Pleased to Make Your Acquaintance

Hello, the internet.

My name is Eileen. I’m a native Chicagoan (IMSA ’08) transplanted in Minnesota (St. Olaf ’13), and when I grow up, I want to teach middle school computer programming.

It took me a surprisingly long time to figure that out, all things considered: I’ve wanted to be a teacher for as long as I’ve known what a school was, and I read this book cover to cover until it was in tatters. But I didn’t realize until I was nearly done with a degree in computer science and a K-12 ESL license that I could combine these two lifelong loves – and not only that I could, but that it seemed clear that more people should.

That realization and subsequent research culminated in an opportunity to give a TED-style talk on the subject shortly before my graduation (available here; just scroll down to my name, and try not to judge my aggressively poor posture too hard). Whether you watch it or not, the core points to take away are these: CS ed matters because the fact that only 10% of schools offer sufficient early access to the future of lucrative careers is a profound injustice, and I believe the fear-based and defeatist language we use about technology has a more powerful effect than we realize.

Since then, I’ve gotten to contribute to curricular modules for teaching college students about parallel and distributed computing, to write and teach Scratch-based elementary school video game design camps, and to work on getting middle schoolers to see themselves as potential programmers and mathematicians. I’m now volunteering locally and finishing up syllabi for a handful of community ed classes, and this site exists to share  the things that I’m learning, trying, and thinking along the way. I hope you’ll join me in conversation – the point, after all, of diversifying the tech world is the richness of a breadth of perspectives, and a tech ed blog is no different.

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