Welcome to the CSTA Volunteer Spotlight series, where we celebrate the incredible individuals who dedicate their time and passion to making a difference in the CSTA community. Join us in recognizing and appreciating the extraordinary efforts of Myra in their role as 9-12 Subcommittee Member, Conference Committee.  

What inspired you to volunteer your time with CSTA? How has this experience impacted you?

I volunteered with CSTA because I wanted to give back to the organization that has helped me improve as a computer science teacher. I feel that I can make an impact on other CS teachers through my volunteer work which excites me.

How long have you been involved with CSTA, and what motivated you to join?

I have been a member since 2008, which is about 16 years. I was motivated to join because I was the only computer science teacher on my campus, and I was looking for others to collaborate with me on teaching strategies for computer science.

Can you share any memorable experiences or highlights from your involvement with CSTA?

One of my memorable experiences was running for the CSTA board and winning! As a member of the board, I met Pat Phillips, who asked me to join her team in writing curriculum for Microsoft Expression Web. I felt so honored that she selected me to assist with the project. That was a wonderful experience collaborating with other computer science teachers to create this curriculum.

Another memorable experience was having tea with the U.S. Secretary of Education as I was leaving my position on the CSTA board. I was so proud to join other computer science teachers in discussing the current status of computer science with the Secretary of Education. The conversation was so interesting that he extended the meeting time so he could hear more!

How has CSTA impacted your teaching career and professional development?

CSTA has been the one organization that offers professional development that is relevant to me! As a computer science teacher, there is no other organization that offers the opportunities and professional development relevant to computer science. CSTA members understand the uniqueness of teaching computer science.

In what ways do you see CSTA shaping the future of computer science education?

I see CSTA shaping the landscape of computer science through its work on student standards and how they are updated. When I served on the California Computer Science Standards Committee, the CSTA standards were the foundation of the document that was created. Another way CSTA shapes the landscape of CS is through all of the professional development that is offered to CSTA+ members. Finally, through the support of the chapters, CSTA can reach individuals through chapters that can provide targeted PD.

Are there any specific initiatives or projects within CSTA that you’ve been particularly passionate about?

I am passionate about the work of the chapters. I helped form three different chapters, and in the early days, the members of the chapters helped me improve as a computer science teacher. I continue as a chapter leader because I feel this is one avenue to reach local CS teachers so we can provide the support that is needed.

I am also passionate about the CSTA Conference. I have served as a reviewer for many years. I feel that I am able, from my years of teaching computer science, to help shape the conference by recommending the most promising submissions. Along the same lines, I have been a member of the conference committee because I enjoy volunteering at the conference and giving my opinion when we make the selections for the conference program.

What does the future of CSTA look like?

CSTA has grown so much since I was a board member. I envision continued growth for the organization as other school districts, states, and countries see the value of offering computer science to their students. The emphasis that CSTA has put on equity will also boost the importance of the organization, and it will continue to be the go-to organization that state officials continue to turn to regarding computer science education.