Not many college sophomores can say that they own and operate their own business. Even fewer have written and published a novel. But for Templeton scholar Brent Keath, these two accomplishments are simply part of the daily routine of studying and creating, learning and innovating.
Hailing from Ephrata, Pennsylvania, Brent is currently pursuing a degree in mathematics alongside his Templeton coursework. Recalling his childhood hobbies, Brent mentions that he was always creating things, be they imaginary places, video games, or websites. “My friends and I played a lot of games where we would imagine worlds and pretend to be characters. One day, my friend Josiah looked at me and said, ‘You should start writing this down.’” And so, in middle school, Brent began writing a novel. Around the same time he created a video game to play with his friends as well as a public online game server.
Creativity, however, is useless unless it is properly channeled. In high school, Brent enrolled in several business classes, and integrating his creativity and innovation with the hands-on business skills that he had acquired, he developed an app-design company. Currently, Brent and his team of employees design apps for business and nonprofit companies. For his outstanding proposal regarding the acquisition and redistribution of game apps, Brent won the 2014 Eastern Shark Tank, an annual competition in which participants compete to prove their entrepreneurial skills by presenting business models to a panel of outside judges. Concurrently, Brent finished the revision process and self-published his first novel.
Having finished his second and third novels, Brent is currently in both the revision stage of writing and the preparation stage of his next entrepreneurial step: a marketing company that will complement his app development company. “I’m currently going through some online courses in marketing and web development to get a feel for how to market a restaurant and a nonprofit. I’d like to try my hand at finance eventually,” he says. One might wonder: why is this enterprising student majoring in mathematics? Brent explains that math teaches him how to think analytically in a manner that entrepreneurial studies might not. “When I go through a proof, I start with axioms and theorems, and I have to reach a conclusion. When I develop an app, I have to plan out the most efficient way to design the app. As I learn more about math, I learn everything else faster,” he says.
Brent shares that the integration of systematic and philosophical thought has yielded notable benefits in his academic journey. “In Templeton, I think abstractly and openly, while math requires me to think logically and systematically. When I integrate the two, I reach a new level of thought that I really appreciate.” With his love for design and his spark of imagination, Brent brings something unique to the Templeton community: an example of unassuming ingenuity, of creating for creation’s sake.
Article by Abigail Storch (’16): Abbie is a Templeton scholar, majoring in English with a literature concentration and minoring in vocal music. She spent the fall of 2014 as a visiting student at the University of Oxford, where she won the Frederick Buechner Prize for Creative Writing and the de Jager Award for Excellence in Research at Wycliffe Hall. Her research interests lie in the intersection between religion and literature, a subject she hopes to pursue at the graduate level. To read more of Abbie’s writing, visit her blog at www.abbiestorch.wordpress.com.