Smithtown High School West’s Best Graduating, The Sky’s the Limit
As summer months roll in, students at Smithtown High School West set their sights on graduation and, not long after, college. Tyler Nagosky, a senior, prepares for his upcoming graduation speech, reflecting upon the hurdles, success, and overarching growth.
The 17-year-old Stony Brook commit spoke to the Smithtown Chronicle about some of his decisions and how they led him to where he is today.
“The pandemic made it a lot harder to ask for help,” said Mr. Nagosky. “We had to find different ways to collaborate, so we would set up Zoom meetings, and we had to email each other and text each other a lot more frequently. I feel I’ve always been an individual person, or I wouldn’t rather work in groups. I think the pandemic taught me how to do that and overcome.”
Students across the globe were pressured during the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to maintain social connectivity, although now through an alternative medium–the digital sphere. Mr. Nagosky said it offered a chance to become more creative in collaborating with other students. Still, the pandemic was a relatively small feat for Smithtown High School West’s Honor Society president.
Around this time last year, Mr. Nagosky was approached by one of his teachers with an article from the New York Times. The report detailed the deadly toxin, BMAA, affecting the Canadian population. He said he “eventually started studying this toxin, trying to understand why it could be toxic to humans.” Mr. Nagosky worked in the high school’s laboratory to gain a better grasp of the toxin.
He then applied his knowledge and resourcefulness to the New York State Science and Engineering Fair. There, he received honorary merits for first in the animal sciences category. His prestige allowed him to attend the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair and obtain research grants.
“I really wanted to become a veterinarian. I knew there were a couple of pathways, but the two main pathways are either being a biology major or being an animal science major,” said Mr. Nagosky, who plans to study biology as an undergrad. In his sophomore year, he took AP biology and said it captured his interest. “Not only did I want to become a veterinarian, but I learned that I really like biology,” said Mr. Nagosky.
He went on to talk about some of his experiences in the veterinarian field. “I had one golden retriever a couple of years ago, and I really liked him,” said Mr. Nagosky. “I would always watch this YouTube channel called ‘Vet Ranch’” where they cared for broken legs, tumors, and other ailments in dogs and other animals.
He has also dived into researching autism and training social awareness. He started working with Arduino, a coding platform with different modules to build. Mr. Nagosky eventually created a device that would sense when the autistic individual approached another person. It would give a “little buzz” whenever the individual interfered in another’s social space.
Mr. Tyler Nagosky has the sky as the limit as an academic, researcher, and gentleman. The young man is only 17 and has already researched deadly toxins, obtained grants for studies, and coded a device to help assist autistic children in navigating social spaces. The graduating senior is symbolic of Theodore Roosevelt's statement, “Do what you can with what you have, where you are.” He used his resources to the fullest and will soon become a promising student at Stony Brook University to graduate in 2026.