2017 Duke GALS North Carolina Alumnae

Group PictureFrom left to right: Emily L (instructor), Destoni, Zyrehia, Rose, Briyete, Marwa, Jackie (instructor), Daiana, Savannah, Samantha, Alice (instructor)

Samantha Cardenas

Samantha joined Duke GALS NC after her sophomore year at Charlotte Country Day School. Originally from New York, she now lives in Charlotte. Samantha’s favorite part about science is anything related to medicine. She plays volleyball and is a captain of her team. During GALS, Samantha couldn’t believe how good the backcountry food (even canned chicken!) tasted.

Samantha’s GALS Research Question: How does contaminated stream water differ from non-contaminated stream water chemically?


Destoni Carter

Destoni participated in Duke GALS NC the summer before her junior year at Garner High School. Originally from Virginia, she now lives in Raleigh. Destoni’s favorite part about science is animal behavior. She is always ready for a new adventure. Her risk-taking spirit was best exemplified when she screamed “YOLO” and then belly-flopped into a stream.

Destoni’s GALS Research Question: Are snails more active in the daylight or night? Where are they most active–on trees, dead leaves, live green leaves, rocks, or organic matter?


Rose DeConto

Rose became part of the Duke GALS NC family after her sophomore year at Durham School of the Arts. Halloween is her favorite holiday. She enjoys listening to and playing creepy alt rock. During GALS, Rose could always be found making small fairy houses out of leaves, twigs, and moss. She remembers being at the campsite on top of that mountain and overlooking dozens of valleys. She says it was a view difficult to describe, and pictures don’t do it justice

Rose’s GALS Research Question: Is there a difference in fungal biodiversity between trails and campsites?


img_0085.jpgBriyete Garcia-Diaz

Briyete did Duke GALS NC the summer before her junior year at Kings Mountain High School. She lives in Kings Mountain. Briyete’s favorite part about science is learning about animals. She loves to be adventurous and to try new things. During GALS, Briyete took every opportunity to sit peacefully by the stream and reflect – though when it came time for hiking, she was always ready to trudge

Briyete’s GALS Research Question: What types of tree species are near streams vs. not near streams?


Marwa Hassan

Marwa had her Duke GALS NC experience the summer after her junior year at Riverside High School. She likes to watch movies and TV shows and relax with her cats. Her favorite memory from Duke GALS NC was when we played psychiatrist and when we all hung out and played games

Marwa’s GALS Research Question: How does water quality affect the number of indicator species in an area of water? (Indicator species are organisms that are extremely sensitive to changes in water quality and can only survive in clean water.)


Daiana Mendoza

Daiana participated in Duke GALS NC the summer before her sophomore year at Harnett Central High School, located in Angier, NC. She enjoys spending her time reading and hanging out with my friends. She’s a very social person, and she loves meeting new people and talking to everyone. On this GALS trip, she enjoyed the fact that our small group quickly got close to each other, and we enjoyed the experience very much. We became our own little family.

Daiana’s GALS Research Question: Based on temperature and location, which soil is most sustainable for plant life, and which soil has the best consistency and is in the healthiest state?


Savannah Midgette

Savannah came to Duke GALS NC as a rising senior at Manteo High School. Originally from Florida, she now lives in Manteo. Savannah’s favorite subject in science is animal behavior. In addition to her science skills, she also loves to cook. During Duke GALS NC, Savannah could always be found trying new things, including licking a few slugs that made her tongue go numb

Savannah’s GALS Research Question: What is the difference in abundance of moss, lichen, and fungi in deciduous trees?


Zyrehia PolkIMG_1796

Zyrehia joined Duke GALS NC after her sophomore year at East Mecklenburg High School. She lives in Charlotte. Zyrehia’s favorite part about science is conducting experiments. In her free time, she has covered all her walls with fashion bags and made it into a memorial to her memories. During Duke GALS NC, Zyrehia was always making us laugh and cheering everyone on.

Zyrehia’s GALS Research Question: How does the location affect the amount of roots in the soil?