Carter Zenke, Knowledge in the Service of Society, Class of 2020

FOCUS has empowered me to pursue meaningful questions while building lifelong relationships. Analyzing educational inequities alongside the students in my cluster (Knowledge in the Service of Society) moved me to examine how similar issues might be plaguing my own area of interest: computer science (CS) education. My FOCUS professor put me in touch with another student (now friend!) and advised us as we led research that exposed how most children in Durham are left out of quality CS education. Motivated by my cluster’s emphasis on turning research into action, I started to ask what I could do as an undergraduate to create change. I reached out to FOCUS friends and professors, finding support in innumerable ways. The result of our team effort is CSbyUs: a Bass Connections research group that has helped over 60 middle-school students use CS to pursue their talents and interests. The support from FOCUS, especially the people within it, have helped me transition from being an uncertain first-year student to the co-director of a lab answering questions I would have never thought to ask. For that, I will be forever grateful.

Carter Zenke