My name is Sara Kazemi, and I am a software engineer & technical curriculum developer who is passionate about CS education.
When I first graduated high school in 2001, I selected computer science as my college major because I always enjoyed figuring out how other people’s code worked. But I lacked the resiliency and the resources needed to feel successful and, after scraping by in my first college programming class, wrote computer science off as “not for me”.
It was not until I took a course in Language and Computers (a linguistics course taught by Rob Malouf at San Diego State University) that I became reacquainted with computing through computational linguistics. The M.A. program in computational linguistics made me a stronger, more confident programmer because I learned computer science concepts through a subject that has always resonated with me — language. This connection allowed me to persist through the sharp learning curve of teaching myself Python and Java.
Recognizing the barriers that initially held me back, upon completing my M.A. thesis, I went on to teach computer science in a welcoming, accessible way to high schoolers at a high-need school as an effort to increase participation among underrepresented populations. After several years of teaching, I realized I wanted to learn more about software engineering, which is why I decided to pursue a second degree in Computer Science from CSU Monterey Bay’s online program. I graduated from this program in July 2020, and my course registration wizard for Sweetwater High earned Best Capstone Project in my cohort.
Since this was at the height of the global pandemic, I lost my existing return offers and finding an entry-level software engineering job became super difficult. However, I’ve since begun graduate studies at Georgia Tech through their Online Master’s of Science in Computer Science program (OMSCS) and started working with an amazing team at Okta!
I welcome any current students to reach out.