Keith Thomas is NLA’s STEM Program Coordinator. Learn more about him below!
WHO ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU FROM? HOW DID YOU GET HERE?
My name is Keith Thomas. I grew up in Los Angeles, California and traveled to Pittsburgh to pursue my BS in Neuroscience at the University of Pittsburgh. I graduated in August of 2017, and heard about the opportunity to work as a STEM coordinator through a friend of mine who had participated in one of NLA’s summer programs. I began tutoring in 9th grade and continued to do so through college. I have always loved working with kids, so this seemed like an ideal opportunity to instill kids with the same passion I have for STEM.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST REWARDING ABOUT YOUR JOB? MOST CHALLENGING?
The most rewarding part of my job is definitely the chances I have to sit down with our high schoolers and hear them confidently express their own goals, and being able to see how the program has fed these goals and the confidence they have to pursue them. The most challenging part, I think, is actually instilling this confidence in younger students who haven’t been shown before that they can succeed.
ANY FAVORITE MOMENTS OR EXPERIENCES SO FAR?
My favorite moments occur at the parent engagement STEM nights, where I’m able to watch kids work with their parents on small projects. The children are always so excited to show what they’re learning, or to work against their parents in a challenge, all the while they’re learning.
WHAT IS ONE BOOK YOU THINK EVERY HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT SHOULD READ?
Between the World and Me by Ta Nehisi Coates.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO IN YOUR FREE TIME?
I spend a lot of my time reading, exploring new music either at live venues or online, and as of late have started to explore rock climbing.
WHAT IS A “FUN FACT” ABOUT YOURSELF PEOPLE MAY NOT KNOW?
A “fun fact” about myself is I’m racially ambiguous; I’m like the male Rashida Jones.