My name is Emily Schultheis.
I'm 17, a senior this year 2010-2011, and looking towards college. This is my fourth and final year participating in the Gifted/Talented Independent Research and Intern/Mentorship Programs. I am honored to serve my second term this year on the program's student leadership board, which has expanded from 4 to 8 members since I've been here.
Mentorship has given me a chance to explore a preexisting desire that has plagued me since I first entered my first science fair in fourth grade at 9 years old: RESEARCH.
I consider myself a scientist. I have conducted seven year long-studies in various fields of science over the years, not including two additional engineering internships at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. My research interests over the years have wandered from sharks to space exploration to Classical Mythology to Classical Warfare to Archimedes Principle to Cameras and Optical Science to the Reformation to Feedback Systems and programming to the Civil War to Modernizing Agriculture to Modern Story Structure . . . but two recurring themes in my research relavent to my intended career are ROBOTICS and OPTICS.
Early Prototype of the Tomato Harvester 2008
For many years, STEM science fairs were my outlet for recognition. Each year, I'd work obsessively on my projects in hopes of making new professional contacts, becoming an honorary member of various societies, and of course -- trying to win a trophy. For many years, I was fortunate enough to receive encouragement from multiple societies (particularly NCS/Optical Society of America stationed at NASA Goddard --Dr. Robert Hindsley), and on occasion, was invited to speak several places: including the National Science Foundation headquarters for one of their conventions. Every year, I was inspired to just once, earn the trophy for "Best in Engineering", but became frustrated after three years of winning one step below as the "Runner Up" in the category.
Finally in my sophomore year of high school, I never got that particular award, but something much better - the 2nd place silver medal at my school, another runner-up trophy at the county fair, AND the First Division Grand Prize of the Baltimore Regional Science Fair; that final and very unexpected award catapulted me into the most prominent exclusive science competition in the world: Intel's International Science and Engineering Fair 2009.
Peppermill Hotel where I stayed during ISEF Reno 2009
The board financed my trip to Reno, Nevada where the fair was held that year, and I got a chance to compare the numerous weaknesses of my basement research to the hundreds of brilliant projects from around the world. Privately, I wondered how I, who had barely managed to throw together flawed software, could have possibly earned a place in an academic environment supervised by numerous Nobel prize winners. Also baffling to me, was the fact that my sophomore, not my freshman year project, was the one to win the honor. I considered the previous year's research to be much better quality in terms of experimental design, but that the sophomore project had improved drastically in terms of quality of presentation.
After several months of reflection, I drew an important, though perhaps obvious, conclusion. PRESENTATION and COMMUNICATION are very important. Ideas, no matter how brilliant, are of no use to anyone unless they can be articulated.
I have always been exceptionally shy and came into high school inept at expressing ideas either verbally or concisely in the case of writing. Thanks to the program and Glenelg's GT Resource Teacher, leader of IR and Mentorship, Mr. Ashcraft, I became immediately conscious of this fact and made an active effort to improve it.
Autonomous Tomato Harvester Presentation: ISEF Reno May 2009
Now, though I am neither brilliant nor particularly enjoy speaking, I have become much better at presenting, learned to enjoy writing (though I am still seeking to refine my organization and Byzantine style), and finally assumed several major appointed and peer-elected leadership positions both within and outside of IR/Mentorship. My roles in the mentorship program are by far the most fulfilling though, simply because it never gets boring to see how far an interesting idea can progress in affecting the real world.
My senior year is the first that I am beginning to become truly comfortable in high school, but it is my last. I've recently prepared to apply to a grand total of 12 colleges with Johns Hopkins University as my first choice. My test scores are average; my grades are average. The aspects that I am pushing are my capacity for passion, initiative for leadership, and subsequent competence because of that passion. I am an intuitive thinker and eclectic reader who enjoys analyzing the arts as much (if not more) than studying pure science. This tendency is demonstrated in my most recent work on "The Story Template" Algorithm, likely my favorite research as the most interesting thing (to me) that I've ever studied.
Bill Nye the Science Guy: EXPO National Mall DC October 2010
However, despite my interest in the humanities, I have decided to stick with science for my career taking into account its practicality.
Aside from academics, I've lived in the same place my whole life with my brother Grant, three years younger, and my parents. My dad trained at Johns Hopkins and University of Pennsylvania to earn a PhD and MD, become head of the anesthesiology department at Washington Hospital Center, and after making significant reformations to the department, quit, becoming a government employee to allow for more time and freedom when my brother and I were born. My mom also went to University of Pennsylvania and then Hopkins to earn her PhD in Pulmonary Hypertension. When my brother and I were born, she left medicine to stay home...a few years later, she published her first novel under a pseudonym and has since established her own publishing company, revolutionary writing system, and faced Multiple Schlerosis. In addition to school and all related responsibilities, I am a first degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, dancer, love to paint, draw, play piano, and record music among other things. I've been as far west as Hawaii, far north as Maine/Alaska, south as Texas/Florida, but haven't gotten a chance to travel outside the country yet.
Testing Home-Made Catamaran 2005
I'm the first executive senior resident of mentorship, youngest person ever to serve on student leadership board, and first ever to serve on it multiple times. This year in addition to my regular research project, I am building a network called the Interns of America Foundation (more on this later), which I hope to cultivate throughout my college experience. I am the elected Secretary of my school's National Honor Society and previously elected record keeper for the society. I was recognized as AP Scholar of the Year a year ago, and have been a member of AP Scholars throughout my entire high school career. Maryland Board of Education recognized me as Gifted/Talented Student of the Year 2010 last year and invited me to speak at the state G/T Banquet in Annapolis. This year, I am also participating as appointed student representative on the school's Student Improvement Team (SIT) in which I have been collaborating with faculty members to organize a new project/organization cultivating leadership skills in teacher-selected students who have demonstrated a potential for leadership.
I'm a member of KEY (Kiwanis Educating Youth) Club, Teenage Republicans, and lead the Engineering Girls GIFTS outreach as a volunteer task in which we try to get elementary school girls interested in science and engineering (e.g. I walk them through Java Alice throughout the year). I volunteer three hours a week at Fairhaven retirement community in the medical wing (several times invited to fill-in for regular music leader, during which I do two hours of improv piano recital), and contributed many volunteer service hours to my local library also.
I've served a total of four formal internships and completed eleven major independent research projects so far. I hope my career will allow me a chance to focus on RESEARCH as well, though I'm not sure yet what the specifics may entail.
This is my online portfolio documenting some of my work. I try to update it as frequently as updates are required. I'm attempting to restructure the organization to include documentation on several of my more recent projects in addition to "The Story Template" Algorithm project I'm doing currently for Intern/Mentorship class. Hopefully demonstrated by the thoroughness with which I try to record my findings and thoughts, it will become apparent that I do take my research seriously and enjoy it very much. I love receiving input and would be honored to receive critiques or comments on any ideas presented here via email or the comment system below. Likewise, as a side project, I am also working on establishing a network called the Interns of America Foundation. I'd be interested to hear what kinds of other projects are going on and to assess needs of other similarly stationed researchers in hopes of making Interns of America worthy of existence. Please send me an email if you would like to know more about the foundation, and the website will be accessible soon.
Baby Caribou: Denali Alaska July 2010
Thanks for visiting!