up with a graduate student,” she said.
At school, Tansel is the senior secretary of the National Honor Society, president of Mu Alpha Theta and the International Baccalaureate Honor Society, and treasurer of Art Club.
“I don’t do art. I just doodle,” she said. “It’s the first year of the club and I know the president and she offered me treasurer. She knows I’m good at math.”
The Art Club has been active. They have already completed a mural of the famous Vincent Van Gough painting Starry Night on one of the walls at school near one of the patios. Next up is a mosaic.
“It has inspirational sayings,” she says. “We took a couple of pictures and put them together and we had club members draw it on the wall.”
With Mu Alpha Theta, the math club, Tansel goes to competitions.
“I’ve been to almost every one of them so far,” she said, adding that while she doesn’t win, she believes she does well because she usually ends up in the top third percentile. “We don’t practice. It’s mostly selfstudying for our school.”
Tansel plans to major in engineering in college. She has been offered a full ride to FIU and has been accepted by the University of Miami, University of Florida, University of Central Florida and Georgia Tech. She’s waiting to hear from a few more schools, including MIT.
— Linda Rodriguez Bernfeld