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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., July 27, 2016—Local resident and 2016 high school graduate, Chelsey Skeete, won a gold medal at the National Afro-Academic Cultural Technological Science Olympics (ACT-SO). The NAACP’s Afro-Academic, Cultural, Technological and Scientific Olympics is a yearlong achievement program designed to recruit, stimulate, and encourage high academic and cultural achievement among African-American high school students. Skeete was recognized for her molecular-microbiology project titled “A Prevotella intermedia genome library to identify hemolysin genes” that was performed at the Forsyth Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Susan Rittling, under the mentorship of Dr. Christopher Johnston.

For the past three years, the Boston Latin Academy graduate, has participated in the Forsyth Institute’s Educational Outreach Program, EOP. Students enrolled in the program, spend the summer working in the research laboratories at Forsyth. The Forsyth has run the program for twenty-four years, which provides local Boston-area high school students with a paid internship and the opportunity to work with individual research mentors. Forsyth’s program is unique in that the research carried out by high school students is directly related to their mentor’s research. In the past some of the student interns have been named co-authors in scientific papers published on the subject of the research they conducted.

Skeete has won multiple science prizes for her work including: a gold medal from the 2015 Local Afro- ACT-SO; a silver medal from the 2015 National ACT-SO held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; a gold medal from the 2016 Local ACT-SO; a platinum award at the 2016 Boston Regional Science Fair in the senior division; and a first place award at the 2016 Massachusetts State Science and Engineering Far held at MIT. She was also a Massachusetts delegate and finalist at the 2016 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair held in Phoenix, Arizona. She will attend Boston College in the fall.

“The Forsyth EOP has opened so many opportunities for me during my high school career,” said Skeete. “However, no award could ever top the feeling of working in the lab alongside so many brilliant scientists. I am so grateful to my mentors Dr. Christopher Johnston and Dr. Susan Rittling for all of their training and support. I would also like to thank our program director, Dr. Martin Taubman and our sponsors for making this program possible every year.”