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Ben Redgate Finds his Path at Washington University in St. Louis
Class of 2020 alumnus Ben Redgate has always been inspired by how things work. When he was a student at Ironia, he participated in the winter after-school program PAWS which offers interactive classes for elementary school students to explore. Ben was drawn to a LEGO course which gave him the creativity and flexibility to build his own projects. Over the course of his childhood, his fascination with LEGOs turned into a love for science. Regardless of whether the subject was Biology, Engineering, Math, or Physics; Ben was drawn to what he describes as “practical applications of how the world functions.” Fast forward more than a decade later, and Ben is still very much fascinated by the intricacies of the way things work. His ultimate dream job is to use his acquired skills in STEM to find unique and interesting solutions to difficult problems. To fulfill this goal, he has decided to attend Washington University in St. Louis this fall where he will explore multiple career pathways in engineering and computer science.
Washington University in St. Louis, also known as Wash U, is one of the world’s most prestigious universities for higher education. Ranked 19th in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, Washington University has developed a strong reputation for its commitment to academic excellence in all fields. However, they are best known for their exemplary science programs. Given Ben’s varied interests, he knew it was a great fit the minute he set foot on campus. “When I visited the campus, the people seemed really friendly and approachable,” Ben said. “Everyone was very open and created an atmosphere that was inviting. I was looking for a university with a strong STEM department that also maintained a liberal arts balance. Wash U fit that perfectly. They foster a collaborative environment which is unique since many upper end schools tend to be cut-throat.”
In his first semester, Ben is taking a diverse number of courses in STEM which include Introduction to Mechanical Engineering, Introduction to Computer Science, Physics I, and Calculus III. By casting a wider net, he hopes to gain greater perspective on what he wants to pursue. However, Ben emphasized that finding the “right fit” will be challenging given how many different subjects he has grown to enjoy. Randolph High School has played a large role in this expansive view by offering a large array of course options that he was able to take. “Throughout high school, I explored almost every advanced placement science and math class that was offered. I found my favorites to be Calculus, Advanced Placement Biology, and Advanced Placement Physics mainly because I loved the intensity and the rigor that accompanied them all. While taking Mr. Horner’s programming class my senior year, I found a new passion. He turned me onto a new subject that I had not previously considered, and I am now leaning towards a career in a computer science field.”
Ben believes that “knowing oneself is one of the most important if not the most important traits someone can have.” For this reason, although he hasn’t found exactly what he wants to pursue, he knows who he is and what he values. He learned throughout his high school career that staying true to what your passions are can help you achieve your fullest potential. “When I started my freshman year, I was taking a broad range of classes from Honors English and Advanced Placement World History to Honors Biology and Geometry. Truly, a very rigorous schedule for a freshman. However, towards the end of my high school experience, I began to drop classes that I was not interested in so I could focus on what I enjoy. By dropping those classes, I was able to focus on my passions and my interests which ultimately led me to enjoy high school more than I would have. I would tell an incoming freshman student to find their passion or what they're interested in and explore it. If one does not know their limitations, they can burn out from overworking themselves”
Over the course of his time at RHS, Ben was very involved in multiple honors societies as well as the Boys Ice Hockey team which won the State Championship this past spring. He was even a teacher for PAWS which helped inspire his passions as a child. While leaving Randolph won’t be easy, he is thankful for the impact this community has had on his life. “What I will remember most about my time in Randolph is that the teachers cared about their students and had a passion for what they’re doing. They love educating and being around the youth, and their passion showed in the classroom. They made the topics interesting and made me curious as to what is next. To me, those passionate teachers are the ones that will carry the legacy of RHS. My favorite though has to be Sra. Ferrentino. She was my Spanish 3 and 4 honors teacher, and she created a collaborative, friendly, academic environment where she cared about each and every one of her students. Over the few years I had her, she became a friend with whom you could talk to anything about and she would always listen. She eventually wrote my letter of recommendation and we still communicate to this day. We invited her to the Ice Hockey Teacher Appreciation Day even though she left last year.”
Ben credits much of his success and values in life to his family. “My family is very important to me. Throughout my entire life, my parents have pushed me to become the man I am today. They are the source of all my success, for without them, I would not have had any direction to go. My siblings provide me with a comedic relief that I ever so desperately need at times, and of course, my pets give their unconditional love. They truly are the best support team there is...I am looking forward to the new environment. Growing up in Randolph I have been surrounded by roughly the same individuals all my life. By traveling 14 hours away, I will experience an entirely different world. I am very excited to embark on this new adventure, meet new people, and find my place.”
Congratulations Ben and best wishes at Wash U!