Humans of Harker: Nikhil Manglik shines as a performer
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The lights dim and a hush falls over the crowd. Nikhil Manglik (12) remembers what he’s prepared and gets ready to present. Some may get nervous in front of crowds, but not he.
Whether it be acting in a play or presenting his research, Nikhil is a born performer with a confidence and pronounced passion for diverse fields.
Nikhil deepens his interest in all of his passions, regardless of if it is telling stories while acting or studying breast cancer in biology, he always values investing time in fields which he believes to be worthwhile.
“My interests are many,” he said. “It’s not just Biology and Health Policy. It’s also modern Physics. It’s also math. It’s also [computer science]. It’s also all of these things.”
While many have an inclination towards a certain field like biology, Nikhil just loves to learn regardless of the subject matter. For him, learning isn’t confined to the classroom; learning means poring over modern physics, health policy and Java books on the weekends.
“Nikhil is a vociferous learner who never fails to speak his mind and has diverse and often creative opinions on a myriad array of topics. His ability to express himself knows no bounds and often inspires others in class to do any number of things in response to his posits,” history teacher Damon Halback said. “I found Nikhil to be a thoroughly enjoyable and inquisitive student and really appreciated the level of engagement and entertainment he brings to the class.”
He has been involved in performing arts since middle school and describes performing as a form of advanced storytelling.
“It’s just storytelling,” Nikhil said. “Everyone loves telling stories. We tell each other stories at in the lunchroom. We tell each other stories in the classroom. Everywhere we go we are telling stories. This is just a bigger way to tell stories.”
Later, he described the way Draper has been teaching the performers of this year’s fall play, Around the World in 80 Days, to have a balance of technical efficiency and passion or energy.
“He could have been like… we are going to get the technique down perfectly, and to an extent he did that. As a teacher his job is to make sure we understand the technical nuances, but the other half of it was he said ‘put your heart into it, expand on this character in your own way,’” Nikhil said.
Nikhil Manglik participated in the Siemens Science Research Project this year. He strongly believes that Science Research is an amazing way to help scientific advancement and use time wisely. This year, he decided to focus his project around breast cancer.
“One of the big things going on in breast cancer is not just trying to cure breast cancer… but trying to find gene signatures that would do so…. When those genes express in a certain way those genes essentially damp down a cancer or increase the danger of a cancer,” Nikhil said. “My mentor had been working on something like this. He had about sixty genes in his data set…. What I was able to do was through various methods and analysis was essentially narrow that down to two genes that when expressed abnormally high, you ended up getting a drastic reduction in breast cancer fatality.”
Additionally, Nikhil has been involved in Quiz Bowl for several years. He enjoys being quizzed on his knowledge of various pieces of information because Quiz Bowl is truly an environment in which one can solely focus on learning.
When asked what his favorite part of Quiz Bowl was, Nikhil responded, “the biggest thing would be there’s an element of pure knowledge associated with it.”
Nikhil enjoys participating in and supporting programs that he believes have a significant positive influence. Theatre entertains many people, just as science research helps millions. Nikhil targets all of his interests towards fields with noticeable benefits.