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MHS student selected to participate in MIT program

MARIANAS High School student Ian Rei Magno Cataluna was selected to participate in an engineering outreach program hosted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Of 2,100 students who applied from across the U.S., only 100 were accepted to the Online Science, Technology and Engineering Community or MOSTEC program.

The program started in June and will end in January next year.

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Ian Cataluna at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Contributed photo

Last summer, as part of the program, he took two online courses: science writing and astrophysics.

“The science writing course helped me write articles that can explain scientific subjects to someone who may not be familiar with them. Basically, we were taught to express something  complicated in a way that can be understood by the people,” Cataluna said.

“Then I went to MIT for one week to present my project which was based on research,” he added.

He said MIT is also helping the program participants with the college-application process.

During his stay at  MIT, Cataluna said he and the other participants met with professionals and academics. “We had a college fair. We had people from Princeton, Harvard, Stanford and other universities who explained to us the college process.”

Cataluna was supposed to go to Bethesda, Maryland to present his project for the Short-Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons or STEP-UP in August, but he chose  to participate in the MIT program instead.

“The MOSTEC program is very competitive as there is only a 5-percent acceptance rate,” he added.

Cataluna said he was fortunate to be selected  because it expanded his knowledge. “For a long time I  wanted to be a doctor, but when I attended the astrophysics class, I was exposed to other areas of science that I had never learned about before.”

Cataluna said he is now interested in astronomy. “That’s another career I am considering,” he added.