Hello! My name is Alex Kelser and I am a rising senior at Summit High School in Summit, New Jersey. Summit is a bustling suburb of New York City, which I have called home all of my life. It is just big enough to hold my three younger brothers and me.

My interest in science is something that has been kindled over many years, and by many people. I am very fortunate to have had a series of devoted and engaging science teachers in high school, who have further inspired me to go down this path. However, above all, my experiences with my grandfather are what instilled in me a passion for unraveling the mysteries of the physical world.

My grandfather, who worked for thirty years as a distinguished physical-chemist at Bell-Labs, has always been my scientific idol. Over the many summers I have spent with him, he has taught me everything from the Pythagorean theorem to quantum mechanics. The first scientific experience I remember sharing with him was over the summer my brothers and I endeavored to build a tree house. My grandfather introduced me to some of the seven simple machines, which opened my eyes to the true power of science. As a young boy, I remember being fascinated by these ways that we could exponentially increase our own physical capabilities. As I have grown older, I have come to appreciate more and more the ingenuity of his work. Ultimately, my grandfather, through his teaching and kindness, has imparted a love of science to me.

My first project major endeavor in science was a project I conducted my sophomore year, dealing with the thermo-optic constant of Pyrex glass. I worked with a mentor, Dr. Benjamin Greene- who would become another major scientific influence- to design an optical technique whereby I used interference patterns from a laser to measure the expansion of new and old Pyrex pieces. This experiment confirmed the theory that there had been a change in the formula of Pyrex glass, presumably from a borosilicate-based composition to sodium silicate. I really enjoyed conducting this experiment because it was the first time I had ever reached a scientifically important conclusion on my own.

This past year, I built a thermo-mechanical IR detector as my project for science research class. Although a little Rube Goldberg in nature, the device worked well and the tinkering process taught me invaluable skills.

Outside of school, I spend most of my time practicing the French Horn. Currently, I am in the Juilliard Pre-College Program in New York City, which meets every Saturday during the year. This program has completely transformed my understanding of music. I remember that when I first started at Pre-College my sophomore year, I felt humbled by the musicality and talent level of my peers. However, it was mainly from hearing these peers that I was inspired to practice more intensely than I ever had. For this reason, I am greatly indebted to them- and to a very dedicated teacher, for showing me what music can be.

I am looking forward to a great summer and I hope to see you around!