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 Nancy in their role as a CSHS Committee Member.  

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

I have found CSTA to be the most inspiring to the work I do as an educator. Since attending my first conference in 2017, I have made significant strides in promoting CS within my school. I have made connections to so many other great educators who encourage me to continue to improve my craft. I felt that volunteering in some capacity was a way to give back to the CSTA community that has given me so much.

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

I joined in 2017 when I attended my first conference. After those few days in Baltimore, I felt like I found a community of people that I could turn to since I was the only CS teacher in my school. I did not hesitate to join as a Plus member when they rolled that out the following year.

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

The volunteer summit in Oregon was amazing. The guest speaker, Jorge Valenzuela, really was dynamic and the work we completed under his direction was awesome.

I have attended so many great sessions it is hard to pick them out. I can say that CSTA treats us like the professionals we are.

How has CSTA impacted your teaching career and professional development?

It has helped me gain the knowledge and confidence to start new classes. After taking Derek Babbs’s cybersecurity session in Omaha and then when he did the workshop in Phoenix, I found the courage to start a course at my own school. It has since grown to include the Cyber.org curriculum and using the cyber range. Workshops with the Micro:bit provided me with similar confidence to incorporate physical computing into my content as well. Finally, during one of the monthly newsletters highlighting the Masters in Computer Science Education from the University of Nebraska Omaha, I enrolled and recently completed the program. It has helped wash some of the “imposter syndrome” dirt that I have been carrying all of these years.

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

They have been a strong voice in this country for many years now. They have helped shape curriculum standards at a national level and see that work continue.

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

I have been volunteering with the Honor Society committee and that has been very meaningful to me. I think the new chapters we are forming are helping to bring CS to the forefront of school programs. It provides the recognition this discipline needs to be taken seriously as necessary curriculum in the K-12 school system. My own students have been doing amazing things to bring awareness to our district and community.

What does the future of CSTA look like?

I see us as a continued voice in shaping CS education in grades K-12. Our connections with higher learning institutions and state and federal officials will continue to show the value and importance of our work.