A Dix Hills high school student's love of languages earned him a spot as one of the nation's top teens in the linguistics field.
Brandon Epstein, a junior at Half Hollow Hills High School West, was one of eight U.S. students competing in the International Linguistics Olympiad in Beijing during the summer. He earned an honorable mention and his team placed third.
The event featured 160 students from 40 countries decoding problems written in obscure languages.
To reach that level, Epstein, 15, placed fifth nationally out of about 2,000 students in the North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad. The contest, held locally at Stony Brook University, challenged students to solve a series of puzzles in computational linguistics, a branch of linguistics in which the techniques of computer science are applied to the analysis and synthesis of language and speech.
"I always like to learn about languages and see what kind of properties they hold," Epstein said.
Epstein's other achievements include qualifying for the USA Junior Mathematics Olympiad, studying music composition at The Juilliard School in Manhattan and attending the Columbia University Science Honors Program.