EDMOND — Courtney Walker didn't need career aptitude tests.
But like all middle and high school students, Walker took them, and the results always confirmed what she already knew — that she was born to build things.
“I always got engineering, and math and science type stuff,” Walker said of the tests.
But long before she completed those assessments, there was plenty of anecdotal evidence.
Like the funny hats she'd make for her mom out of random things she'd find around the house.
Tonda Walker remembers the tall top hats her daughter would bring her, banded together with duct tape.
Courtney recalls making sailor hats by stapling pieces of felt together.
Then, there was the motorized scooter Tonda gave 7-year old Courtney.
Courtney took it in the garage, unbeknown to her mother, and deconstructed it to see if she could put it back together.
“There were little pieces everywhere in the garage,” Tonda remembered.
Courtney said, “I messed that one up, but I've always just messed with things and built little things.”
Courtney's more well-known uses of her head and hands take place on the basketball court.
As a junior, she led Edmond Santa Fe to the Class 6A state championship and was The Oklahoman's Super Five Girls Player of the Year.
As a senior, Walker has the undefeated Wolves thinking repeat. She signed to play college basketball at Texas A&M in November.
One of her biggest reasons for choosing the Aggies over offers from Baylor, Oklahoma and Oklahoma State was Texas A&M's engineering program.
“Texas was the only school that I was getting recruited by that was ranked higher in engineering than A&M,” Walker said.
Her high-school course load has included several Advanced Placement classes, physics and calculus. Walker is the exact opposite of a stereotypical star athlete — she has always loved and been good at math and science.
Entering the seventh grade, Walker was testing at a 10th-grade math level.
“I told her in seventh grade, ‘I can't help you anymore,'” Tonda Walker said.
Courtney Walker is concurrently enrolled this year at the University of Central Oklahoma, where two days a week she takes general studies courses such as English and history.
“She's knocking her core hours out, the ones she thinks will be the most boring,” Tonda Walker said with a laugh.
Courtney Walker, who was officially accepted into Texas A&M's engineering program last month, expects to be almost a sophomore in credit hours when she starts fall classes.
From there, she can work toward her goal of graduating in three years and starting on a graduate degree while still on her athletic scholarship.
And when she's done playing basketball, the little girl who dismantled a small vehicle and created silly hats plans to design infrastructures like roads, bridges, canals and skyscrapers as a civil engineer.
But before she can do any of that, she has unfinished business at Edmond Santa Fe.
“We are just trying to focus and stay focused,” Walker said of her team's title run. “You look at teams like Baylor and UConn, or the Miami Heat. When you're ranked No. 1 or projected to win, you have to block everybody out. Keep working hard and don't settle in.”