Riverside High School senior Alon Greyber didn’t get the news he hoped for last week when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced its freshman admissions on Pi Day
But MIT’s loss will be another university’s gain.
Greyber, who has already been accepted to N.C. State University, Georgia Tech and the University of Pittsburgh, is a proven winner.
He scored 9’s on all seven Project Lead The Way (PLTW) engineering exams he’s taken during his four years at Riverside.
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Scoring a 9 on a PLTW exam places Greyber in the top 2 percent of students who took the exams.
“I think there was a little luck involved, because I think the difference between an 8 and a 9 is only one or two questions,” Greyber said modestly.
PLTW is a nonprofit organization that develops Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M) curricula for elementary, middle and high schools.
Its national end-of-course exams are much like rigorous Advanced Placement (AP) exams, and carries just as much weight as an AP exam.
Greyber took two engineering courses as a freshman, two as a sophomore and the three remaining courses this year.
“This young man’s achievement has been pretty special,” said Tim Velegol, coordinator for the Riverside Engineering Program.
Velegol contacted the PLTW national organization to see how Greyber’s performance stacked up against others in the nation, but found the PLTW doesn’t share that information.
Nevertheless, Velegol said PLTW officials were “wowed” to learn of Greyber’s feat.
Velegol said a Riverside student who is currently at Georgia Tech got 9s on all five of the exams he took, but Greyber is the first to score 9’s on all seven.
While Greyber clearly has all of the makings of an engineer, his passion is computers.
He plans to major in computer science when he enters college in the fall.
“A lot of colleges kind of mix computer science and engineering,” Greyber said. “Generally, computer science is more software focused and computer engineering is hardware focused but there’s not much of a difference and some colleges will combine the two programs.”
Greyber said his ultimate goal is to create and own a business.
He has already launched his first entrepreneurial enterprise called “Dream It Photos,” a small business where he runs a photo booth at parties.
“I think it’s pretty cool, all of the stuff that’s associated with running a business, the range of skills you must have,” Greyber said. “You definitely need to be good with people. You definitely have to have marketing skills, be able to talk to people and have technical skills like knowing how to run a website. I just like where they all meet, which is entrepreneurship.”
In addition to running his own small business, Greyber is a member of the N.C. Science and Mathematics robotics team, which is open to all students and Riverside’s Verizon App Challenge team.
The Verizon App Challenge is a competition to develop an app concept that solves a problem in the community.
During Greyber’s freshman year, his Verizon App team won best in state and during his junior year best in region.
Greyber could hardly contain himself when it came time to show off a 50-page research paper he and a team of students put together as part of an Aerospace Engineering class detailing the aerodynamics of a wing.
He said the teacher broke the class into three teams and made the class a competition.
“We were extremely motivated to put more and more work into it and this is what happens when you put a lot of work into the class,” Greyber said while holding up the research paper he co-authored with his teammates. “