Tell us about your academic interests. What subjects / topics are you most excited by?
My favorite area of study is physics. At the high school level it is the basis for my love of engineering. I get excited about solving new and complex problems and figuring out specifically how and why mechanical systems work the way they do. My friends and I try to come up with complicated problems to see if we can solve them together. I think this collaborative thinking will be key to solving complex world problems in the future so it is great practice and a lot more fun than thinking alone.
What sparked your initial interest in STEM?
I have always enjoyed STEM as far back as my memory can take me! My early STEM interest was sparked as I watched my dad constantly build cool functional gadgets around the house. He has definitely ignited my passion for engineering.
Who has influenced you or encouraged you the most so far?
I have been fortunate to have so many adult and fellow student mentors willing to push me to think ‘bigger and better’ and to help me achieve new goals. My parents have encouraged me in all of my challenges.
What prompted you to apply to the HRP program? What are you most interested in seeing / doing while on board the ship?
I first heard about OET and the honors research program at a Chicago area Boy Scout STEM fair where I was demonstrating our FIRST® Robotics team’s robot. Dr. Ballard was the keynote speaker. His talk really inspired me to think about new ways to use robots for exploration. I have been following the program ever since, waiting until I was old enough to apply. While I am aboard the Nautilus, I look forward to learning more about marine biology, underwater acoustics, and geology but I also hope I might have the opportunity to operate one of the ROVs (under supervision of course)!
Have you recieved any special awards or certifications?
I became an Eagle Scout at age 13 and have continued to be involved at the local and national level in a leadership role since then, most recently as the Senior Patrol Leader for the National Youth Leadership Training. I have also won first place awards in several of the Science Olympiad, FIRST® Robotics, and Shotokan Karate Championships at the state and national levels and was a MATE ROV local judge. I have received various STEM awards. I was inducted into the National Honor Society (NHS) this past year. I am also a PADI certified diver.
What are your hobbies? What do you do for fun?
I am an avid musician. I play the oboe, saxophone, and classical guitar but also like to mess around with the banjo, ukulele, flute, and hand made didgeridoo. In my free time I love to build machines of all kinds especially if computer programming is involved! I love to read, woodcarve, draw, weld, camp, sail, and stay physically fit with my martial arts.
What advice would you give to younger students who are interested in pursuing STEM opportunities?
I currently teach robotics to younger kids because if they don’t get exposed to STEM early, they’ll never know the great fun they are missing. I learned this through experience when I tried to recruit high school students to my community robotics team. My advice is to keep pursuing your passion and find other people that share that passion.
What is a favorite quote or a quote that inspires you?
My favorite quote is by William Arthur Ward: “The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.”
What would your dream job be?
My dream job is to be on an R&D team that designs, builds, and programs robots for applications that make a real impact on how people live, work, and play. I love building machines and seeing my designs come to life.