The Wondrous World of Wolfie: A Profile of Taj Wolfgang Jethwani-Keyser ’23

Taj Jethwani-Keyser ’23 is a testament to Bronx Science’s brilliant student body, who are driven each day to achieve something greater, as well as the way in which the institution fosters growth by providing opportunities to challenge oneself.

Taj Wolfgang Jethwani-Keyser ’23 advises students at Bronx Science to pursue their passions and to take advantage of the many opportunities at Bronx Science. “I highly recommend that you try to do as much after school as possible, either in clubs or just hanging out with friends. Yes it makes it harder to get all your work done, but the experience is so much more enjoyable.”

Shahabir Sami

Taj Wolfgang Jethwani-Keyser ’23 advises students at Bronx Science to pursue their passions and to take advantage of the many opportunities at Bronx Science. “I highly recommend that you try to do as much after school as possible, either in clubs or just hanging out with friends. Yes it makes it harder to get all your work done, but the experience is so much more enjoyable.”

Gaining acceptance to this institution known as Bronx Science was, to many, the basis of triumph for that first day of school, which was laden with emotions. But, for others such as Taj Wolfgang Jethwani-Keyser ’23, it was only the first step to achieving more academically and after graduation, professionally.  

“It’s all a part of the system, you know. We wake up and go to school each day. These days, a typical day is just getting up at 6:20 in the morning, going to school, then coming home at five or six and doing homework in my room till 9 or 10. There isn’t too much time to do anything else. When I have a free day, I read, go out with friends, or work on personal computer science projects. Even though what we learn in advanced mathematics classes or the inner workings of the field of biochemistry may not be particularly relevant to us in different parts of our lives, we are still being taught how to think. We are still being acculturated into well-rounded individuals with a strong sense of both sciences along with humanities. This is what helps us in the real world — the ability to make sound decisions,” said Wolfie ’23 (“Wolfie” is Taj’s preferred nickname, which comes from his middle name “Wolfgang”).

I’m the first person in my family to go to a New York City public high school. My grandfather immigrated from India, went to university in Kansas, and eventually moved to New York City. My father came to the United States as a refugee from the Soviet Union in the 1970s.” Wolfie’s humble beginnings made him want to take advantage of the opportunities at Bronx Science. 

The ample resources available at our school, as Wolfie notes, in the form of varied clubs, informative events, the eclectic student body, the diverse and challenging courses offered in both the STEM and humanities fields, and the dedicated teachers, make all the difference. He believes that everybody, especially students who are underclassmen, should take part in a variety of activities in order to develop their interests and passions.

Wolfie struggled with this as he graduated middle school with a class of 16 other students. “I thought it would be difficult to transition to Bronx Science, as I wasn’t familiar with going to such a large school. But, by that point, I just wanted to try something new,” recalled Wolfie. “I think that Bronx Science is a lot easier to adapt to than people think, as long as you’re willing to put the time and effort into studying and meeting new people.”

After a period of searching and trying out different activities, Bronx Science’s Speech and Debate team would go on to become Wolfie’s passion; he has won several awards and recognitions such as placing ninth place overall in the Congressional House debate of the Regis Winter Classic in 2019, seventh place in the Regis Christmas Chlassic and Blake Tournaments of 2020, and receiving an honor in the waitlist for the 2021 Tournament of Champions.

“From the beginning and still today, debate is a huge time commitment and requires a lot of effort. Congress is great, and most of my best friends are on the team, but you have to be ready for some emotional lows (and highs) with the constant work and competition,” said Wolfie.

Passion alone does not suffice. Diligence, perseverance, and dedication are among the traits necessary to have a beneficial time at Bronx Science. These traits will continue with us as we pursue our future careers, as they are foundational to success.

“I think that Bronx Science has basically everything that you might be interested in, so it’s just a matter of how much you put into it. When I first came, I joined the Debate team, and I decided to start the Cybersecurity Club in my sophomore year. That’s another great opportunity you have here. Any time you can’t find something you like, you can just make a new club or suggest it to the school. I also decided to take research and some other electives, which I highly recommend,” said Wolfie. 

As the president of the Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking Club, Wolfie looks to bring together like-minded individuals who share a passion for computer science. “I’ve always just thought computers were cool, so I got into computer science in middle school and found that I liked it a lot. Honestly, you can just watch a few YouTube tutorials on Javascript or Python and see if you like them. It just clicked for me.”

“I hope to create something that can bring the programmers of Bronx Science together. There are a lot of us. We should support each other in this field in order to ensure that more people are conscious of the fastest advancements in the world. Even if you do not plan on pursuing computer science or programming, you should still join the Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking Club to learn more about the field and how you can stay safe amid tech-savvy individuals who look to take advantage of people less well-versed in the field.”

The Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking Club, which meets Fridays in Room 231 after 10th period, board members are secretary Johann Paul (left), President Shaun Karani (center), and President Wolfie (right). (Shahabir Sami)

Individuals with similar aspirations band together to push each other to achieve new skills, and the Cybersecurity and Ethical Club nurtures the passion for computer science. “School is so much more enjoyable, and I’ve found a lot of people with similar interests because of the community. There’s also a sense of unity surrounding workloads and worries,” said Wolfie.

I want even more computer science programs, so I wanted to help get that started.” Wolfie’s transformation of programming-orientated after-school programs may be the deciding factor for a student who may not be sure if the route of computers is for them.

“The cybersecurity club is basically just a space for people to learn and explore computer science. We focus on cybersecurity topics, like capture the flag competitions, but we also discuss programming and more general computer concepts. It’s great because you don’t need any experience to join. We cover everything relevant, and all of our activities are designed to be done even without experience.”

In pursuit of doing what he loves, Wolfie worked around the barriers and created a new path — a new path that will inevitably encourage unsure, but passionate students to the field. 

Dear students of Bronx Science, love the struggle. Find your passions and stop at nothing to pursue them. Similar to how Wolfie changed the game of Bronx Science’s programming enrichment opportunities, you too can bring a change and develop it into something great which many others relate to!

As the president of the Cybersecurity and Ethical Hacking Club, Wolfie looks to bring together like-minded individuals who share a passion for computer science.

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