Exploring STEM with Ketura, Kaluv, and Takhari

Brooke Newsletter

At Brooke, students begin learning computer science in first grade and continue through high school. Brooke’s Computer Science for All initiative aims to challenge the racial and gender disparities in STEM professions, especially in the tech sector. It is designed to equip scholars with the ability to innovate, problem solve, and express their ideas through technology.

Read below to hear from Brooke High School sophomores Ketura Joseph, Kaluv Roberts, and Takhari Woody, as they reflect on their experiences, and challenges with STEM learning. 

When looking back on your time at Brooke, is there a teacher or class that influenced your interest in STEM? 

Takhari: My sixth-grade teacher, Ms. Bernstein, was the one who got me to like math. From there, I knew I wanted to learn about how math relates to computers.

Kaluv: We had coding classes during my middle school years, which got me interested in coding. In high school, Ms. Ellis was my teacher, and computer science came naturally to me in her class. This year, Mr. Martin has encouraged me to further expand my knowledge of computer science.

Ketura: AP Computer Science Principles (APCSP) with Ms. Oliver is one of my favorite classes  because it taught me more of what I want to learn, what career paths are possible, and I feel like I am improving as a computer scientist.

Can you share a memorable project from one of your STEM classes? 

Takhari: I remember in fifth grade we had to build a robot car to see whose car could travel the farthest distance, and another project where we had to construct a structure capable of withstanding a natural disaster. 

Ketura: We did data projects in AP Computer Science Principles where we imported data and coded it to give us answers to real life situations.

Kaluv: In chemistry this year, we did many hands-on projects, such as titrations and mixing acids and bases. I found this super cool because we could actually see the chemical reactions happening. We’re also learning about how batteries work and trying to make a battery using different metals (and potatoes). 

What do you enjoy most about your STEM classes?

Takhari: They let us be creative with what we do. Your project won’t be the same as everyone else’s and you can move at your own pace in many computer programs, labs, and chemistry classes.Kaluv: I like that in computer science, especially with our AP test, we could do our own thing and create something unique. Even though some people had similar projects, no one had the same code or the same way of writing things. They let us figure stuff out on our own and make our own project.

Have you faced any challenges in your STEM classes, and how did you overcome them? 

Ketura: Yes, you can get a lot of errors when coding and it’s frustrating. It’s a lot of trial and error and asking my teammates or teachers to help me. 

Kaluv: Well, I face a lot of challenges with coding, and my teacher always challenges me to figure it out on my own, even if it’s something completely new. It’s challenging to figure things out on your own, especially when math is involved. But it feels good when I finally get it and can say I did it on my own.

Takhari: I like a challenge. If I can’t access the answer, I usually look back at my notes or try to remember how I previously solved a similar problem. I think about what each variable meant and how I can apply that to what I’m working on now.

What advice would you give to other high school students when it comes to STEM?

Kaluv: Expect to be learning a lot of new things at once, especially in science and computer science classes. There’s a lot to take in, and even tiny errors can cause big problems, especially in math and coding. One wrong move or a misclick can mess up an entire project. You have to learn to take it slow and not rush through things. Also, don’t rely on others to do the work for you. When it comes to tests, you’ll need to code on your own and remember certain formulas and concepts. It’s important to do your own thing, make sure you’re actually learning the material, and memorize what you need to know. 

Takhari: Know what part you’re interested in. Explore other parts too, but focus on the part that you’re most invested in because STEM can be confusing sometimes. Also, learn the fundamentals first because if you don’t understand the basics, you’re not going to get very far.

Ketura: Take the initiative to ask teachers for help and see what you can do outside of class, like robotics club!

Do you plan on pursuing  STEM beyond high school? And if so, how do you envision it in your future? 

Takhari: I would love to be in the field of architecture or become a game designer. 

Ketura: I want to learn more about the different fields in computer science so I can have options.

Kaluv: I want to major in computer science at MIT. It’s also the career path I want.