Part of being the “computer kid” growing up in a rural area is that you learn very quickly how to communicate technical things to non-technical people. I was “that kid” that knew how “to do computers” all throughout my life growing up in a small farm community in Iowa. Because of this, I also have an innate desire to teach and mentor. In college I was a TA for 1st and 2nd semester Iowa State Computer Science students when I was only a 3rd semester undergrad.
To scratch this itch today, I like to volunteer in my community to educate students about programming, mobile programming, and computer technology in general. As of late, I have found the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) initiative here in Minnesota to be a good outlet for this. I have signed up on GetStem-MN.com as receive “asks” every so often that request presenters for a career fair, expo, and the like.
When I go to these, I usually like to show off small, simple Windows Phone or Windows 8 apps and make the point to the students that the tools to make these apps – on any platform – are entirely free for them to download and get started with. Many times this comes as quite the surprise that they could write their own mobile apps for free!
Events I have presented at in the past include
- Career Fairs
- 2013 Minneapolis Public Schools STEM Expo
- Classroom-based career exploration for at-risk students
- Intro to Computers students (high school)
- AP Computer Programming students (high school)
If you think you’d like a real-life app programmer present to your students, drop me a line on the contact page! I’m more than happy to answer questions, show examples, even do a step-by-step. If you’re interested in my background as a software engineer and how I got where I am today, check out the About Me page.