Sam Hempel, 17
The Lovett School, rising senior
By trying new things and challenging himself, Sam Hempel has discovered his passion: scientific and mathematical research.
“Research really excites me. It’s always interesting to see what’s new, what’s the cutting edge,” said Sam, the son of Louis and Sarah Hempel of Brookhaven.
At the recent Lovett Underclass Awards Assembly, Sam won the Rensselaer Medal Award for excellence in math and science. He became the president of The Lovett School’s Math Club during the school year.
Last summer Sam fed his interest in math when he attended the four-week Education Program for Gifted Youth at Stanford University. He challenged himself by taking a course in non-Euclidean geometry.
“It was really weird math,” he said.
Sam recently was recognized for his overall academic achievements when he was named Lovett’s nominee for the University of Virginia Jefferson Scholarship. “The pool of students that they interviewed was a very strong pool — a lot of great, talented kids,” he said. “It really makes me feel like I’m doing something right.”
Throughout high school, Sam has immersed himself in extracurriculars. He is a member of Lovett’s new Cooperative for Assistance and Relief Everywhere (CARE) Future Leaders Program, which focuses on the problems of developing countries.
As part of the program, Sam left for a two-week trip to Ecuador on June 8 with five other Lovett students and six from The Paideia School. They will complete education projects and work with children in rural and urban areas.
Sam also traveled to Ecuador in October 2007, when he visited Lovett’s cloud forest property, Siempre Verde (“Forever Green”).
“I’ve always wanted to go back,” he said.
Sam was elected senior class president for 2009-10. Largely because of his involvement in student government, he was awarded the College Book Award for the University of Michigan, an honor given to a student who excels in all areas, particularly public policy.
As president-elect, Sam has big plans for Lovett’s senior class, including homecoming.
“I just love the school. I love the kids, and this is one way of me leaving my influence on Lovett,” said Sam, who has been at Lovett since the sixth grade.
Sam also is a year-round swimmer at Lovett and has a goal of setting a school record next year.
“That’s kind of a tangible, lasting mark … just knowing that my hard work can be put up for others to work hard for,” he said.
“I definitely think that science is a possible career for me,” Sam said. He’ll start on that path at the end of June when he begins an internship at Georgia Tech with Dr. Loren Williams in the School of Chemistry and Biochemistry.
His top college choices include the University of Georgia, the University of North Carolina, the University of Virginia, Vanderbilt University and Pomona College. He also plans to apply to Stanford University as his “reach” school.