Harry Newman-Plotnick continues neurobiology studies at Harvard

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BY Molly Congdon
Gazette Reporter

HALFMOON—Shenendehowa graduate Harry Newman-Plotnick just started his sophomore year at Harvard.

“There are so many great opportunities here for academics and extracurriculars, but there are so many interesting people,” Newman-Plotnick said. “So many world class musicians, there is a world class figure skater that’s in my year; it’s really cool to get to meet all these different sorts of people and then get to take classes with them, it’s really exciting.”

He majors in neurobiology with the goal of continuing on to medical school and one day becoming a neurosurgeon. “I always wanted to be a doctor since I was a kid,” Newman-Plotnick said. “And after my sophomore year of high school in the summer I took a neuroscience class, and I just thought it was the coolest thing in the world.”

His time at Shenendehowa prepared him well for his college experience. “Mainly it was the teachers,” Newman-Plotnick said. “My AP Chemistry teacher really got me ready for chemistry; it would be so much harder if I hadn’t taken her class.”

Prior to heading to Massachusetts, Newman-Plotnick had resided in Halfmoon for his entire life. His father, Steven Plotnick, is a math professor at University of Albany and his mother, Deborah, takes care of all the tasks at home. He has an older brother—Sam, 22—who is a current senior at Cornell and an older sister—Ada, 24—who is a freelance film editor in New York City.

One of his greatest influences is his grandmother, Barbara. “She grew up in difficult conditions in New York City and then went to NYU on a full ride and studied chemistry,” Newman-Plotnick said. “She is resilient and strong.”

He also greatly admires Teddy Roosevelt for these same qualities. “Roosevelt was weak when he was younger—he suffered from asthma, but he worked through it,” he said. “My favorite story about him is when he was shot during a speech and finished the speech after being shot before he went to the hospital; he always showed a great deal of resolve and strength.”

These are characteristics that Newman-Plotnick hopes to emulate.

Aside from his scientific studies, he serves as President of the Harvard Magician Society and is also a member of the Stand-Up Comedy Society.

“I like to make people laugh,” Newman-Plotnick said. “It’s fun and it’s also very relaxing; it’s a unique, tight knit community.”

These hobbies connected well with his chosen profession. “I think part of medicine is also interacting with patients, especially if you are interacting with kids,” he said. “Keeping them happy and entertained is important.”

Six questions for Harry Newman-Plotnick:
Q: What is the number one thing on your bucket list?
A: To go to the Oscars; I really, really love movies.
Q: What is your favorite movie?
A: “The Big Lebowski.”
Q:What is one of your biggest fears?
A: Being on stage doing magic or comedy and freezing up during my performance—it’s happened before.
Q: What are the essential toppings on your ice cream sundae?
A: Chocolate sprinkles, hot fudge, whipped cream and maraschino cherries
Q:What is your favorite color?
A: Royal blue or crimson red.
Q: If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?
A: To talk to animals, I think they have a lot of say to us.