My name is Hamsa Sridhar and I am currently a sophomore at Kings Park High School. I have pretty much traveled around the globe in my brief sixteen years of life.

I was born in India but I did not live there for more than ten months before my family decided to move to a nearby island situated below the Malaysian peninsula - Singapore. I studied there till third grade but I lack those childhood memories chiefly because when we made out next move to the Philippine Islands, the mover who was responsible for shifting our extra baggage (furniture, pictures, etc.) accidentally set a fire and everything burnt down. All I remember about Philippines was trying to learn the Filipino language for two years and failing quite miserably. Then we moved back to Singapore where I stayed till 6th grade.

I think Singapore is the first place where I actually developed an interest for math in 5th grade. I think that's pretty much because math was the only subject I seemed to be able to get good grades in. Anyway, our family shifted to the US after I completed 6th grade. The Singapore school year goes from January to December so we got here in the middle of the school year. Then, suddenly, my grandmother fell very ill and everyone except my father went to India to share in her last moments. We stayed there for about 5 months. When we returned to the US, I realized that I had practically missed an entire school year. No bad feelings there.

I went to 7th grade in Smithtown where I realized that school didn't always have to be so hard - especially compared to Singapore. I had lots of free time because I was just used to so much more work. I was especially good at math and I seemed to be able to pull off high scores in national competitions without effort. This obviously didn't last long because I wasn't really studying and we're all aware of ambitious students across the nation who are constantly trying to beat each other at these tests. When my next round of results came around, I was so disappointed that I decided to put my all into preparation. That wasn't too hard - all middle school kids learn is algebra. It obviously wasn't the same in high school. Even my parents and teachers get stumped at some of these. So, I've been trying hard now and I still am. For ecample, last summer, I went to the Ohio State University to pick up some number theory skills.

Other than math, I have been interested in biology, art, and law. Thanks to my general interest in science, I enrolled in the Independent Science Research Program at my high school. I did a project with fruit flies in 9th grade and I decided to do a similar one in 10th grade. However, thanks to certain custodians who refused to open the door to school, the flies all starved during our one-week break. To make things worse, my partner unknowingly decided to throw away all the vials because they were all dead and "too disgusting" instead of hoping for some of the larvae inside to hatch. I suppose it was partly my fault too in that I could've foreseen the issue of getting into school and taken a few back-up vials home. So that was that. I still needed a project and I needed one fast. A lot of people had suggested to me that I should be a good "physics person" because of my interest at math. Usually, it went through one ear and out the other, I'm sorry to say. But since I needed a project this time, I thought why not. I took AP Calculus this year and I figured I had a good enough background. My school had visited Stony brook and I had been part of a group that went to Dr. Noe's Laser Teaching Center. I had thought that all that optics stuff was pretty cool so I thought I'd do an optics project. I got in touch with Dr. Noe and he suggested that I come to the lab and work on an idea that he had about multiple reflections in a lamp that he'd picked up from the Curry Club. Little did I know that someone had already done the same project. Anyway, we finished that pretty fast and the results worked out! I actually managed to get a project done in time. So, here I am, still a sophomore hoping to be a junior soon, and that concludes my story.

Hamsa Sridhar
May 2006
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