Spotlight on 90s Alumni Adam Possner, MD

adam-familyWe are excited to announce that our 1990’s decade spotlight is on Adam Possner, MD!

Adam attended Meyzeek Middle School and then studied in the Science and Technology Program at duPont Manual High School. It was at Manual that he had the great opportunity to enter The Louisville Regional Science & Engineering Fair.

He went on to compete in two International fairs, the first in 1994 in Birmingham, Alabama, where he studied the effect of methane gas on a plant indigenous to the Louisville area. There he placed fourth in the Botany division.

The next year he went on to the International fair held in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he placed first in Botany with a more complex version of his experiment from the year before.

For this project he simulated a southeastern Texas rice paddy in his parent’s basement, with one growth chamber serving as the control and the other—the experimental chamber—receiving additional methane pumped in. (For more information on the project, check out this link for an article in The Growing Edge magazine.)

After spending so much time in high school focused on the sciences, Adam was ready for a change.  He went to the University of Virginia where he started off studying the humanities.

Even though, at that time, he thought he might pursue a non-science career, Adam realized how valuable science fair had been to him and was determined to give back. Toward that end, at UVA he started the Science Fair Mentoring Program to help local youth with their science fair projects. (For more information about this program, check out http://www.virginia.edu/insideuva/2000/18/possner.html.)

When his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease during his sophomore year, Adam realized his passion for Medicine and decided to switch gears again. He did not have enough time left at UVA to get his pre-med courses completed, so he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political & Social Thought and then took his pre-med courses at the University of Louisville. From there he went on to attend medical school at the University of Michigan, followed by residency and a chief year in general internal medicine at Johns Hopkins Bayview in Baltimore, Maryland.

For the past three and a half years he’s been working as an assistant professor of general internal medicine at The George Washington University in Washington, DC. His current roles include caring for patients, teaching medical students and residents, running a medical student program, and serving as the faculty advisor for a humanities magazine.

In Adam’s spare time he writes medicine-related poetry (see links below), and many of his pieces have been published in major medical journals. He enjoys spending time with his wife, Marci Possner, who is an aerospace engineer, and their two-and-a-half-year-old son, Jonah.

Adam attributes his interest in science, in general, to many different people, but mainly to his father who “always encouraged me to be curious about the world around me and to try to understand how things work.” His science teacher at Meyzeek, Mr. Tom White, was also a great inspiration, as well as two science teachers at duPont Manual, Mr. Glenn Zwanzig (under whom he worked on his first project) and Mrs. Barbara Fendley.

When asked what the LRSEF means to Adam, he said the following:

“Science fair was the first time in my life I had ever organized a major project, raised money for that project, collaborated with others, analyzed results, and presented those results — both in written and spoken form — in a rigorous way. Regardless of what career I wound up pursuing, those skills were bound to be invaluable.  I didn’t know it then, but at the same time that I was raising plants in growth chambers I was planting the seeds of my future success.  Science fair taught me much more than the scientific method.  It helped me realize what I was capable of.”

We can only wish that each of you has the same great fortune that Dr. Adam Possner has had in his pursuit of a scientific career. Even if you don’t go on to have careers in the STEM fields, the skills you learn from your time at the LRSEF will be ones that last a lifetime.

We are so very proud to call Adam Possner an alumnus of the LRSEF!

Poetry Links:

Adam Possner – Subway Religion Poem

Washington Post – Look Up Now

The Writer’s Almanac – Poems by Adam Possner

Neurology.org – Poems by Adam Possner

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