Opening new doors!
As a winner of the NCWIT Award for Aspirations in Computing Educator Award in Puerto Rico, I would like to thank everyone at NCWIT and at Google for the opportunity they are bringing to teachers and young women to really make the difference. Thanks to the Award, many doors were opened to me.
Originally I studied to earn a BA in Biology with a minor in Environmental Sciences. During my years in college, computers were only artifacts for men that it was necessary to understand. But gradually I started to see the utility that they could have in the long-term.
My first experiences in the workplace were with data entry. After graduating as a microbiology laboratory technician, I was amazed how computers made light work of what would have been heavy: research, such as detention and description of bacteria, digital temperature sensors, pH sensors, and more.
Now that I'm into my teaching career, I have a different vision that I present to my students. I try every day to integrate the latest technologies to the classroom. I work with my students on blogs, and I prepare digital lessons, modules, and interactive creative labs to prepare my students for the world outside their windows.
As a result of having won the NCWIT Aspirations in Computing Educator Award, and given my involvement in the PRIOR (Puerto Rico Institute of Robotics) program as a mentor/teacher, I was recommended to participate in the NASA Summer of Innovation. This project is designed to bring STEM to students and to enhance the Writing Skill for Science project, which links computers, science, engineering and mathematics skills with writing.
I spent a week at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center doing a lot of different things an astronaut would do on a "mission." I saw firsthand how women engineers work with the James Webb space telescope. I saw blind teachers leading interactive workshops for students. I saw satellite images processed by a recently installed supercomputer.
For this Puerto Rican teacher -- barely five feet tall, the daughter of poor people, and the only one in my family to finish a college degree -- it was overwhelming. Every day that goes by the NASA experience seems more special. I am very excited to start the new school year and share these experiences with my students.
NCWIT opened the door for me to walk into a field full of new adventures and ideas. I will gather what I can so I can show others what is possible.