Kareem Avdic is immersed in the world of technology


Kareem Avdic

Kareem is working on some electronics and computer programming, his passions.

Right now, there are three phones torn apart on sophomore Kareem Avdic’s desk at home.

Because his family has contracts to transfer to the newest iPhone release, Kareem has accumulated a collection of old phones. But, it isn’t the extent or contents of the collection that Kareem is interested in; rather, he’s fascinated by the inner workings of the objects.

“We have a lot of very old phones,” Kareem said, “and I wanted to know what was [going on inside]. You’re basically holding this brick, and it’s doing things, and I wanted to know how.”

His curiosity then sparked his interest in electronics. He began to take apart the old phones that he had in order to look into their different parts and respective functions.

Not only was Kareem compelled by his desire to understand the workings of his own devices, but he was also inspired by the prevalence of technology.

“Everyone’s growing up around electronics at this point,” Kareem said. “We’re in the age where pretty much everyone I know has had a phone by the age of 10. My interest in [electronics] became more of ‘everyone’s using these, [so] is there anything more I can do with it?’ That spiraled down into me wanting to be able to see every aspect of how it works.”

Then, he wanted to take his curiosity to the next level. Kareem decided to start learning Batch, the coding shell which Windows is built on.

We’re in the age where pretty much everyone I know has had a phone by the age of 10. My interest in [electronics] became more of ‘everyone’s using these, [so] is there anything more I can do with it?’

— Kareem Avdic

When he was ten years old, he found that he was able to run apps through Batch and even print text which he used to construct ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange), which can be used to form pictures composed of keyboard characters.

“I started doing a little ASCII with pipes and underscores to draw maps,” Kareem said, “and [they] would have little text boxes like ‘choose your own adventure’ where you have four different options, and you type in a number [and] hit enter to select that.”

Kareem decided that learning and using certain programs isn’t enough. He also likes to create based on his own ideas. Just as he did with ASCII, when Kareem got Minecraft, he crafted his own work through the existing platform into something entirely new and exciting.

Using Minecraft data packs, a system that runs commands at certain conditions similar to code, Kareem invented a function to rewind time within the game by six seconds.

“[The command] summoned a bunch of invisible entities,” Kareem said. “Let’s number them 1 through 30. 30 would move to where 29 was. 29 would move to where 28 was. [This happened] all the way until 1 moves to where you are. What that effectively created was a list of positions where you had been. Then, when you ran the thing, it would move you to where one, two, three, four, five was. And it looked like you were going back in time.”

He wanted to dive further into this world of code. Thus, Kareem went on to explore different coding languages. He began to delve into computer programming with single-board processors, like Raspberry Pi, for small projects that he could leave running while he was away from his computer. After dabbling a bit in Java and Python, he decided to learn C, which he said is “much, much

This is a picture of some of the code for the ASCII Kareem made when he was ten years old (Kareem Avdic)

older, and very annoying.”

Because of his interest in electronics and programming, it would seem likely that Kareem is planning to enter a career in that field; however, that’s not quite the case.

“Everyone tells me I should go into computer science or something,” Kareem said, “but, generally, I’ve wanted to go more into physics.”

Rather than delve more into coding, Kareem wants to work on physics-related models, such as decay simulations and the electronics behind them. It is in this direction that he hopes to pursue a career.

But, no matter the specific field, Kareem has a love for the victorious finish after the arduous problem-solving that he has found in programming.

“It’s satisfying to see something work,” Kareem said, “but I think that extends beyond computers in general. When you’re working on some kind of tough problem, I think the satisfaction of finding the solution is the best part about it. And then, you see another issue, and you just kind of want to go to bed.”

Despite his sarcastic view on the sometimes unfruitful endeavors, Kareem perseveres nonetheless to find the solutions to the challenges he encounters, with his interest in learning pushing him to reach farther limits.

His passion for electronics, technology, and programming all comes from this very curiosity.

“I have that curiosity,” Kareem said. “I look at something and I want to [know more about it].”