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Jake Williams

Jake Williams acknowledges that science, technology, math, and engineering were not his strong suits in middle school. “I was drawn to writing and art,” says Jake. “Future City was exciting because – even though it was a STEM competition – it incorporated elements of the subjects I felt more comfortable with. At first I was intimidated by STEM subjects but Future City opened a door into that world.” Jake remembers, “The experience of thinking critically to solve problems, then designing and building something from scratch, made me a better student from middle school all the way through college.”

In 2004-2005, Jake Williams and his teammates from the Svi Generis team, placed first at the Future City Maryland Competition. As part of the prize, they won a trip to compete at Nationals. “The National Competition was so exciting. It was fast paced with an energy and sense of enthusiasm that everyone shared. I met students from all around the country (and world). We came from different backgrounds and cultures, but we quickly bonded over our shared experience of working on our cities for the past 5 months.” 

The National Competition was amazing, but Jake admits that the process of designing and building the city with his team was some of the most fun and valuable parts of the program. “My biggest disappointment with Future City was that I started in 8th grade, so I was too old to compete a second year. I thought that was the end of my time with this awesome program.” 

He was wrong: In February 2017, Jake joined DiscoverE as the Future City Program Coordinator to help organize and run the competition. “I know firsthand what an amazing program this is, so it’s an honor to be a part of it. It’s a wonderfully strange feeling to know that, 12 years ago I was a participant, and now I get to be a part of the team that makes Future City happen each year for a new generation of students.”