Extracurricular activities/community involvements:
Arts and crafts--sculpture, drawing (pencil and ink), acrylic painting
Aikido Club member (a club/course for the study of this form of Japanese martial art)--I practice about 3-4 hours a week
Website authoring (my website: at http://members.tripod.com/~Cautagen)--I work on my website about 2-4 hours a week, and will soon request to make it a Science and Math student website.
Jogging (non-varsity)--about 2 hours a week
Weightlifting (non-varsity)--about 1-2 hours a week
Swimming (non-varsity)--whenever I have access to a swimming pool. In summer--4-6 hours a week, in winter--about once a month.
Duracell Competition--this project involves building a device that either educates, entertains, or makes life easier in some way, that is run entirely on Duracell batteries. First place receives $20,000 in U.S. savings bonds. I work on my project about 2-5 hours a week (mostly on the weekends). This is a very electronics-intensive project; I have had to do lots of research and study on electronics to be able to do this project.
Computer Programming (Java, C++, HTML)--fluent in HTML, okay in Java, learning C++
Ice Skating (non-varsity)--whenever I have access to an ice-skating rink, about once every two months
Managing aquariums--this involves taking care of large freshwater aquariums (10-40 gallon aquariums), doing research on water quality, and monitoring the condition of the aquariums to maintain optimum conditions for fish breeding.
Horticulture/Landscaping--I help my dad plan our land usage as far as plants are concerned. I identify problems with runoff in our yard, and suggest types of plants that will grow in our type of soil and degree of sunlight.
Writing--I have been working on a novel now for about five years, entitled The Symbol of Change. It is a fictional autobiography, which uses some of my experiences combined with fictional characters and places to investigate one of the greatest questions (one that I have wondered about many times)--what is the purpose of life and the nature of reality? This is such a big topic that no wonder itís taken me five years to write 128 pages, and the novelís still not finished.
Interests (in no particular order):
Astronomy--stargazing, reading about new discoveries on extrasolar planets, possible black holes, and theories on how the universe came to its present state
Biology--genetics, molecular biology, biological research in all fields, evolution
Physics--quantum physics, theoretical physics (if I ever learn the math), electromagnetics, electronics, particle physics. . .any kind of physics and just about anything that involves the study of motion, matter, and energy and how they act in the universe
Computers--programming, reading about the latest developments in computers
Computer-generated 3-D graphics--I currently donít have any graphics software, but whenever I get a new computer (hopefully soon), I hope to buy some software and teach myself how to render regular images, 3-D images, and create video using computers. Also, I have an interest in "genetic art," a relatively new form of art that involves using a program that simulates "natural selection" of images by randomly generating images, discarding those that donít have certain "adaptations" to the selective forces (color, style, shape), and "breeding" two pictures together to form a third with certain traits from its "parent" images.
I would also like to create a short movie someday that is made entirely from computer-generated graphics, and this I certainly plan to work on in college.
Music--I compose songs although I do not know how to read music; I have recorded about two tapes of music generated using computerized methods. I have a keyboard and an acoustic guitar and want to learn how to play both, and since last year, I have tried to teach myself how to play piano. I have participated in two talent shows during high school, one for my school and one on the regional level. Favorite kinds of music--classical, contemporary, nature, relaxational, soft rock. However, I own no CDs or cassettes, listen to very little radio, and donít have any favorite artists.
Art--I have an interest in geometric shapes. Last year for Special Projects Week (a week in March with no classes; for the purpose of doing a research project to be shared with the NCSSM community at the end of the week), I designed three-dimensional models of four-dimensional regular solids such as tetrahedra, cubes, and octahedra. I also found mathematical relationships between the number of sides and faces on two-dimensional regular polygons and three-dimensional regular solids to determine if any such relationships exist between 3-D solids and 4-D solids.
Culture--I am interested in how the different cultures on Earth came about and the ideas and customs that define many of the major cultures. This interest mostly came from my multicultural upbringing; my mom was Thai and had some Chinese ancestry, and I was introduced to different Asian cultures at an early age. My dad is African-American and has Cherokee and Irish ancestry, and has been to many parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia, Vietnam, Korea, Germany, Japan, Alaska, Los Angeles, Dallas, New York, Ohio, the Bahamas, London, and Thailand.
Sports--I have a great interest in Aikido and Tíai Chi; instead of encouraging one to compete with others, these forms of martial arts encourage the user to cooperate with others and to "compete" with oneself. To learn Aikido and Tíai Chi, I had to constantly exceed what I thought had been limits; before starting Aikido last year, I was mostly an uncoordinated, physically inept person who basically did weightlifting, jogging, and swimming. Both forms of martial arts are wonderful stress-relievers and help to increase my self-awareness and coordination.
1. Worked at the Fayetteville Animal Haven part-time during a third of the summer of 1997; helped to take care of dogs, cats, and their environment
2. Worked for Dr. Barry Goz in the UNC-CH Department of Pharmacology as a research apprentice this summer. My research involved determining the effects of the addition time of the fungal compound wortmannin on the death of cancerous Chinese hamster ovary cells that had been treated with the anticancer drug 5-fluoro-2í-deoxyuridine (FdUrd).
3. For Mentorship this year I am working for Dr. Robert Behringer in Dukeís Physics building. My research is in the area of nonlinear dynamics and chaos, and involves studying the forces present underneath a pile of sand or other granular material at varying distances from the center of the pile. The importance of this is because a theory for the physics of granular material motion is not known, and if one was known, then we could figure out how such things as sand dunes, grain in silos, erosion, planets, and stars are formed.
4. Next summer?
Other things to know about me:
1. My mom is deceased and my dad has been without a job since 1995. He is retired from the Army, so he therefore gets only a retirement check each month as our only source of income.
2. My old school before attending Science and Math was Westover Senior High, 277 Bonanza Drive, Fayetteville, NC 28303, (910) 864-0190.
3. My home address is in Fayetteville, NC.
4. My half-sister attended Princeton for her undergraduate years and then went on to Harvard Law School to obtain her JD degree. Afterwards, she decided that she hated law and, while still owing loan money, decided to join a cult in Washington, D.C., and this has been hard on my dad, who financed a good portion of her education.
5. Hopefully, I will be the first person in my family to earn a Ph.D.
6. I realize that when I go to college there will be a very small percentage of people like me pursuing a degree in physics, but I feel this matters little when it comes to doing something I really want to do.
7. I watch very little TV during the school year--I feel thereís too much in life to do to waste hours watching TV. However, when I get a chance, I do watch movies on TV for an hour or two here and there.
8. My first languages were English and Thai; I forgot most of my Thai while growing up since there werenít many opportunities to speak it except when at home, and my mom didnít speak Thai as much while I was going to school. Now, I only know English, and can read and write Spanish well. My only out-of-country trip has been to Thailand in 1988; I stayed there in Denchai and Bangkok with my relatives for a month. Prior to arriving, I had gone to Tokyo for about three hours to wait for the next flight to Thailand; I remember thinking at seven years old that Tokyo wasnít so different from America as I had thought. Other language experiences: 3 years of high school Spanish (plus 1 year in 8th grade, 4 years).
9. From the interests Iíve listed above, you may have come to the conclusion that I do not have much of a life (does any student at Science and Math?). However, I think that I make the most of what I actually do. I am naturally a quiet person, which perhaps accounts for the lack of leadership activities that I have done. I am sometimes spontaneous around friends and when asking questions, but I am mostly deliberate; I do things because there is a need to do them whether out of request or from curiosity. I believe that all things are important and that it is the quality of oneís life activities, not the quantity of them, that makes a person happy the most. I have found that it has been best for me to do a few things well than to do a heap of things sloppily, and this is my explanation for not having what most would call a "life." There are certainly other students who can do a heap of things well and with ease, but is it really possible to put all of oneís energy into each of those activities and enjoy them all? Compared to these people, my extracurricular activities are few. However, I greatly love the activities I do, and this makes it easier for me to do them well. Even if I am having a hard time doing an activity well, the fact that I truly enjoy what I am doing gives me the motivation to try and work better, until I improve.
If you need more details about something that Iíve included on these sheets or that I havenít included, please send me an e-mail, and because I know youíre quite busy, youíll have the details the following day on your e-mail.
If school e-mail doesnít work, try: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you lose that address, try my home e-mail (this one always works): email@example.com
Please send my UNC recommendation to:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
CB#2200, Jackson Hall
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-2200
Please send my Duke recommendation to:
Office of Undergraduate Admissions
2138 Campus Drive
Durham, NC 27708-0588
Again, thank you so much!!!!!!
Oops!Other important information:
Due date for UNC recommendation: November 16
Due date for Duke application: December 15