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Robert Kastner

Basking Ridge, NJ

Ridge High School

Grade: Senior


Volleyball, basketball, unicycling, cubing, juggling, playing instruments, singing


A Cappella Choir, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Marching Band, Varsity Volleyball Team, Drama Club and lead roles in school musicals, Science League, NJ Physics Olympics Team, NJ Science League


Presidential Scholar, 1st Place in NJ Science League, 2nd Place in Physics Bowl, 1st Place in NJ Physics Olympics, AIME qualifier, National Merit Scholar, National Honor Society, AP Scholar with distinction, Raoul Wallenberg Award, Rotary Club Award, Rising Star Award - Papermill Playhouse (off-Broadway), All State Chorus, Regional Orchestra, Regional Chorus, National Anthem singer for minor league baseball games and other events


In third grade, I entered the National Science Teachers' Association/Craftsmen Tools Young Inventors Contest. I was selected as one of the 36 winners out of 3400 entries. I was also awarded the Scientific American Award for Outstanding Achievement in Education. Ever since then, I have been involved in science camps and independent research. This past summer, I was an intern at the Astrophysics Institute. At the Institute, I began to see how mathematics serves as its own language between scientists. Math can link quantities together in a way that words fail to. When I learn math and science in and out of school, I am not satisfied with learning just enough to get an A+ on the test. I try to figure out how to apply some of the concepts I learn to improve on things. Innovation and invention are a key part of my life.

As a volunteer, I also tutor a lot of people in my school especially in math and science. Often students seek my help because I am patient and also have a talent for uncovering what part of a concept a person does not understand. I have most likely acquired these skills through years of tutoring my mentally and physically disabled brother.

Music and performance are also a very important part of my life. For the last four years I have been singing with an opera company and have performed at such venues as the Gilbert and Sullivan Society in NYC. I also play many instruments including the bassoon, clarinet, and baritone/tenor saxophone. I have played or sung at such professional venues as Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, and NJ Performing Arts Center, and have been in an off-Broadway show. I have been employed as well as volunteer off stage as a lighting and sound engineer and stage manager.

I am really excited to be part of the US Physics Team and to work with people that share some of my interests. I thank my physics teachers at my high school, Mr. Michael Gilmore and Dr. Robert Cherdack, for mentoring me.

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