The real test of a high school education is how it plays out afterward. CAN graduates are successful, hardworking, and are making contributions in diverse fields. Here are just a few of the many paths taken by Concept Alumni.

Alumni Spotlight
(Week of September 19, 2016)

Brandon Wilhoite

Brandon Wilhoite is an alumnus of Chicago Math and Science Academy (CMSA), Class of 2013. Currently, Brandon is attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and majoring in Political Science with minors in Islamic World Studies and Global Studies.

Briefly describe your career path.
I’m currently a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and I’m majoring in Political Science with minors in Islamic World Studies and Global Studies. On campus, I’m also the president of my university’s multicultural club which has over 250 students and promotes racial and ethnic unity. Being a senior now, I’m going to graduate in less than a year. That to me is completely terrifying, but it is also a tremendous accomplishment because I will be the first person in my family to finish college. So needless to say, after college, I have a lot of plans and hopefully they will lead me to working in politics.
What are you passionate about in your work/school?
In my school work, I am very passionate about learning about our society and how it works to be able to make a lasting impact for those who have been disenfranchised (economically, socially etc.). I think of all the hard work that I have put in as a way to better myself and others around me. I see a lot of injustices in our society and not enough people willing to put in the time and effort needed to make an actual change.
Where is your career headed?
With my major and my skill set, I could go to law school or I could get directly involved in politics after college. But either way, my career will definitely be in politics and civil service. Hopefully one day I’ll become a congressman or a senator.
How has your Concept Schools (CMSA) experience helped shape your success?
I can say that my high school experience at Chicago Math and Science Academy has had a profound effect on my character and is a big reason why I’m interested in civil service. I know that I would not be the person that I am today without those experiences. CMSA gave me the opportunity to go abroad and learn about Turkish culture and language, which I am still pursuing. My teachers also gave me the opportunity to think about the world in analytical manner which prepared me for the analytical thinking that takes place in political science.
How are you a game changer? Or, how are you making a positive impact in your community?
I am a game changer. Not only because I attend a prestigious university, or that I’ll be the first one in my family to graduate, or even that I am the president of my university’s multicultural club which aims at changing social norms. I am a game changer because I have the motivation and the drive to enact change. I am not the person who sits on the sidelines waiting for things to change around me. If I want to see change happen in my community, I am willing to work toward that change and think of constructive ways to make it happen. I am a very result-based person and that is what makes me a game changer.
What is your advice for current Concept Students?
My advice for current Concept students would be to (1) put in work and (2) have fun. Seriously, because college is not easy; the homework in high school even though it is tedious and annoying, can be very beneficial to you in the future. In high school and even now in college, there are so many other things you want to do other than study or do homework, but if you do it, it will eventually pay off. Trust me!

Concept Alumni Network (CAN) invites suggestions for Alumni Spotlights!
Do you know a Concept Alum(s) who has:
  • An interesting job?
  • An extraordinary story to tell?
  • Made a difference in his/her community?
  • Been a role model for others?
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