Nativity BVM student attends honors-only science program

No matter the experiment, Michael Durant, 16, said science is always intriguing.

“It is exciting because sometimes you think you know what the results are going to be, then it comes out completely different,” Durant said last week.

Last month, Durant joined other high school students throughout the country at the annual Congress of Future Science and Technology Leaders last month in Lowell, Massachusetts. Durant, Port Carbon, was the first student from Nativity BVM High School to attend. He also received a congratulatory letter from Gov. Tom Wolf.

The honors-only program is for high school students who are passionate about science, technology, engineering or mathematics with the purpose of honoring, inspiring, motivating and directing them on their path of becoming scientists and technologists, according to an event press release. The 2017 event was held June 29, 30 and July 1.

“Kids my age are going to be the people making these discoveries and breakthroughs in the future,” Durant said last week.

Durant was nominated to attend the event by Dr. John C. Mather, winner of the Nobel Prize in Physics and Science Director of the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, to represent his school based on his academic achievement, leadership potential, and passion for science and technology.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all, then I read into it and thought it would be interesting to go and meet all these people who are helping the world,” Durant said.

During the three-day event, Durant heard Nobel laureates and National Medal of Science recipients talk about scientific research and the advances and future of science and technology. Some of the speakers made breakthroughs as teenagers, such as Jack Andraka, who created a new diagnostic test for pancreatic cancer research at the age of 15 in 2012.

Durant had the opportunity to meet and chat with Mather at the congress along with the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists Executive Director Richard Rossi. He said he will never forget one of the things that Rossi told the high school students.

“You have to embrace failure,” Durant said. “You might not get the results you wanted, but that does not mean it is an end. There is always something you can work back from.”

Entering his junior year at Nativity BVM High School, Durant said he is still looking at colleges as he considers a career in engineering or cybersecurity.

“This is a crucial time in America when we need more nimble-minded and creative scientists and technologists who are even better prepared for a future that is changing exponentially,” Rossi said in a prepared statement. “Focused, bright and determined students like Michael Durant are our future and he deserves all the mentoring and guidance we can give him.”

For more information about the National Academy of Future Scientists and Technologists, visit