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Spotlight On: James Erlanger, RHS Student

James Erlanger, a student in his senior year at Rhinebeck High School, is the president of the RHS Tech Club, which he helped form two years ago.

James ErlangerTell us what got you interested in tech and science, and what specific subjects interest you right now.
I’ve always had a mechanical mind, that is, an understanding of how and why things work. My Grandpa always used to take time to explain to me how machines in the everyday world work. To me, technology is really just an extension of that early interest and ability. Right now, I find my favorite subjects to be Physics and Economics. Physics is just a mathematical explanation of the mechanics I have observed around me. On the other hand, Economics is an explanation of something I knew little about.

What kinds of things (hobbies, extracurricular activities, projects) have you done to pursue your interests?
I’ve been the student sound engineer at RHS for three years after training for two. I set up and run live sound for concerts, events and other occasions that warrant the use of the equipment in the auditorium. During the summer, I have interned in the IT department at Health Quest. I also co-own a tech support business along with a friend. We serve at least 20 clients throughout the Rhinebeck community.

How long have you been in the RHS Tech Club, what brought you to it, and how long have you been president?
Around two years ago, I was approached by a friend, Gabe Hammoud, who pitched the idea of starting a club that would allow us to pursue our interests in technology while serving the school community. Together, we went through the process of forming the club. The club has only existed for two years. I was Vice-President last year, and am currently serving a term as president which lasts through the end of the school year.

We understand the Tech Club recently refurbished and donated a number of electronic devices. Tell us about that project, how it came about, and how you accomplished it.
After Gabe and I formed the club, it was brought to our attention that, due to the increasing use of technology in the classroom, it was becoming difficult for some students to keep up with their work since they did not have access to technology at home. Through a number of different avenues, we sourced old machines which would otherwise have been discarded and refurbished them for immediate use. We work closely with our advisor, Mrs. Linenbroker, who then determines need and acts as the liaison between the club and the student to maintain confidentiality. This project has allowed many students in our district to receive free computers for school use.

You are a senior, so tell us about your plans after graduation.
After graduating, I intend to study Information Technology and Science at Marist College.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Ideally, in five years, I will be about to receive my Master’s degree in Information Technology and Science. Eventually I’d like to be a Systems Administrator or CIO for a large company.

What else do you do for fun?
Not surprisingly, my hobbies also revolve around technology. I enjoy working with and implementing technology in our home. I also do enjoy video games. They’re a great way to connect with friends from the comfort of your own couch.