CSTA and Infosys Foundation USA are proud to announce the winners of the 2020 CSTA/Infosys Foundation USA CS Teaching Excellence Awards. These winners demonstrate their excellent work inspiring students to explore the computer science field; effectively engage students in learning rigorous, standards-aligned, computer science content; and a focus on broadening participation of underrepresented students in computing. 


Maria Camarena WebsiteMaria Camarena
Los Angeles, California

Maria Camarena is a computer science teacher at Maywood Center for Enriched Studies (MaCES), a 6th-12th grade Los Angeles Unified School with 1,360 students. In the process of establishing a computer science program, she came upon the data of the under-representation of Hispanic-Latino students in Advanced Placement computer science courses in the second-largest school district in the nation, with only 1 or 2 computer science classes being offered in the surrounding high schools servicing her community. Her mission is to advocate for computer science education opportunities. In three years, she has established the computer science pathway offering CS to all 7th graders and currently offering six high school classes of computer science, including 2 APCSP classes and adding APCSA this fall. The MaCES CS pathway is empowering over 350 students.
Maria is a strong advocate for girls in STEAM and computer science; she significantly increased the enrollment of girls in computer science courses through the founding of the MaCES Girls Who Code Club. Maria has also connected students with professionals of Hispanic/Latinx descent through her partnership with Nuevo Foundation (@nuevofoundation). You can see a glimpse of her students' awesomeness and the pursuit to bring computer science to her community on twitter @Inspired2Code and Instagram @maces.cs @maces.gwc. Her work and expertise reach beyond her classroom as she has planned and delivered numerous professional development sessions to staff, parents, and district staff on the integration of technology in the daily instruction of students and the importance of supporting computer science pathways. In 2020, Maria was named as the NCWIT Los Angeles Educator (Honorable Mention winner) for Aspirations in Computing. She is currently receiving a computer science authorization at the University California Riverside and working on becoming National Board Certified/ISTE Certified. Marias' efforts to end race and gender disparities in computer science are possible with the unparalleled support of her MaCES community, Code.org, Nuevo Foundation, and LAUSD Instructional Technology Initiative. 

Daryl Detrick HeadshotDaryl R. Detrick
Washington, New Jersey

Daryl Detrick has been a teacher at Warren Hills Regional High School in Washington, New Jersey for 25 years, teaching Computer Science for the past 19. Prior to teaching, he was a Project Engineer for Turner Construction Company. Daryl believes that all students should learn computational thinking, not just those interested in pursuing a career in computing. Computer science education can positively change the lives of students, particularly those in low-income situations, by opening doors of opportunity in all fields. 
Daryl has been a leader of the Computer Science Education movement in New Jersey since 2012. He is the past president and a founding member of the Computer Science Teachers Association (CSTA) of Central NJ, a former NJ representative to the CSTA Advocacy Leadership Team (CSALT) and a member of NJ Governors Computer Science Advisory Board that developed the NJ State Computer Science Education Action Plan. He received the NCWIT NJ Educator Award, the NJSPN Advocate of the Year, and CSTA National Advocate of Year. Daryl is proud of the Computer Science program that he’s worked so hard to develop. His students use their passion for Computer Science to inspire youth through near-peer mentoring programs such as CodingWithKids, the Digital Lending Library, and GirlsCodingWithGirls, which was recognized by Code.org and CSTA with the 2018 Champions of CS award. Warren Hills Computer Science has strong female participation, with numerous awards through NCWIT and the GirlsGo Cyberstart Competition. 
Daryl is active in community service including Warren County Habitat for Humanity and local trail maintenance. He is the Chess Club advisor and a mentor with the school’s FIRST Robotics Team. Daryl graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

Vivienne Forrester HaedshotVivienne Forrester
New York City, New York

Dr. Vivienne Forrester is an experienced and accomplished computer science educator. She is a certified Project Lead the Way Engineering Educator, a certified International Baccalaureate Information Technology Educator, a certified Google Educator, and a Certified Microsoft Educator. She is also an IB ITGS Examiner. A STEM professional who is invested in closing the gender gap in STEM Education, Vivienne is passionate about project-based learning and often incorporates design and computational thinking principles into her lessons.
Vivienne currently serves as the Head of Upper School Academic Technology at The Chapin School, an all-girls independent school in New York City she joined in 2018. In just two years, Vivienne has revolutionized the Upper School's technology curriculum, launching new courses and collaborative programs across divisions to provide students and colleagues with novel opportunities to practice honing industry-standard skills. She expanded the Computer Science Pathway and developed the curriculum for each course, including Introduction to Computer Science, Computer Science Principles, Swift iOS App Development, Introduction to Python, and Advanced Computer Science. She has significantly increased the number of students enrolled in computer science courses through a variety of initiatives, including an annual celebration of computer science education week. In 2018, Vivienne launched the Annual Technology Day-Girls Can Code week-long event, which featured industry experts and student workshops run by technology organizations. She consistently celebrates her students' work and accomplishments through the Aspiring Computer Scientist Award, which she also introduced in 2018. She provides mentors and real-world applications for her students through partnerships with STEM organizations and higher education institutions. Vivienne was also instrumental in developing long-term Technology Internships in Virtual Reality for juniors and seniors. She is a strong advocate for girls and was influential in expanding the number of students on Chapin's all-girls FRC Robotics team as an assistant coach, and the Coding Club, which she is the sponsor. 
Prior to joining Chapin, Vivienne served for nine years as STEM Coordinator, Technology Department Chairperson, and Computer Technology Teacher at a Public Charter High School in Washington, D.C. There she founded a comprehensive STEM Field Day program, expanded and managed the PLTW Engineering Pathway, and mentored underserved students on several computing and technology projects. Vivienne effectively integrated PLTW and Microsoft industry certifications into her classroom for her students. She has also provided real-world application opportunities and transferred her students' competencies beyond the classroom to regional and national STEM Competitions. Her students successfully competed in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair, Samsung Solve for Tomorrow, Seaperch Robotics, TARC (Team America Rocketry Competition), FRC Robotics, eCybermission, and NCWIT (National Council for Women in Computing) Aspirations in Computing Award. Vivienne is excited and honored to continue to motivate and inspire girls and women in computer science when she begins her tenure as Chapin's next Director of Technology in September 2020.

Mary Heishman HeadshotMary Heishman
Staunton, Virginia

Mary Rainey Heishman graduated from Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, Virginia, with Distinction. She began her teaching career in 2014 as a technology teacher at Bessie Weller Elementary School, a Title 1 school in Staunton, Virginia. She teaches more than 400 children in the school’s technology lab and works diligently to introduce them to the world of computer science and help develop their 21st-century skills. In 2018, Mrs. Heishman won the James Madison University College of Education Innovation in K-12 Education Award.
Mrs. Heishman has sponsored a variety of after school clubs such as STEM, Yearbook, Girls who Code, and Engineering Careers.  She created and facilitated the Girls Who Code Club, an after school club to promote 21st-century computer science programming skills for girls. She is working on changing the gender gap in computer technology skills with the  Girls Who Code Club, which is teaching a sisterhood bond,  promoting friendships and computer science skills at the same time.  She also collaborated with local businesses such as Northrop Grumman and Juiceworks, to bring real-life engineering experiences to the classroom.  During her arranged school visits by these businesses, students were able to experience and learn about a variety of engineering careers.  Mrs. Heishman really brings the use of STEM to life for the students in a fun and imaginative manner.  One of her most impressive lessons was “Bubble Day”.  She had the students design their very own bubble wands and brought them to life via a 3D printer.  They used the scientific method, at the time being taught in science class, to determine the most successful bubble wand.  This lesson resulted in 100% participation and engagement.  Last year, Mrs. Heishman led the students in completing a challenge to write blockly code to music. She then invited a professional African American Hip Hop artist to teach her students dance moves to music in the gym. The hip-hop teacher taught students how dancers create algorithms just like coders and the students were able to coordinate their blockly codes with real body dance movements.  To promote more excitement for coding in her school, Mrs. Heishman created a coding competition for all students at her school. Even kindergarteners participated!  
Mrs. Heishman loves to involve other teachers to help spread her enthusiasm for coding and to encourage critical thinking skills in their classrooms. She developed a curriculum with the PE teacher where students used robotics to accomplish various tasks like robotics programming for bowling, golfing, or running a maze. Other activities required the students to be “unplugged” and taught computer science skills, like computational thinking, without a device. She created art and music stations for students including painting with Sphero robots, programming apps for making music with Makey Makey, an electronic invention coding kit. 

Visa ThiagarajanVisa Thiagarajan
San Jose, CA 

In ten years of teaching, Visa Thiagarajan has established and expanded CS programs at three different high schools in Silicon Valley, California. She is currently the founding computer science teacher and robotics coach at KIPP Navigate College Prep, a Title I high school which serves East San Jose students from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. She teaches AP CS Principles and AP CS A and has previously taught Introductory CS, Automata Theory, and Data Science.
Visa holds a master's degree in CS and after fifteen years in the industry, decided to transition to teaching in order to inspire young people, especially young women, to pursue computing degrees and career paths. Her commitment to equal representation of women in AP CS classes garnered attention from Reboot Representation (supported by Melinda Gates) who subsequently awarded annual grants to schools in the KIPP network. 

Due to her experience with project-based curricula, Visa was one of fifty CS teachers selected to pilot CS Principles by the College Board from 2013 to 2016 and her feedback helped inform curriculum development. Today, as an AP CS Principles teacher leader, she works to mentor CS teachers for the KIPP network, and this summer she will receive training from code.org to mentor and train CS teachers from charter schools across the nation. For seeking out novel ways to engage diverse learners in CS, Visa has been recognized by KIPP as a STEM teacher of the month and highlighted for the profound impact she has had on students’ educational experiences and future aspirations.

Honorable Mentions 

Elizabeth Dierker HeadshotElizabeth A. Dierker
Chesterfield, Missouri

Elizabeth Dierker attended Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Secondary Teaching and Inquiry.  She is certified in both Secondary Mathematics and K-12 Computer Science, and she has been teaching at Marquette High School in Chesterfield, Missouri for her entire 16-year career. While she began her education career as a math and computer science teacher, she has since dedicated herself to computer science full time. She has been heavily involved in teaching and writing the curriculum for several computer science classes in her district, including Fundamentals of App and Game Development, Website Programming and Development, AP Computer Science A, and C++ Programming. She is very passionate about teaching computer science and expanding access to the subject across all ages and backgrounds. In the last five years, she has made it her mission to increase the number of students enrolled in computer science in her school, especially females. She won the 2020 Regional NCWIT Educator Award for Eastern Missouri & Southern Illinois.  Additionally, she coached three FIRST robotics FTC teams for four years, with at least one team advancing to the state competition each year. She has taken an active role in mentoring other computer science teachers in her district, and she would like to continue that role with other teachers who want to expand their knowledge of computer science.  


Jennifer Jones HeadshotJennifer Jones
Roy, Utah

Jen Jones teaches computer science at Quest Academy Charter School, a STEM school with a technology focus. She is passionate that every child should have a solid education in computer science before reaching high school, especially in the formative years between 5th and 9th grade when students most often develop a preference for educational pursuits they are “good at” and ones they enjoy and want to continue. With the support of administrators, she implemented required computer science courses in all grades 1st through 9th allowing all students, regardless of gender identity, learning abilities, social/economical status, or minority status to have a solid 9 years introduction to technology and coding including taking the AP Computer Science Principles course by 9th grade.
In the last 4 years, she has been hard at work developing programs for students to increase engagement and enthusiasm for CS. These programs include cybersecurity and robotics after school clubs, a space exploration technology and innovation class, a community STEM education event allowing students to present on technology innovation that leads space exploration, a CS careers day, and a game coding competition with community involvement and substantial prizes worth up to $300 for students with winning game designs.
Mrs. Jones loves to bring guests to the school who can demonstrate to students how universal the need is for computer science skills in all industries. As a Space Foundations Teacher Liaison, she has leveraged personal, professional, and community connections to bring in a wide variety of CS guests including NASA representatives, rocket engineers, 3D and virtual experience designers, robotics specialists, scientific artists, an author, a pilot, a flight simulator developer, white-hat hackers, network developers, a specialist in health and athletics and even a Rolling Stones reporter all coming to speak with students about the importance of CS in wide and diverse industries.
These programs have greatly increased student engagement and enthusiasm for Computer Science. As a result, the computer science department of the school has become a “gamified,” friendly, competitive, and collaborative space for students to create their own works of awesomeness.

Carolyn Petite HeadshotCarolyn A. Petite
Chagrin Falls, Ohio

Carolyn Petite is a computer science teacher at Chagrin Falls High School in Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Carolyn holds an engineering degree from The Ohio State University and worked in the medical imaging industry prior to becoming a teacher, holding two United States patents for software developed for magnetic resonance scanners.

She brought Advanced Placement Computer Science to Chagrin Falls High School in the 1997-98 academic year and has worked diligently to increase female enrollment in computer courses. She received the Advanced Placement Computer Science Female Diversity Award from the College Board in 2019 and was selected as the NCWIT educator of the year in Ohio in 2016. She worked with an elementary school teacher and the technology integration coach to create a collaborative coding club where high school students guided younger students as they coded various robots. Carolyn is very proud of the number of students who choose to continue their study of computer science after they take her classes.


Brian Smith Headshot Brian Downing Smith
Santa Fe, New Mexico

Brian Smith is a computer science teacher at Santa Fe High School in Santa Fe, NM, where he lives with his wife, Caitlin, son Raymond (who just turned 5), and another child on the way. Brian grew up in Charlottesville, VA, where he messed around with BASIC as a kid and took AP CS AB in high school. He attended Cornell University, where he double-majored in Archaeology and Anthropology. After graduating from college, he joined Teach for America and taught high school science in Zuni, NM. He’s been teaching on and off ever since, including middle school science, high school math, and computer science. He recently received his Master’s in Education from the College of St. Scholastica, with a certificate in Computer Science Education.
Brian is extremely proud of the CS program that he has created at Santa Fe High. From one intro class, he grew the program into a complete four-year CS pathway, including a survey course with units in app development, robotics, interactive fiction, virtual reality, and game design; a dual-credit scientific modeling course; AP CS A; and an implementation of Harvard’s CS50 AP CSP. He has coached winners of the Congressional App Challenge and state champions of the NM Governor’s STEM Challenge and the Supercomputing Challenge. Brian is also a 2019 NCWIT award winner “for encouraging young womens’ computing interest,” and a 2019 state-level finalist for the PAEMST Award for Science.
Brian is currently working to broaden access to CS education in New Mexico as a member of the statewide CS Task Force, helping to draft a plan to include CS education in teacher preparation programs and to establish more state support and incentives for schools to offer CS programs.

William Warren HeadshotWilliam Warren
San Francisco, California

William Warren is a Computer Science Content Specialist for the San Francisco Unified School District. He teaches computational thinking and computer science concepts to underserved Elementary School-aged students. The lessons he teaches are student-centered and provide a vast canvass for self-expression. 
Before becoming a CS teacher, Mr. Warren spent 7 years as a General Education Elementary School Teacher with SFUSD. It was during that time that he introduced his students, most of whom did not have internet access at home, with computer science programs such as Scratch. He found that the students were excited about incorporating technology and coding with their regular studies. He enjoys supporting their interests with technology while providing a rich learning environment.
Teaching is a second career for Mr. Warren. He received his Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resource Science from UC Davis. He worked in the field of environmental science until he realized he wanted to help nurture the future scientists and educators of the Bay Area. He then received his multiple subject teaching credential from San Francisco State University. He is currently working toward a Computer Science Supplementary Credential, also from SFSU. 
In his free time, Mr. Warren loves spending time with his family exploring the great outdoors, volunteering with college fraternity, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Incorporated, and never giving up on the perfect sourdough starter.