2002-01-26 / Columnists

Chatting With Chapey

by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey


Congratulations to Adam David Kapelner on his being selected as an Intel Semi Finalist winner. The Intel Scholars are chosen from a highly competitive nationwide pool of high school scholars. It is the high school equivalent of the Nobel Prize. I am pleased that I had the pleasure of interviewing this bright young man.

Adam is an outstanding student at Midwood High School, which has an excellent program for preparing scholars and leaders. Adam notes that he has been motivated and challenged by his academic pursuits at Midwood. (Adam achieved a nearly perfect score on his Mathematics Scholastic Aptitude Test--790 out of 800!!!)

Adam has completed many rigorous Advanced Placement courses at Midwood, including Computer A, Calculus BC, Computer AB, Statistics and Physics. Adam was very instrumental in starting a very demanding Physics C program at Midwood. Since it had never been offered before, Adam organized a group of his peers and registered 33 students for the class. He and his peers lobbied the principal and the faculty to start the program. He pointed out during our conversation that he was very enthusiastic about the Physics C program because it opened an avenue to superior academic progress. If a student achieves a 5 in the course, it will serve as a golden ticket to open many exciting academic opportunities, which would not otherwise be available.

His success with lobbying for the course, having it offered and bringing it to fruition proves that he is a very capable and energetic leader of his peers. This shows that in addition to his academic and scholarly achievements he has superior and sophisticated socialization skills. Adam reported that over ninety percent of the students at Midwood who took the Physics C sequence achieved a grade of 90 or above. Midwood High School is an excellent training ground for our brightest students.

The title of Adam's Intel winning project is "Brain Activity Due To Intravenous Secretin Infusion And Its Pharmacological Value In The Treatment Of Autism". His interest in this topic was prompted by his volunteer work in the Neuroscience Lab at Downstate. He studied under a mentor and read her recent publications in gut science. This sparked his interest in brain research and prompted his noteworthy research project. His current focus is on the neuro-scientific, biochemical, and physiological aspects of brain activity.

He anticipates that his research may be significant in the clinical arena as well.

Adam is a true son of Queens County. He was born here. He lives with his parents, Stephen and Ilene (Grossman) Kapelner and his two younger sisters--Marla and Robyn. Marla is also a student at Midwood and Robyn goes to the Leon M. Goldstein High School at Kingsborough. His father is a medical doctor at Downstate with a specialization in Hematology. His mother has a master's degree and is a dietician by profession. Academic achievement and outstanding scholarships were core values in this family.

Adam credits his family for inspiring his love of learning. He told me about a research study conducted in Switzerland (which has the highest per capita income of any industrialized country), which found that Swiss children would rather spend time with their parents on Saturday night than hanging out with their peers. He notes that this substantiates the importance of the role of the family in the formation of its members.

Adam also attributed his success to the excellent academic program at
Midwood and to the dedicated faculty, administrators, and staff who extend themselves in order to further the educational goals of each student.
Congratulations also goes to Midwood's outstanding academic leader and its principal.

Kudos to Adam David Kapelner and his family. I am sure that we will be hearing of his many future successes in his chosen field of engineering with a minor in neuroscience. Caltech in Pasadena California is his chosen College. Good Luck.

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