CST 361 Week 8

This is the final week of the course and the first week of my internship with Qualcomm. I still have to wrap up my documentary for my service learning project. While I normally do not wait until near the end of the deadline to finish up my assignments, this week has been a bit rough on me. I have panic disorder with agoraphobia, and my anxiety has been heightened due to being in new, unfamiliar locations and situations. I feel like it has been worth it though for all the amazing opportunities this internship will afford me.

On Sunday, I moved into the luxury apartment in Kearny Mesa that Qualcomm subsidized for my internship. The place is unlike anywhere I have lived before. Everything needs a key fob to access–even the elevators! There are pools, a hot tub, an on-site 24 hour gym, out door areas to sit and lounge, a fire pit…and more. I have a nice room mate named Crystal that works in the same building and floor as me.

Monday was dedicated to intern orientation. We were led on a tour of the Qualcomm museum and learned about the history of the company. We also got our I-9 paper work squared away, received our badges, and got some swag (including a Qualcomm sweatshirt and water bottle!)

On Tuesday, I mainly hung out with my mentor, Marv, since the rest of my team was out on vacation or out of state on business. There were a few hiccups with my corporate-issued machine that only just got resolved today. But, it was all a great learning opportunity to learn the process of submitting service requests and getting to know the staff that assists with those issues. Marv allowed me to accompany him on a meeting and took me out to lunch at one of the on-campus cafeterias, which reminded me of the cafes at university.

By Wednesday, my manager, Connie, returned from vacation and a bunch of us went out to lunch at a place called Din Tai Fung, where we enjoyed soup dumplings, bao buns, and boba tea. Today I primarily focused on getting acquainted with the web platform my team had been working on and getting my machine squared away. Tomorrow is QSOL–Qualcomm Summer on the Lawn–where we get to invite family and friends to enjoy live music, food stands, and other events. I’m excited to show my husband around!

Week 7 CST 361

Since Sweetwater High’s academic year ended last week, I have been spending this week relaxing and preparing to start my internship at Qualcomm next week. I am pretty nervous because I will be living in company-provided housing away from my husband to limit the commute and to be immersed in the internship. I have been battling agoraphobia for about 10 years, and this is the first time I will be away from home for such an extended period. But, I know it is important for both my personal and professional growth.

This week, we discussed Jane McGonigal’s 2012 TEDTalk on how “Gaming Can Make a Better World”.

In it, McGonical claims that people need to play more video games in order to exact the positive changes that will save the world, such as solving world poverty and hunger and reversing climate change. However, it is unclear if her studies she uses to back up her claims are biased towards subjects that already have a sense of collaboration, common goals, and positivity. She speaks mostly of MMORPGs in her examples; are the factors she is investigating confounded by the personality characteristics found typically among MMORPG players? Still, her idea is interesting and warrants further investigation.

Week 6 CST 361

The class of 2019 has officially graduated from Sweetwater High!

I gathered the rest of the footage I needed for my service learning documentary this past week at the graduation ceremony, which is held annually at a local community college since the number of students served by Sweetwater is so large.

As I mentioned before, this senior class has been particularly extraordinary. For instance, this year’s valedictorian, Alfred Vargas (whom I’ve had the privilege of teaching AP CSA to this year), wrote an amazing speech and has had several articles written about him and his achievements.

Taking a year-long leave of absence from teaching computer science to explore software engineering as an alternative career will be bittersweet, but I believe it is the right thing to do. I believe that being a successful woman in tech will make me a great role model for young women looking to pursue such careers and I look forward to serving in that capacity in the near future.

Week 5 CST361

Last week was the last week for seniors at Sweetwater High, which means that my AP CSA courses are pretty much empty this week (only 4 non-seniors in one period and 6 in the other). Every year, Sweetwater holds the a farewell to seniors assembly before actual graduation so that the underclassmen can see the seniors walk in with banners representing where they will be headed next (e.g. university, technical school, or military). During the assembly, it really hit me how awesome this senior class has been–there have been truly exceptional individuals in this graduating class.

Since I am taking a year-long leave of absence next year to focus on finishing the program and to intern at Qualcomm to explore my career options, I took home all the notes, gifts, and artwork students have given to me over the years and put them in a scrapbook.

Perhaps most touching are the notes received from students who have told me that I have fostered their love for computer science. Just this year, I had a sophomore student enrolled in AP CSA (usually a class taken Junior or Senior year) who took the course because her older brother (our 2019 Valedictorian) urged her to. This whole school year she worked diligently to understand the depth and breadth of the course material and even wound up outperforming her brother in the end. I was moved when she informed me that I really impacted her in gaining a love for computer science. This is something I strive for because often times we as teachers are hindered by the cumbersome requirements of the curriculum to make a course fun and engaging–and, wow, there is a LOT to cover in AP CSA in just one year if your students have had minimal to no computer science / programming experience!

My experience in impacting young women in the computer science classroom parallels this week’s discussion topic — Black Girls Code.

Kimberly Bryant founded Black Girls Code with the vision of, not only increasing the number of women of color in the digital world, but to provide them with the tools to become innovators–not mere consumers–of technology. She cites the importance of having role models in STEM fields that one can identify with–role models that look like you and are a part of your social group and/or culture–to open up avenues that might otherwise seem unattainable.

I believe that I have served a similar goal, at a smaller scale, at Sweetwater High. Though I am not Latina or Filipina (the two largest ethnic groups the school serves), as a woman, I have served as a role model for young women at Sweetwater High wanting to pursue computer science. It is for this reason that, even though I may move on to software engineering, I will always maintain ties with CS education and mentorship.