A Man of Princeton

Math, Computer Science Senior Accepted Into Ivy League


Photo Courtesy of Cheri Whalen

Seniors Sage Langenfeld, Josh Kolenbrander, Thien Le and junior Gabe Underwood attend the UIL state meet where Kolenbrander got fifth in Computer Science.

Jalen Gomez, Reporter

Princeton is one of the most nationally recognized colleges in the world. It’s a school that has been associated with two U.S. Presidents, 12 Supreme Court Justices and numerous living billionaires among their alumni. This is a group that senior Josh Kolenbrander is joining in the fall.

Kolenbrander is a student that has been ahead of the math curriculum for the majority of his life. After moving to Austin in seventh grade, he tested out of Algebra I and Geometry to take Algebra II, and then took Precalculus as an eighth grader. 

“I took Statistics freshman year, and Calculus sophomore year, so after I exhausted the math courses, I went in as a student aid for math teachers, and then started to teach myself whatever I felt like during those class periods,” Kolenbrander said.

According to Kolenbrander, he first became interested in math in elementary school, but he didn’t focus on it until middle school.

“I thought it was just a passing interest and it was something I happened to be good at, so I didn’t think much of it,” Kolenbrander said. “The time I started to get serious about it was in middle school, when I started to do math contests and started to push myself to learn things about math that I wouldn’t learn in school.”

Kolenbrander became involved with the UIL Academics team for both mathematics and computer science, getting his footing in both groups early in high school. 

“UIL Math, I got started in during freshman year,” Kolenbrander said. “Some seniors told me about it and I figured why not, I’ll try it out. Then after that year, I started to captain the team.”

“It feels good,” Kolenbrander said. “I wasn’t expecting it, so it was a nice surprise. I’m studying math at Princeton, pure math. Hopefully, that could lead a to a career in Academia or software.”

After he became a captain, the trajectory of the team changed for the better, according to Kolenbrander. This year, the computer science team became the 2019 UIL Regional Champion, and at the State meet, Kolenbrander placed fifth in UIL Computer Science.

“Our first major success was making it to the regional meet for all math events,” Kolenbrander said. “And then my junior year, we made it to State as a team for Number Sense, which was a great accomplishment. It was like the culmination of two years of work, so that was quite satisfying.”

Because of his interest in computer science, Kolenbrander became involved with the robotics team, where he got to work his way up in software.

“I joined the club in tenth grade, as a member of the software team,” Kolenbrander said. “I continued to do it because I really liked it, and this year I became a software lead. It was also a big year for Robotics, as this was the first time we qualified for Worlds since our rookie year in 2014.”

Kolenbrander said he first got accepted into UT and UT Dallas in the fall for computer science, and then got into Rice in the spring for computer science and finally Princeton for math.

“It feels good,” Kolenbrander said. “I wasn’t expecting it, so it was a nice surprise. I’m studying math at Princeton, pure math. Hopefully, that could lead to a career in Academia or software.”