Science is the crux of Kyle Andruczk's high school education, his specialty is physics and he has a special interest in astrophysics.
The 17-year-old spent the summer delving into those areas and more at the Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh. The son of Paul and Christa Andruczk, he was one of 56 students selected from 302 applicants.
Physics is "our basic understanding of the universe, but it's flawed and there is so much we don't know," said Kyle, who is now a senior at Greencastle-Antrim High School.
He and his fellow students lived in a dorm on the Carnegie Mellon campus, attended classes and did research projects.
At the governor's school, he got to do a lot of research in quantum mechanics, which involves how energy is transferred from fundamental particle to fundamental particle.
His research team of seven had teaching assistants who are current Carnegie Mellon students and was under the direction of Dr. Barry Loukkala, director of physics at the university.
A typical day featured classes in physics, biology, chemistry, math and computer science, with team projects and labs in the afternoon. He took an evening elective on laser technology.
The Pennsylvania Governor's School for the Sciences ran from July 1 to Aug. 4. It also included outings like a Pittsburgh Pirates baseball game and Kennywood Amusement Park and theme nights like murder mystery and pirates. It ended with a banquet and small graduation ceremony.
This is the longest Kyle has been away from home.
"It made me mature a lot. I had to step up and do things for myself. I am more prepared for college," he said.
The governor's school has an alumni program and he will be paired with a mentor who will help with the college admissions process.
Harvard is at the top of his list, which also includes Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cal Tech and Princeton.
He said the Greencastle-Antrim High School teachers who wrote his recommendations for the governor's school have been instrumental in his studies — Adrian Martin, calculus; Terri Orkwiszewski, AP biology; and Linda Singley, physics and chemistry.
At the high school, he is trying to start an astronomy club and a math honors society. Kyle also is treasurer of the Spanish National Honor Society, homeroom rep to student council and a member of the National Honor Society. He played soccer in ninth and 10th grades and was team manager in his junior year after hurting his leg. He also is a peer tutor and is involved in the big buddies program with special needs students at the elementary or primary schools, and is a snowboard instructor at Whitetail.
Kyle does research in radio astronomy, analyzing data to find pulsars through West Virginia University and the National Science Foundation, and is involved with a U.S. Air Force Academy first light star analysis project.
"Science has always been a big deal in my life," he said.