Steve Krouse began taking IMACS computer science classes in sixth grade. Almost 20 years later, having built a successful career as a software engineer and serial entrepreneur, Steve continues to reap the benefits of his IMACS education. His latest venture, Zaplib, makes it easy to build performance-intensive applications in the browser. In today’s blog post, Steve explains why every parent should enroll their child in IMACS.
When I walked into the IMACS Computer Science classroom for the first time, I was a 6th grader at Pine Crest School, struggling to get B’s in pre-algebra, which was one year behind the “smart kids.” I described myself as “bad at math” and math as my “least favorite subject in school.” My grades were a smattering from B-’s to A-’s.
I graduated high school with straight A’s and A+’s, a 1600 SAT score, and the award for being the top math student in my class. Math had become my favorite subject, and I went to the University of Pennsylvania to study Computer Science. At Penn, I skipped all of the intro Computer Science classes, and excelled in upper- and grad-level courses as a freshman. Halfway through my sophomore year, I was recruited to work at Looker, a high-growth tech company that would sell to Google for $3B.
IMACS gave me half of a top university education in Computer Science before I was old enough to drive.
All this I credit to my IMACS education. They taught me to think critically, to solve problems, be resourceful, and be able to teach myself virtually anything. They fostered my intellectual curiosity and love for rigorous ideas. Last but not least, in my estimation they gave me half of a top university education in Computer Science. They accomplished all this before I was old enough to get my drivers’ license.
What do Leo Tolstoy, Marie Curie, Friedrich Nietzsche, Ada Lovelace, Karl Marx, James Maxwell, Mary Shelley, Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin all have in common? In a recent article, Why we stopped making Einsteins, Erik Hoel argues that geniuses of the past had “aristocratic tutoring”:
“Let us call this past form aristocratic tutoring, to distinguish it from a tutor you meet in a coffee shop to go over SAT math problems while the clock ticks down. It’s also different than “tiger parenting,” which is specifically focused around the resume padding that’s needed for kids to meet the impossible requirements for high-tier colleges. Aristocratic tutoring was not focused on measurables. Historically, it usually involved a paid adult tutor, who was an expert in the field, spending significant time with a young child or teenager, instructing them but also engaging them in discussions, often in a live-in capacity, fostering both knowledge but also engagement with intellectual subjects and fields.”
This is the level of education I got at IMACS. The self-paced classroom at IMACS, sometimes called the “flipped classroom” – students read content at their own pace and use the teacher for questions and discussions vs a lecture/homework model – is beginning to gain in popularity, but IMACS has been doing it for decades. I believe this teaching style, paired with IMACS’s interactive, self-paced online courses, and a deep understanding of the best cutting-edge educational principles and philosophy, is what allows IMACS to scale an “aristocratic tutoring”-level of education.
IMACS is the very best at teaching rigorous critical and mathematical thinking.
I believe so strongly in the power of this education that I started my own after-school Computer Science program in New York City, directly-inspired by IMACS. I sought to take what IMACS did for me, and repackage some of those lessons in a way that would engage a broader range of students. While I am incredibly proud of the program we developed at The Coding Space, I still believe IMACS is the very best at teaching rigorous critical and mathematical thinking. I’ve since worked with some of the best Computer Science educators and programs around the country, and I have yet to find any program that holds a candle to IMACS. The impact IMACS aims to have on their students is simply of a different class than any other educational program I’ve ever found – and I looked.
IMACS knows the potential of the human intellect and have made it their life’s work to unlock it.
They operate at such a high level that it is difficult to communicate how much better they are than a typical “after-school coding program.” IMACS reliably takes bright kids and makes them what people call “genius”. What they regularly do, and have been quietly doing for decades, borders on the unbelievable. Frankly, it may seem like magic. It’s not magic. They just know the potential of the human intellect and have made it their life’s work to unlock it. They have succeeded – in me and so many others.
We need more people in this world with an IMACS education.
I recommend their courses to every parent, every chance I get. We need more people in this world with an IMACS education. I am thrilled that one of the positive outcomes of the COVID pandemic is that IMACS has perfected bringing their courses online & remote. The education that I got in South Florida is now available to every student with a computer and internet connection. If you care about your child’s education, if you want your child to love math, science, engineering, and become a life-long learner, sign them up for IMACS.
IMACS Graduate and Tech Entrepreneur