HCCS Physics Program
Update: I no longer run or teach classes at HCCS. For information on current course offerings, please visit: http://hccs-md.org
Personal Statement: When I started to engage with physics, my goal was to gain an AP-level understanding of the material. I began by reading conceptual physics, to get a feeling about how physics worked, and proceeded with studying AP Physics using a test preparation book. Pretty soon, I came upon these “d/dx” letters and long squiggles. I had seen them before, and wondered what they meant. At this point, I recognized that I needed to catch up on my mathematics so I borrowed some AP Calculus books to study. From then on, it became an alternation of learning physics and mathematics. Initially, I struggled to work through the practice exams because I only had a shallow understanding of physics. I realized I needed to do more practice problems which led me to the Physics Olympiad. From two years of independent studying, I passed both AP Physics C exams.
Beyond learning physics, I have the unique opportunity of teaching physics to my peers. I worked with a local physicist, Dr. Zhang, in 10th grade, during my preparation for the USA Physics Olympiad. He was the principal of Howard County Chinese School at the time. From our collaboration, I encouraged Dr. Zhang to open a physics program to help students learn physics and prepare for exams. I had the privilege of planning the program with him in my 10th grade summer and the result has been fruitful.
In my junior year, we had over 40 students enrolled in our Physics Program. I served as a teaching assistant and substitute teacher for Dr. Zhang’s AP classes. In addition, I taught the Olympiad Physics class. Teaching physics has not only given me much more discipline to prepare lecture material, but has also allowed me to reach out to the community. I have developed better understanding when explaining a concept to a student or answering new questions that I hadn’t thought about before. From teaching, my communication and presentation skills have improved significantly.
We have received much positive feedback for our program. I am very honored to have this unique opportunity to spread my physics knowledge and to be able to help my fellow Howard County students better understand physics and the world around them. From student testimony, I am very proud that my volunteering has strongly benefited the community. It is interesting that I have the role of being a physics mentor for my peers while I had always wanted a mentor to guide me.
Bio: Kevin Huang is a rising senior at Centennial High School in Ellicott City, Maryland with strong research interests in physics. He has self-studied physics since 8th grade, passing both AP Physics C exams with 5 and SAT Physics with 800. As a two-time silver medalist of the USA Physics Olympiad, Kevin is ranked among the top 100 physics students in nation.
Last year, he conducted research in the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County under Professor Jason Kestner, studying the theoretical conditions to perform joint measurements in quantum dot systems. His project won the 2016 Grand Prize in Physical Science at the Baltimore Science Fair, an all-expenses paid trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (Phoenix, AZ), and a full college scholarship from Towson University. Kevin was also nominated as an Associate Member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society.
In February 2016, he was officially invited by Professor Oleg Tchernyshyov as a visiting student to the Department of Physics at Johns Hopkins University to join his research group. Kevin has since been working with one of his graduate students on a theoretical project analyzing topological defects in ferromagnets, with an expected publication in the fall.
Kevin worked with physicist and former principal Dr. Guowei Zhang to create the Howard County Chinese School Physics Program last year where he volunteers his time to help students succeed in physics classes and exams. Kevin taught the Olympiad Physics class and served as a teaching assistant for the AP Physics classes. He is looking forward to continue his teaching this year in AP Physics C. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys playing piano, reading, traveling, photography, playing chess, table tennis, and attending various concerts.
Physics classroom for AP Physics C and Olympiad Physics. Dr. Zhang