My name is Erik Verlage. I have lived my entire life in Mexico, although I have been raised with two cultures since my mother is American. I lived the first 11 years of my life on a family farm, after which I moved to the city of Guadalajara. My first interest in physics was ignited by James Happer, an extraordinary teacher who believed his job was to go beyond the giving of information; he gave us the tools and methods that allowed us to deal with the laws of nature ourselves, learning about buzzers, electromagnetic motors, and toy cars by building our own. I have just graduated as valedictorian of my class at the American School Foundation of Guadalajara, and am looking forward to college life. This will be my first year of study at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where I plan to major in physics. I have an intense interest in magnets. I love B movies and science fiction books (my favorite is Enders Game by Orson Scott Card, who is my author of choice), and I play the violin. I am interested in computer programming (I am familiar with C++, Java, and Basic), but I also enjoy philosophy.