Students Published in International Youth Neuroscience Journal
Posted on 11/10/2023
In a remarkable display of determination and scholarly excellence, St. Thomas Aquinas High School students, Nicholas Tonzola III and Marissa Nieves, from the class of 2024, have made headlines by having their groundbreaking research published in the International Youth Neuroscience Journal.

Nicholas and Marissa embarked on an ambitious research project titled "A View on Correlatives for Dementia Knowledge: A High School Survey" in the fall of 2022. Their motivation to explore this topic stemmed from personal experiences with dementia, and a shared belief that public knowledge about dementia was lacking, leading to stigmatization.

The project evolved into an interdisciplinary venture, involving the fields of neuroscience, psychology, and social sciences. They conducted a comprehensive survey that garnered responses from 373 individuals, including students, faculty, and staff at St. Thomas Aquinas High School.

The research journey involved an extensive period of data analysis, culminating in the discovery that knowing someone with dementia significantly improved survey accuracy. Moreover, age was found to be a significant factor in certain questions.

Despite facing several challenges, including limited experience in research paper writing and statistical analysis, Nicholas and Marissa persevered and successfully overcame these obstacles. Their dedication to learning and growth was a testament to their commitment to their project.

To secure publication, the students diligently researched journals within their subject area that accepted high school students' contributions. After applying to several journals and making necessary formatting adjustments, they received acceptance from The Journal of the International Youth Neuroscience Association, where their work has been published in the November 2023 edition.

Faculty advisor Mr. Paul Nolan commented on Nicholas and Marissa’s achievement: “This informative work is the culmination of scholarship utilizing decision-making and problem-solving skills with an indomitable work ethic. Their enthusiasm and unflinching interest in the subject was most enjoyable to watch.” 

The project's journey is far from over, as Nicholas and Marissa are in the process of creating a video component featuring interviews with experts in the field of dementia. The dedication and hard work invested in this project, spanning well over 100 hours across several months, underscore the students' passion for raising awareness about dementia.

St. Thomas Aquinas High School applauds Nicholas Tonzola III and Marissa Nieves for their remarkable achievement and dedication to advancing our understanding of dementia. Their journey serves as an inspiration to all aspiring young researchers.