Daniel Mandel “I grew up with four little brothers, so I know something about the behavior of kids and how they think. So what I want to do is to get involved with helping children.”

Sometimes, really smart people actually get penalized for being as bright as they are. And this can be a curse, or a blessing. Just ask Daniel Mandel. “What happened is that I was a concurrent SMC student while I was in high school, and I graduated a year early. So I couldn’t go directly to a university. But the good thing is that I still get to go to SMC for at least a year.” It’s Daniel’s aim to enter medical school and emerge as a full-fledged psychiatrist. “Because of the complexity of society and all the pressure that’s put on them, I think every teenager needs psychological counseling these days. I’d like to serve them as a friend and guide.”

Daniel states that not all of his SMC hours are spent pondering the mysteries of the mind. “I also love music, so I took a guitar class this semester, and I loved every minute of it. I studied with Jimmy Cheesman, and he completely encouraged me in every class. When I first got up in front of the class, I just froze: I couldn’t perform. But as the semester progressed, I was able to perform without being nervous at all.” Daniel, who speaks fluent Hebrew, says, “I’ll be visiting Israel next year, where my Hebrew will be a great help. And then I want to transfer to Yeshiva University in NYC the following year.”

Daniel says that he’s encountered almost uniform excellence among his SMC instructors. “I’ve had two English professors here who were both fantastic. I thrived with Professor Driscoll for English 1, and I moved up to English 2 with Professor Engelmann, where I did really great. I got so involved in her classes that it actually calmed me down. I’ve always been afraid to raise my hand,” he says. “But now it’s a regular thing for me! I just can’t say enough good things about the teachers at SMC.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.