As we move closer to the end of the shortened month of February concluding Black History Month, I’d like to take a look at individuals who we may not have heard of, but are pushing our culture and communities forward. They are driven, passionate, and fearless in their ventures to become the best they can become.
This week’s Positive Side feature is Brittney Exline of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
(Excerpt from The Root)
Brittney likes to say that she is a product of nature and nurture. She taught herself how to read at age 2. She did complicated jigsaw puzzles. She used to solve problems out of workbooks for fun. Her mom noticed her early accomplishments and tried to find the best educational fit, which is how she ended up skipping three grades. At 15, she became the youngest African American to attend an Ivy League school when she enrolled at the University of Pennsylvania. When she graduated at 19, she became the youngest African-American engineer. She is a software engineer for Chikita, an online advertising network in Westborough, Mass.
"My mom had to fight to get me to a place that was challenging," she said. "I just happened to rise to that challenge." Brittney tries to encourage more African-American youths to consider STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) careers. "We have an outdated way of teaching math and science," she said. "We need it be more interactive and more project-oriented."
You don’t have to be a child genius to be motivated, disciplined, and hard working. There are thousands of Inglewood students who can look at someone like Brittney and see themselves in her. They can become inspired and take similar actions to begin walking in their path of success. I encourage parents, teachers, and readers of Inglewood On The Positive Side to share this article with as many students as you know, and sow a seed of encouragement into their lives, assuring them that opportunities do exist in this world, and there are others like you in this world exploring those opportunities.