“I fell in love with anthropology during freshman year” at Calhoun, she said. “I was a science kid, and I love social studies. I liked history. I liked decoding the past.”
For her research project, McNamara said, she wanted to study macaques because they are the most widespread of primates –– beside humans –– and the most biologically diverse, with 19 species found in Asia, Afghanistan, Japan, the Philippines and Borneo. Examples include the rhesus macaque and the Japanese macaque, or snow monkey.
Females with large, exaggerated canine teeth, McNamara found, tend to be “highly competitive” for food, territory and mates. She studied females, she said, because she wanted to better understand why –– and how –– they dominate the social hierarchy of their troops.
McNamara’s advisers at Calhoun include Kimberlie Lascarides, Jennifer Pefanis and Nick Pappas. McNamara’s project “is a true indication of her passion and her love of science,” Pappas said. “It’s truly something she loves. That’s what we preach. We always tell the kids, ‘Find something you love doing,’ and that’s what she did.”
In addition to science research, McNamara is secretary general of Calhoun’s Model United Nations, which will present political position papers at a conference with other Model U.N. clubs in New York City in March. She tutors her fellow students in math and chemistry, plays the clarinet in the Calhoun band and gives private music lessons to elementary school children, and is a member of the national, math, science, French and Tri-M music honor societies.
McNamara said she hopes to attend Brown, NYU or Boston University next fall.Joshua Pollock
Kennedy High School
No doubt, Authentic Science Research students face their share of challenges along the way to completing their senior theses. Research is conducted over two years, and with such a long time horizon, things don’t always go as planned. But Pollock, 17, of south Merrick, never could have anticipated the string of hardships he had to overcome in the final weeks of assembling his paper for submission to the Intel competition.