Posted by CSTA on May 05, 2023
Get to know Microsoft project manager and partner representative board member Jacqueline Russell through this interview!
What is your name, preferred pronouns, title, and place of employment?
Hello! My name is Jacqueline Russell (she/her), and I am a Product Manager at Microsoft focused on empowering the next generation of technology creators.
What’s your favorite CS experience (e.g. teaching, research, other experience related to CS)?
Hmmm… well I have never been a full-time CS teacher, but I love spending time in the classroom – either training teachers, running student workshops or just doing classroom observation and research. That moment when a students’ eyes light up when it finally works never gets old. I didn’t take a CS class myself until college – my high school didn’t offer anything other than keyboarding. But I took an Intro to CS class freshman year on a whim, and it changed the trajectory of my life. I credit my professor (who was a woman) in making the course fun, hands-on, and welcoming to every student in her class.
How long have you been involved in the CSTA?
I went to my first CSTA conference in 2017 and have been involved with the CSTA as a sponsor, partner, volunteer, and member ever since. This is my first year as a board member, and I’m super excited to be able to contribute through this role.
What motivates you to be involved with CSTA?
I think Teachers are the heart of education. Our great ambition to broaden and diversify the technology creators of tomorrow must start with Teachers. And CSTA is the organization that has the most direct impact in supporting, growing, and guiding CS Teachers.
What have you learned that’s most interesting to you either about the CSTA or K-12 CS Education?
I think there is so much innovation and willingness to take risks and deviate from ‘core curriculum’ in K12 CS Education – it’s so wonderful to see this courage in our Teachers to try new things in order to make CS more accessible, equitable and interesting to all students. I would not be surprised if this work in K12 starts to influence how Higher Education CS course are taught!
What do you hope for CS education in the future? How do you believe CSTA will help in achieving this?
Gosh, big question! I hope that CS education no longer needs activism to exist in K12. I hope that every student learns basic computing skills as part of a modern education. I hope that the Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Bezos’ of tomorrow are women, African, LatinX, Native American, LGBTQ… And I hope that the technology platforms, apps, embedded systems, etc. that will permeate the lives of my children’s children will be more equitable, ethical, and representative of all of humanity.
What else would you like to add that might be interesting to readers about you, your commitment to CSTA or perhaps why others should also be interested in becoming involved?
I myself benefited from a wonderful first impression of computer science in school where I felt like I belonged and could succeed. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many students, and many don’t even get the opportunity to study CS. I hope that my contributions to CSTA can, in some small way, help give back to the community of CS teachers who changed my life, and can also help open doors for students everywhere.