A Profile of Brennon T. Williams, Techie Entrepreneur

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Last spring, Brennon presented his blog twice: first to his 200 fellow students in the Middle School and then to approximately 50 of his school’s trustees, past and present. During his presentation, Brennon spoke about his passion for science, his commitment to thinking outside of the box, and his entrepreneurial spirit. It is a very significant understatement to say that both his fellow students and the trustees were astounded by Brennon’s drive, creativity and command of highly complex and varied disciplines. He simply amazed us all.

Anecdotes about Brennon from his friend Micah Rosales

Earlier this year, as we were just starting out our high school career, Brennon was trying to convince us to join him in going to some of the lunchtime clubs that our school offers. Naturally, Brennon leaned towards some of the scientific clubs, and one day at lunch, he asked me if I wanted to go to “The Neighborhood” club. When I asked him what they did there, he told me that the just played cool games and had good food. Unfortunately, I had already heard of the club, which was actually the math and science club, where the members are introduced to intriguing math problems. At first I just thought it was comical that he tried to trick me into going to a math club with him, but it became even funnier as time grew on. After he had attended the club, he came back and reported with genuine disgust that there was a “nerd hierarchy” in the club, and that the “followernerds” were afraid of the “leader nerds.” That is one of the things that I find very interesting about Brennon: he is incredibly talented at his work especially in the scientific field, however he is still very personable, and even though some of his work or projects could be classified as “nerdy,” he is almost as far from a stereotypical “nerd” as I can think of. His interests range from tennis and golf (some wrestling too), to robotics. If you asked him, “What did you do over the weekend Brennon?” he might give his casual-but-still-stunning reply, “Oh, I programmed the micro-controller for my autonomous robot.”

Anecdotes about Brennon from his friend Daniel Breyer

Before meeting Brennon, I was certain that I was our middle school’s debate champion. Yet, after hearing him obliterate my opening argument in a 7th grade debate, it became clear that I was off by a long shot. His gifted way with words, and skillfully formed rebuttals, truly caused astonishment. Prior to this occasion, I had dubbed Brennon as the science guy. Now, I realize his talents go far beyond making robots and ranting about physics – although he is quite good at those things too. Brennon is a one-of-a-kind guy with a one-of-a-kind brain. I am honored to be his friend.

Anecdotes about Brennon from Erin Brigham, Middle School Director, Menlo School

I am happy to write to you about one of my all time favorite students, Brennon Williams. Brennon is a fierce debater. I ran debate club in the Middle School for the last two years, and Brennon attended almost every meeting without fail. He was quick on his feet, and used fact and humor to eviscerate his opponent. After his opponent would speak, he would face the student audience, laughing in disbelief at whatever had been said, and begin, "Ladies and Gentlemen," and then would proceed to tear each of his opponent's points into ribbons. His favorite debate and one he would have anytime, anywhere was PC vs. Mac. He is a PC guy down to the bone.

I believe Brennon was most impressive in his deliverance of a speech at a student assembly as an eighth grader. He spoke to 6th, 7th and 8th graders about pursuing their passions and his start-up of a small business. He also spoke about his quarterly science publication and the Website he created. This could have been a lecture at a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) Conference. He spoke easily and earnestly about his passion for science; it takes great bravery to address a middle school audience when you are a middle schooler yourself. Students and faculty were moved and impressed.

Phil Shapiro

The blogger is an educator and technology commentator in the Washington DC-area. He can be reached at philshapiroblogger@gmail.com and on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/philshapiro

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