The Christian Science Monitor : 2020-12-07

16 : 16 : 16


PEOPLE MAKING A DIFFERENCE WEST WINDSOR, N.J. With in the tutoring seat, computer science becomes kids’ stuff Samvit Agarwal By Sarah Matusek / Staff writer “It was quite fun knowing that in class we might be making something cool,” says Aarav, now 13, who studied with the program through the summer. CS Remastered founder Samvit Agarwal took extra time to explain to Aarav the coding concept of recursion – something even college students are still learning. It took two or three private lessons with exercises that increased in difficulty, but Aarav eventually nailed it. Because, he says, Samvit was “very patient ... very good at explaining stuff.” Samvit’s brand of patience is the root of the program that brings computer savvy to kids through individual­ized attention they may not get in school. Samvit, a 17-year-old high school senior, is a computer science ace, a programmin­g polyglot who started the volunteer teaching program in 2018. And he has grown it into a service for 300 kids like Aarav, with 250 volunteer tutors. As much as Samvit likes challengin­g himself, he says his program focuses on “helping out some of the kids around me.” The impulse to serve others is driven in part by the Hindu community spirit of his upbringing, Samvit says. He plans to focus on creating social impact in college as he studies computer science and business further. He’s already thinking about the possibilit­y of opening up another CS Remastered chapter wherever he moves next. Samvit describes a life steeped in technology. Raised between his parents’ Indian homeland and the United States, he has observed their software consulting careers and takes part in dinner conversati­ons about technology’s impact on the world. He describes an “aha” moment in fourth grade when a robot he built over the course of a month from a Lego Mindstorms kit whirred to life on his bedroom floor. “It was pretty amazing to see it walk,” says Samvit. By the age of 12, he had started a YouTube channel meant to help friends and family with their technical issues. His how-to tech videos, which feature steps for resetting passwords on a range of devices, have attracted more than 14,000 subscriber­s. Sanyukta Agarwal de- F or the past two years, since fifth grade, Aarav Khatri woke up on the weekends excited for more classes. Separate from his schoolwork, his weekend computer science classes – given for free by the nonprofit CS Remastered (“CS” for computer science) – were taught by local teen volunteers at a few libraries in central New Jersey. With the guidance of tutors and his laptop, Aarav unlocked a limitless world, where lines of code could identify prime numbers, design dictionari­es, or spit out a Fibonacci sequence. SARAH MATUSEK/THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR STEEPED IN TECH: Samvit Agarwal, a 17-year-old tech whiz from New Jersey, juggles his own computer studies with running a nonprofit he founded to teach his peers high-tech skills. 16 THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR WEEKLY | DECEMBER 7, 2020 PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTE­D BY PRESSREADE­R PressReade­ +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW