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A Conversation with Lucca Forrest, 2023 Regeneron Scholar

 headshot of Lucca Forrest, in Library On January 10, Lucca Forrest, a senior at Hastings High School, was named a Scholar in this year's Regeneron Science Talent Search, the nation’s oldest and most prestigious science and math competition.


Chosen for his groundbreaking examination of the relationship between economics and political stability using advanced regression and volatility analysis, Lucca is one of 300 scholars from a pool of 1,949 applicants, representing 627 high schools across 48 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and four other nations. In recognition of the honor, Forrest was awarded a $2,000 prize and Hastings High School also received $2,000 for the advancement of STEM-related activities. Later this month, 40 students will be selected from the 300 winning scholars to compete for a grand prize of $250,000.  


The district's Communications Consultant Jackie Saviano recently sat down with Forrest to learn more about his research project, inspiration, and future plans. Check out the exchange below. 


How did you learn about Regeneron’s Science Talent Search (STS)? What was the application process like?


I learned about the STS in Ms. Shandroff’s two-year Science Research class. As part of the program, we all had to choose an original research project, plan and design it. Ms. Shandroff coached us along the way. Once I completed my research paper and I had concrete data, I decided to apply. 


Essentially, the application process involved a series of short essay questions where I had to explain the results of my project. I had to submit my original paper (the maximum pages are 20 for applicants), recommendations, transcripts and test scores, which were optional. 


Who runs the Regeneron Science Talent Search?


Society for Science (the Society) is a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C. The Society has run the Science Talent Search for decades, including the application process, judging, finalist week, processing of awards, and alumni management. The Society works actively with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., the sponsor for the program since 2016.


Your project is titled A Quantitative Regression and Volatility Analysis of the Relationship Between Economics and Political Stability. Can you explain this in simple terms for our community? 


The best way to explain is through my abstract.


Note: An abstract is a short statement about a paper that gives readers a complete, yet concise, understanding of the research and findings. 


Click here to read Forrest's abstract.

What inspired you to focus your project on this topic?


My mother is an immigrant from the Czech Republic. I was doing some research on Czech history, and I learned about the Velvet Revolution (1989). I saw that the revolution was largely caused by an economic downturn, resulting in political instability. This sparked the question: How are economics and political stability connected on a global scale?


Do you have any advice for students who are interested in the STS?


To gain the most value out of the process, choose a topic for your project that you’re passionate about exploring further.


What are your plans after high school? 


I plan on going to college and studying economics or finance. I want to continue to use the same models I used for this project in my future studies.


If you could have a conversation with a scientist, alive or deceased, who would it be? 


Neal deGrasse Tyson. He’s an astrophysicist most famous for popularizing science with books like The Pluto Files (2009) and through his frequent appearances on television as a talk show guest or hosting his series about science, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey (2014). Yes, he is a scientist, but I am more impressed by his ability to educate others in innovative ways.