My name is Diego Suchenski Loustaunau and I am a junior at Mass Academy. I live in Worcester! I was born in Davenport, IA and moved to Holden, MA when I was 3. I only lived in Holden for about a year before I moved to Worcester, where I have lived ever since! I have a twin sister named Luci who goes to Doherty High School, in Worcester. My dad is a Spanish professor here in Worcester and my mom works at a nonprofit. I am grateful for my parents do for me, and how they are constantly expanding my horizons.
Below are pictures of my sister and me when we were babies, on the first day of 7th grade, on the first day of junior year, and a picture of me from earlier this year.
For 9th and 10th grade, I attended South High Community School where I was a part of the Goddard Scholars program – a middle and high school program for academically advanced students in Worcester. While I was at South I participated in Math Team, Science Olympiad, peer tutoring, and tennis. I really enjoyed all of these and the unique opportunities I had through these activities.
Below are pictures of the math team shirts I designed for the team, and the Science Olympiad Team at Harvard University and Brown University during my freshman year.
At my sending school I was on the tennis team, and I played singles and doubles (I think between all my matches I ended up playing 2nd singles, 3rd singles, 1st doubles, and 2nd doubles at least once). Tennis was my favorite part of school during the Spring of sophomore year and let me have a nice distraction from classes and AP prep. I improved a lot during the season, and I still play on the weekends.
My favorite extracurricular at my sending school was Science Olympiad. In Science Olympiad, I competed in various events against students from across the country – from as close as Massachusetts to as far as Hawaii! The events I competed in were Protein Modeling, Disease Detectives, Chemistry Lab, and Write It CAD It. Each of these events required a very different skillset and approach. My favorite event of these was by far Protein Modeling. This event ignited my passion for biochemistry, and I feel as though I owe a lot of subsequent opportunities to this passion. My sophomore year I placed 4th in Protein Modeling in Massachusetts and 5th in Write It CAD It!
The summer between my freshman and sophomore year (August 2020) I participated in the Biogen-MIT Biotech in Action: Virtual Summer Lab program. I learned a lot about the field of biotechnology, as well as advances in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. I had the opportunity to hear from scientists at Biogen and MIT and gained greater appreciation for the field. Even though the program was online, I was able to participate in labs via Labster!
I was fortunate enough last summer (June 2021 – July 2021) to attend the (virtual) High School Health Careers Program (HSHCP) at UMass Chan Medical School. I took classes focusing on SAT math prep, English, Biomedical Science, and presentation skills. Additionally, there were daily Q&A sessions/presentations with doctors and other scientists at UMass Medical to learn more about the health sciences. At the end of the 4 weeks, I worked in a team with 2 other students to present a health disparity project on prognosis of breast cancer in Hispanic women vs. the general population of Massachusetts. We won 1st place in the HSHCP competition for this project! On the right is a picture from the end of program gathering.
My most meaningful ongoing activity is assisting in a research lab at UMass Chan Medical School, which I have done virtually since May 2021. I have gained a lot of experience using computer software for applications in biochemistry and drug design. Additionally, I have become much better at interpreting scientific literature and critical thinking, all while exploring new areas of science. I am completing my STEM 1 project in the lab.
Iridium Tutoring is a 501(c)(3) non-profit tutoring organization where I volunteered this past school year. I primarily tutored AP Chemistry and helped students prepare for the AP exam. I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to work with students from across the country and helping them understand subjects I am passionate about. I plan to continue tutoring with Iridium next year.
Rising Stars Initiative is a tutoring program based at Mass Academy where juniors and seniors tutor students at Abby Kelley Foster Charter School in Worcester, MA. I tutored primarily math and helped students better their understanding of the curriculum. I will be Co-President of RSI for the 2022-2023 academic year and I am excited to get started! Being from Worcester myself I am aware of the need that exists in the community and I hope RSI is able to make a difference in more and more students' lives.
Worcester Refugee Assistance Project (WRAP) is an afterschool program for child refugees in Worcester, most of whom have come from Myanmar or Afghanistan. A group of us from Mass Academy go every Monday night. We play games like hide-and-seek (pictured to the right) and have lots of fun. I will be volunteering at WRAP over the summer, as well as next school year. Every week I look forward to going to WRAP and I'm excited to be continuing!