My name is Karenna and I am a junior at Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School in Rochester, New York. I take the IB Mathematics HL course on Pamoja. Outside of school, I am a varsity rower, I play cello in a piano trio, and I am a member of the mechanical sub-team of a FIRST Robotics Team, the Wilson X-Cats.

I have always been interested in STEM and specifically mathematics, from taking math courses during the summer to participating in my robotics team. I love the logic and the challenge surrounding each process in math. As I advance in math, I have started to learn the ‘why’ behind processes that I took for granted and delve into the reason behind math, which is part of the reason why I have been enjoying this IB course so much. IB teaches me, not only to do, but to constantly question and evaluate my thought processes. In the context of math, this translates into learning the history about formulas and how they were developed as well as gaining vital communication skills.

In terms of the Pamoja course, the teachers are extremely clear and available for questions. The group discussion forums and projects are one of my favourite parts because they allow you to interact with students from around the world. For example, in my group project right now, there is a girl living in Barbados. IB promotes intercultural and global understanding and that focus is evident every day that I discuss logarithms with a hundred teenagers from around the world, or am in a live lesson with students from Japan and Argentina, even more than in a standard classroom.

If I had one piece of advice for a new Pamoja student, it would be surrounding time-management. Pamoja is extremely clear about the course timeline week by week, but when you don’t have a classroom teacher nagging you about your workload, it becomes much more about self-motivation. This is an extremely important skill for the future, so working on developing it now will only help you in the long run! Make sure you stay on top of the timeline and are clear and communicative with your Pamoja teacher because this not only increases you understanding of concepts, it also allows you to develop your communication skills.

Given I am a student athlete, I thought I was previously good at time management, but taking an online course has pushed me to prioritize and develop my own schedules. It is more flexible than a formal class, which allows you to do lessons at home or on weekends, which is advantageous for me with such a busy schedule. The self-driven aspect of the course has also pushed me to understand the concepts even more fully.

Karenna – student at Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School, New York


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