Lake Hopatcong Teen Aspiring To Become Doctor Invited to Harvard

Source: New Jersey Herald

17-year-old Kelly Maegerlein, a rising senior at Hopatcong High School has had an ambitious summer.

In June, Maegerlein presented a research paper titled Implementing Public Health in Southern India: Two Streams of Thought, at the Sussex County Library in Stanhope. Maegerlein had been volunteering at the library since the summer before her freshman year, opening it to the public and inviting some of her teachers. Here’s the kicker: the presentation was not for a class, community service or any other mandated reason. She did it simply because she wanted to.

Maegerlein’s aspirational summer continued as one of nine students from Sussex County to attend the National Student Leadership Conference on psychology and neuroscience at Harvard Medical School.

The one-week summer program featured more than 100 students from across the country and around the world. The students had hands-on simulations, met with industry professionals, took behind-the-scenes tours and participated in leadership training.

“We had four neuroscience labs and lectures that went hand-in-hand with them,” Maegerlein said. “Then we had guest speakers present at the Harvard Medical School rotunda. We also had a research project and we had a clinical diagnostic simulation where we learned how to take a patient’s history. We also did a bunch of workshops on psychology, learning about how people develop and different mental disorders.”

Because she wants to go into premed in college and study neuroscience, the program appealed to Maegerlein. “I’ve always been fascinated by the brain,” she said. “There’s nothing else I really wanted to do — It’s kind of a goal of mine to go into neuroscience and possibly do research on the degenerative diseases, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.”

While in Massachusetts, she took some time to also visit a perspective school, but it wasn’t the only college on her wish list. “I was looking at BU (Boston University),” she said. “I’d love to go to Princeton, but you never know. And Northeastern also.”

At Hopatcong High School, Maegerlein is part of the National Honor Society, science league, and math league. At a recent Hopatcong Board of Education meeting, it was announced that Maegerlein was the recipient of the Princeton Book Award. She also volunteers with the elderly at the Merry Heart Nursing Home in Succasunna.

“Every time we turn around, she seems to be doing something else,” Teresa Maegerlein said of her daughter. “She takes it all in stride, doesn’t make a big deal about it, doesn’t brag to her friends. You have to drag it out of her sometimes. But she studies so hard and she’s so focused.”

“She demonstrates both the highest level of preparation for class and passion for learning,” teacher DelBagno said of her pupil. “Her motivation for success is commendable and I am confident that she will reach any goal that she sets.”

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