Category Archives: Stories

Guest Post: Code For Good 2017

During her visit to Whitman this spring, Terian Koscik (Grinnell ‘12) invited students to participate in Code for Good, “an annual event based out of the Portland area where Python programmers from all over the globe get together for a long weekend to build projects that help our communities.” Three Whitman students ultimately participated, including my summer research student Andrew Harvey ‘20, our new CS 167 mentor Missy Gerlach ‘19, and the very enthusiastic Nathaniel Larson ‘19. The three of them have agreed to contribute to a joint guest post about their experiences. First they will give an overview of the event, and then each will share their biggest highlights and takeaways. Continue reading

Hosting LACS 2017

Regular readers might remember that I am the newest member of the Liberal Arts Computer Science (LACS) Consortium. (An earlier post responded to the 2016 annual meeting.) As the newest member, I was invited to host this year’s meeting. Some joked with me that this is hazing, but more accurately it’s paying my dues to an organization that truly depends on the contributions of all its members. It is also the host’s privilege to invite guests of her choosing from both her own institution and others. Finally, I’ve also been invited to host other professional meetings at Whitman in years to come. My experience hosting LACS—a small group who I know fairly well—makes me more confident I can do so. Continue reading

On systems and breakdowns

David Allen’s Getting Things Done is no small part of what got me through my dissertation, and I’ve been using it ever since. I was introduced to the system and philosophy by the postdoc I shared my office with. (A.J. Brush, who has continued to get things done—if you are reading this, thanks again!)

However, I won’t say I apply it perfectly. I experience breakdowns pretty regularly, which means reflecting on my tools or routines to figure out what to change to make it work again. Continue reading

Scholarship guidelines

In academia, at least, it’s a rare privilege to write the criteria by which your work will be evaluated. That was, in fact, one of my major tasks for the 2015-16 academic year, and part of my backlog of blog topics. Why is it on my mind right now? While I am being reviewed for tenure at Whitman, I also just submitted my first letter as an external reviewer for a tenure case at another institution. That other institution’s departmental evaluation guidelines look quite different from the ones I wrote for Whitman, and that got me thinking back on the process of developing guidelines.

I tell the story of Whitman’s CS Scholarship Guidelines below. Continue reading

Report: Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing

Last week I traveled to Austin, Texas with seven students for the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. My job was to moderate a panel on teaching-oriented faculty careers—my fifth such panel, but the first at Tapia. CS program funding allowed me to bring along several students. To maximize impact, I recruited from amongst this fall’s class mentors and the leadership of the CS@W student club. Students are expected to share or apply what they learn on campus.

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Whitman students and faculty at the Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing. You can tell we are in Texas by the steer made of license plates on the wall behind us.

I’ll start out with a diary of my experience, and conclude with my students’ reflections on their experiences. Continue reading

I’ve got a POSSE

When Grinnell College announced that its relationship with the Posse Foundation would end, many folks at Whitman asked me what I thought or if I had any inside information. This post is not about that Posse.

Rather, it’s about my experiences with the Professor’s Open Source Software Experience (POSSE), an NSF-funded project that engages faculty from across the US in developing and deploying learning activities that engage computing students with humanitarian free and open source software (HFOSS).

Continue reading