Isaiah Spencer-Williams, who turned 19 on July 5, has already compiled a scholarly dossier akin to someone twice his age.
He served as a teaching assistant during 2015 with INVESTING NOW, the University of Pittsburgh’s pre-college summer enrichment program for diverse high school students who have an interest in engineering. A previous participant himself, he served as a mentor for the program’s student advisory board.
A National Honor Society inductee, Spencer-Williams was among the top 20 students in his class at Central Catholic High School, where he graduated with honors before entering the University of Pittsburgh to study engineering.
The East Pittsburgh resident stumbled upon his affinity for the sciences as a grade school student at St. James Catholic School in Wilkinsburg, now Sister Thea Bowman Catholic Academy, where he participated in a science fair. Spencer-Williams was so focused on his project and demonstrated such an innate skill that his science teacher suggested he consider becoming an engineer. He admits that at the time he didn’t know anything about what it meant to be an engineer.
“Honestly, I had to look up engineering when she suggested it to me as a field of study. I was instantly intrigued,” Spencer-Williams says. “I loved solving problems, and I’m obsessed with getting answers. Once I start I will not stop — especially if I know I have the tools and am equipped to come up with the answer. This and my love of math drew me the rest of the way into the decision to study engineering.”