Earlier this semester, high school students in our Engineering Design & Development and Computer Science classes took a break from creating and thinking critically to hear from a Data Scientist and recent Ph.D. graduate who had once sat exactly where they were sitting. This wasn’t a typical classroom lecture for them, however.
Aaron Richter — a Class of 2012 alumnus who attended CCA since he was in kindergarten — reached the pinnacle height of academia last year when he graduated from Florida Atlantic University
with his doctorate. The research he conducted for his doctoral dissertation was on artificial intelligence and electronic health records being used to predict melanoma, which is the most dangerous form of skin cancer.
As a Data Scientist currently employed at Modernizing Medicine
in Boca Raton, he is able to combine the skills he developed over the years in coding, math, and statistics and apply them to the field of health care. His role involves analyzing the patient data that physicians record on the company’s iPad software to ultimately improve patient outcomes.
Even though the plans Aaron had in mind didn’t come to fruition, the Lord had even better blessings up His sleeve.
It goes without saying that Aaron is a well-accomplished man who has achieved so much by the age of 25. But had you asked the high school student he once was if he envisioned himself achieving success in this form, he probably would have laughed in disbelief.
Although he demonstrated academic promise from an early age (did we mention he skipped a grade?) and graduated from CCA with 60 college credits from AP and dual enrollment classes
, he admitted to facing disappointment when he was denied from the prestigious “dream schools”
he had applied to — Carnegie Mellon and MIT. Not knowing what he wanted to do with his college degree was also another point of frustration.
“I don’t know if I would have the opportunities I have now if I didn’t go to school here,”
As time went on, adulthood gave him a fresh perspective that helped him recognize God’s faithfulness and provision during those seasons of uncertainty. Even though the plans Aaron had in mind didn’t come to fruition, the Lord had even better blessings up His sleeve.
By staying local and attending a state school
, Aaron was able to earn three higher education degrees in only seven years, finish his journey in academia completely debt free
, and land a job that he loves.
In hindsight, he has also been able to see how the Lord used CCA and its dedicated teachers, like Mr. Jeff Greene, to positively influence his life. “I don’t know if I would have the opportunities I have now if I didn’t go to school here,” Aaron said.READ: How to Choose a College — What You Really Need to Consider!
While sharing his testimony with the group of high schoolers, he assured them that it’s okay if their ideal life situation doesn’t pan out. Rather than be discouraged, he urged them to keep working hard and focus on developing practical life skills that will serve them well in the future.
“You don't need to have your life figured out now. You're going to get to that place,” he said.
Aaron turned to one of his life verses to not only encourage our students, but to also emphasize what true success should look like for those who love the Lord — students and non-students alike.
“Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” –Joshua 1:8-9