When I was nearly eight years old, the Sony Playstation One was the hottest thing on the market for my age group. As my birthday was quickly approaching, I prepared an argument with which I expected to convince my parents to purchase the Playstation as their gift to me. But, when I presented this argument, my mother, who was strongly opposed to video games, vetoed my petition before it could be properly considered. My father, perhaps feeling a little guilty, pulled me aside though, and whispered, "I can teach you how to make games." Since then, I have been using programming to improve my life, as well as the lives of people around me. As I got older, I learned to appreciate non-game programming, and I now enjoy a variety of types of development, with mobile and desktop applications topping my list. As much as my eight-year-old self would loathe to admit it, my parents’ decision shaped my life incredibly for the better; I will never be able to thank them enough for not purchasing that console.
These days, I spend my time thinking of ways that technology can improve the world and of ways we can get more kids involved in math and science organically. I've worked for Oberlin College (my alma mater) as a TA and tutor in CS, for Carnegie Mellon University and University of British Columbia as a researcher and programmer in natural language processing, and I've run my own game studio. I have 12 years of programming experience and 5 years of teaching experience.
Areas of Expertise
Computer Engineer, Computer programming, teaching Programming, Game Development
An idea worth spreading
We should be teaching the STEM fields the same way we teach the creative arts, with a focus on creating and exploring rather than memorizing. We should be handing kids arduinos instead of multiplication tables and chemistry kits instead of teaching formulas. If we want to see the next generation of kids enter science related fields in droves, we need to make them appealing to kids at a young age. We should stop ignoring the "when will we ever need to use this?" question and instead teach things so we can actually answer. And we should stop teaching specifics to kids who only need to understand fundamentals. You don't need to understand derivatives to be able to see that it is useful to see how quickly movement changes. You don't need to be able to recite class hierarchy to understand how creating objects in a programming language opens doors. You do need meaningless symbols and complicated formulas to start hating a subject before you even understand it. We need to reverse our approach
I'm passionate about
educational reform, redesigning the way we teach STEM, gay rights, women's rights, eliminating bigotry, enacting social change (especially via technology),
Talk to me about
Educational reform, changing the world, programming for real world problems, not first world problems, teaching math and CS, being a better activist
People don't know I'm good at
I play violin, guitar, and piano and I write competitive slam poetry. I was trained as a visual artist by my mother since I was very young, and I wanted to be an English major when applying to college