Fascination with cartography, culture prepares future coach
Darnell Brooks loves maps. He got his first taste of cartography as a child flipping through a road map book in his dad’s taxicab. Since then, he’s always been interested in exploring new places.
“I really like dealing with maps and learning about other places and cultures,” says Brooks, a junior majoring in geography at Texas State University. “It’s always been interesting to me to know where I’m going at all times and how other places are different from America. Geography is everywhere.”
Having grown up in San Antonio, Brooks says he has explored “pretty much everywhere in Texas” from his centralized hometown. He’s traveled throughout the southern United States as well. But he followed the path of his father and his older brother – both Texas State alumni – in choosing to be a Bobcat.
“My career goal is to teach geography on the high school level and coach basketball and track and field,” says Brooks, who was inspired by his high school cross-country coach, Kayla Cross. “She really invested her time in me to make sure I was successful on the track and in the classroom. Even when people gave up on me, she didn’t. I figured, why not give back to the community by teaching and coaching up-and-coming athletes.”
Brooks says his university studies and his on-campus activities have prepared him to lead in the classroom and on the sidelines. His involvement with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Hip Hop Congress, Associated Student Government, University Ambassadors and PAWS Preview has given him valuable public speaking and social leadership skills.
A cultural geography class with Dr. Lawrence Estaville left a deep imprint upon Brrooks as a student and as a future educator. Estaville, who has received the distinguished achievement award from the National Council for Geographic Education, is well known at Texas State for his interactive classes.
“There was never a dull moment,” Brooks says of Estaville’s class. “He would always engage the class by asking us questions so we could learn by participating. When I do become a teacher, I probably will follow Dr. Estaville’s model because you learn more and get more out of the class when the students participate. Plus, it will allow me to get to know my students better.“
Eager to be prepared for his future as a coach and teacher, Brooks is mastering his subject matter. He even makes it a point to study collaboratively with his classmates, “so we all can have an understanding of what is going on,” he says.
But, he adds, it isn’t hard to find a warm sense of community at Texas State.
“What I like most about Texas State are the friendly people,” Brooks says. “Since I’ve been here, I have made so many friends. They are always willing to give a helpful hand and just look out for you.”