What motivated you or inspired you to go into your field?
I have always loved math and was good at explaining things to my friends. I got into CS because of two college classes (Visual Basic) and C++ that I loved. It just made sense to me and I love helping kids create things.
What were the first few steps you took to pursue your field in STEM?
I went to Towson and got a Math degree and a certification in secondary education. When I transferred to Dulaney from middle school in 2005 I told them I was interested in teaching computer science. In 2007 I brought the Visual Basic course to Dulaney. I took over the AP course in 2009.
What has been the most rewarding about your career?
I love seeing students succeed, especially students who aren’t typical computer science students. I have nearly doubled the number of girls in CS for the past few years. I have more underrepresented minorities every year as well. It is just so exciting to see a student realize that they can succeed in a STEM course when before they weren’t encouraged to do so.
What motto or core values do you live by?
Pick your battles. You won’t win all of them so only fight the ones worth fighting. Stand up for yourself. Respect everyone and hope they respect you in return.
What kind of obstacles are in store for today’s young women? What are some words of advice you believe will help girls today overcome these obstacles?
Women are still viewed as inferior and unable to perform in STEM fields. I think there are a lot more societies devoted to helping women succeed today than there ever were. Girls should seek out other girls/women in the STEM field as mentors. I encourage girls to take classes together so they aren’t singled out by the males.
Why is it important to close the gender gap in STEM fields? Why are education and inclusion for girls pursuing STEM necessary?
Women have different abilities and perspectives than men do. They bring a lot of different insights to the stem field. Women see the global perspective and are often more holisitic while I feel men tend to focus on the specifics (in programming at least). I think women and men compliment each other to create the whole picture. Girls are still intimidated by a classroom full of boys. I think we need to show the boys that we are just as capable as they are. Sometimes I think same-sex classrooms work better for STEM courses so the girls aren’t as intimidated and the boys are able to focus more on their schoolwork.