Posted by Michelle Lagos on Mar 12, 2020
the advocate: a thread of CSTA's the voice
I can’t leave the board without writing about my experience and encouraging others to find a way to volunteer with this amazing organization.

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This summer will officially be my last meeting with the CSTA Board of Directors. I can’t leave the board without writing about my experience and encouraging others to find a way to volunteer with this amazing organization.
A little background is needed before I go on about my experience with CSTA. I am a Honduran computer science teacher. I have been teaching CS since the year 2000 and I currently teach at the American School of Tegucigalpa, finishing my 11th year. I have taught every grade from K-12. My current position is with the middle school.
My first experience with the CSTA Board of Directors was in the year 2012. I self-nominated myself for the International Representative position. At that moment I was looking for a place to fit in as a bilingual computer science teacher. I self-nominated myself without having great expectations of winning. After all, Honduras is not a big country even for Latin American standards. The day that I received the email that said that I was in the final two nominees was unbelievable. But this day paled with the day I received the email notifying me that I had gotten the position. I knew what I was getting myself into. I was aware that this position, besides being an honor, meant that I had to put in some hours of work. The amazing thing about these hours of work though was that I took them as a learning experience and a place where my ideas and experience were listened to and taken into consideration. At that moment a review on the past CSTA set of standards was in the process and I got to serve in the curriculum committee along with people that I now consider mentors. Talking about curriculum and the objectives of what my students should learn, with people like Deborah Seehorn and Tammy Pirmann was incredible and the fact that I could collaborate on this was amazing. That same year I had my first experience with the CSTA conference, and I fell in love with the community-like feeling of the organization.
After that term, I decided not to rerun because by the end of my term I was seven months pregnant with my second baby and I believe that you must be able to focus to do a good job and at that moment I had the being-a-mom mindset. I decided to run again for the 2016 term. This time I was asked if I would like to be nominated for the Representative-at-Large position instead of the International Representative. I took this opportunity although no other representative so far had been an international member. I was again happily surprised to have been elected to become the Representative-at-Large for the term 2016-2018. This time I got to work with new board members and serve in other committees. A lot of the work is done online and have virtual meetings which enables anybody from any place to be able to participate, just like I have from little Honduras. I know my work is just a little glimpse of all CSTA does and just as a village is required to raise a child, a village is required for an organization to be successful. CSTA couldn’t be what it is without the hard work from the staff and all the volunteers.
I got elected to serve on a second term which will be ending this July at the conference in Arlington. I have had the honor to see CSTA grow to what it is today. I was there when CSTA+ was born. I have seen the chapters multiply; I have been there for the Equity Fellowship launch. I have been able to serve under the leadership of four wonderful chairs and three executive directors. I believe that I am a 1,000% better CS teacher since I started volunteering and working with CSTA. Sometimes the learning experiences are not given in a workshop or session (although they are great), but in the collaboration with other members of the CS community.
Right now, the election process is taking place for the next term. For me, it is time to take a break from the board but never from volunteering. As my last blog message, I want to encourage all readers that If you get an opportunity to serve or volunteer with CSTA please do so without hesitation. It’s an experience you will not regret.
Michelle Lagos HeadshotMichelle Lagos
Representative at Large