Penn Manor senior Ben Clark left for Washington D.C. as a hopeful candidate with a strong project in the Siemens Competition and returned as a national celebrity.
Clark came home to Penn Manor Dec. 7, the previous day his life was changed forever. Clark was at the Siemens Competition in Washington D.C. where he claimed the grand prize, a $100,000 scholarship to any school of his choice for his research on binary stars.
“I feel fantastic, I’m absolutely thrilled,” said Clark about his victory. “My parents are absolutely thrilled, they cried when I won.”
Jill Clark, Clark’s mother, was very proud of his hard work.
“I’m incredibly proud, I’m thrilled that his hard work and perseverance has been recognized by a panel of highly respected professors.”
Clark’s father, Jay Clark, was also very proud and glad all his hard work paid off.
“It was all hard work, focus, and just an incredible god-given gift and a lot of people opening doors for him and moving him forward.”
On Friday, Dec. 10th, there was a reception held in the library from to recognize and commend Ben on his first place finish in the Siemens Math, Science, and Technology competition. A video of the competition was shown
With the money he has received, and his incredible smarts, the younger Clark has set his eyes on some of the nation’s top colleges. Among those schools are “Princeton, Cal Tech, Stanford, Harvard and MIT in no particular order,” said Clark.
“Ben put 7000 hours of work into his project. He also put 8000 hours of CPU work using IDL (Interactive Data Language),” said Clark’s mother.
The Siemens competition wasn’t all business, there was also time for games.
“We hung out, had fun, played capture the flag at like midnight the last night,” said Clark. “I just really loved being there, it was really fantastic to interact with all the other students.”
Along with the support of his family, Clark also had Penn Manor behind him rooting for him all the way.
Angie Stiklaitis, a Penn Manor math teacher and a former teacher of Clark’s was ecstatic when he won.
“During block two AP Calc BC, we watched it (Siemens Competition) live on the web cast and it was just really exciting when they began to announce in reverse order the individual winners. When they announced number two I literally jumped out of the desk. I haven’t jumped that high in 30 years,” said Stiklaitis. “He’s just a once-in-a-career student. I’ve been very fortunate to be able to work with him, I just predict that there are bigger things in his future.”
The perks of winning this competition have landed Clark with the opportunity to go to New York and ring the closing bell at the New York stock exchange on January 29.
Clark plans to continue with research in this project and other projects in astrophysics and physics.
“I want to find out how the universe works.”
By Brian Dunne