For the first seven years of my life I lived in India, and for the first three I was raised by my grandparents and aunt as well as my parents. For elementary school I took a test to attend the National Public School, which was the de facto school for the children of those with deep pockets and deep influence, so it came as a shock to many when I, the child of a middle class family, made it into the school, based on the entrance exam alone.

Both of my parents, who were both engineers, were also both ambitious to find a better life for themselves as well as for me. So, in 2000 my father came to the United States of America, followed by my mother and me in 2001. We first lived in Newark, Delaware, where I attended the local elementary school, and then later moved to Wilmington, DE, for middle school and high school. However, in elementary school, one change that I noticed immediately was that students were not hit by teachers for insubordination.

But, simply being in elementary school with little in the way of homework, I found plenty of time to just have fun, however in my early days one of my favorite pastimes was art. I recall drawing everything that I saw on television, drawing people, drawing cars that I saw pass by, and then starting to just draw things as I dreamt of them. Everybody noticed that I had some sort of talent, and it got to the point where in the fifth grade other students would offer me compensation, as much as $10 a piece. However, as I grew, and my homework and interests grew, and my interest in art waned.

Then starting around sixth grade, by school requirements I began reading literature. While reading the books that were required by the school, I began exploring more advanced books, moving from Philip Pullman's Golden Compass to William Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream. By the end of middle school, I had read books ranging from 1984 by George Orwell, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte, and the Iliad by Homer. I found these three books particularly interesting, because they were real, they discussed real possibilities, realistic people and what they felt.

The foundation was laid for my interest in science in the sixth grade by the best science teacher I had in middle school. He was the first teacher that I knew of that challenged us to actually think why something works. For example, after a class on simple machines, he asked us to design a device that was made up of only simple machines, and asked us to explain how the device worked. The device I designed was a go-kart which used a pulley with a weight attached as a braking system, a piece of wood attached to a lever to create a door and of course wheels and axles for movement.

However, it was not until the summer after eighth grade that truly took an interest in science. One day sitting in the library, I picked up some science magazines and I was hooked instantly. So I began regularly reading Scientific American,Discover,etc. Then as I moved on to high school I joined the science olympiad team. In one of my events I built a clock that used no electricity or chemical reactions, while trying to maintain an accuracy of .1 seconds. Therefore, I designed a clock which used the flow of water to measure time. Unfortunately, I did not appropriately account for the change of the water's viscosity at different temperatures, so needless to say we did not do too well in that event, of course it would have helped if my little sister had not broken it the night before the competition, forcing me to rebuild the clock until 4 AM.

In high school I also took an interest in sports. I regularly play football with my father and friends, and basketball with my friends as well as competing in the 3 on 3 basketball tournament held annually at our school.

Right now I am going to be a senior at the Charter School of Wilmington in Wilmington, Delaware. After learning the basics of optics from The Feynman Lectures on Physics, I have read many papers regarding various optics topics including zone plates, Bessel beams, and gradient refractive indices. I hope to conduct exciting research here at the Laser Teaching Center with Dr. John Noe and learn more about optics.