Benjamin Cooper, class of 2016, first visited IMSA as a freshman in high school and was attracted by the unique setup of the school and the demo classes he participated in. He came knowing he was interested in math and he liked his math classes, but he also appreciated the opportunity to take a range of subjects with excellent teachers. Outside of classes he participated in two internships through the Talent program. The first was at a startup at 1871 Chicago and the second at a tech consulting firm.
Cooper was on Student Council, serving as the senator for 1501 junior year and vice president his senior year. In those roles, he participated in designing a computer science curriculum and was a student representative at the IMSA Board meetings. He also participated in LEAD as a facilitator. He helped found the new Debate team his junior year, as well as continuing to be part of the Speech team. Cooper did find it challenging to balance all these commitments with his academic work. However, one of the most valuable learning experiences was learning to handle these large, collaborative projects.
Upon graduation Cooper attended Vanderbilt University, which he found a very different sort of environment. He studied computer science and graduated in 2020. He now works as a software engineer for a Chicago-based company, Convoy. Looking back on his IMSA experience, he wishes that he and other students could focus less on traditional success metrics (like grades) and more on the opportunity to learn and experiment that IMSA offers.
Interviewer: Sara Goek. Duration: 17:47
alumni, careers, computer science, curriculum, extracurriculars, math classes, student governance, Talent
Digital Video Recording
Copy permitted for study or investigation purposes, citing the source Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Any other use requires permission. For more information please contact email@example.com.
Cooper, Benjamin '16 and Goek, Sara, "Benjamin Cooper" (2021). Oral Histories, IMSA Archives and Special Collections, Leto M. Furnas Information Resource Center. https://digitalcommons.imsa.edu/oral_histories/31