Summary of My Professional Experiences
After completing a Bachelor of Science degree, I took a position at Western Union Research Center in New Jersey (NJ) where I developed software for scientific applications. I was recruited by Pequannock High School to establish a curriculum in computing information and science. During that time, I obtained a permanent NJ teaching certificate while teaching all levels of high school mathematics and obtaining a graduate degree in mathematics/computer science. My husband and I decided to leave the crowded east coast and obtained teaching positions at Los Alamos High School in New Mexico. Once again, I taught high school math and computing during the day and taught evening computer science classes at the local college there.
I became intrigued by the emerging technologies being developed at Los Alamos National Laboratory, and was hired as a researcher in the Computing Division, developing software for a wide variety of scientific applications. One of my main interest areas was anomaly detection, developing algorithms and software that could spot “areas of interest” in data sets important to national security. Although I was no longer teaching in a formal setting, the knowledge that I gained in the teaching profession was immediately applicable to my new career. Soon I was leading projects and found that a significant portion of my time was spent mentoring team members - - colleagues, interns, and post-doctoral hires as well as college undergraduates and high school students. I thoroughly enjoyed by role as mentor. It was an excellent way to stay abreast of scientific and technological advances; I also enjoyed the enthusiasm of new team members and being exposed to their probing, intellectual questions. I left Los Alamos National Lab (LANL) for a few years to work at Cray Research where I developed software on the fastest supercomputers at the time.
After returning to LANL, I continued obtaining experience leading both large and small teams of scientists with diverse backgrounds (computer science, physics, chemistry, mathematics . . .) that came together to solve a particular problem required a wealth of knowledge. I was selected for management positions which were also challenging. Periodically, I would return to lead projects to keep my scientific acumen current. My last position at LANL was the head of a group of more than 50 researchers who worked primarily with Russian scientists to develop technologies and policy to reduce the threat of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Even as I attended to management tasks, I continued scientific research, mentoring, and teaching. In fact, I taught a class in C++ (an object oriented programming language) to a group of international scientists, right before my husband and I retired. I also traveled to Washington DC and elsewhere as I made formal presentations on technical proposals to the Departments of Energy and Defense, NSA, and other government institutions. The success rate of these visits in obtaining new funding was high; the scientific advances achieved from the funding received praise; I am very proud of the work done at Los Alamos.
Current Position: I am currently a part-time instructor at Truckee Meadows Community College in the Workforce Development and Continuing Education department, TMCC/WDCE, teaching computing courses. I also do private consulting.
Lessons from Teaching: To be a good teacher, one must not only
have the strong subject matter knowledge, but they must be able to communicate
well - - and do so with those with diverse levels of expertise. Good teachers
must also be able to present material clearly and concisely. They must be able
to motivate; they must be attentive listeners. A good teacher must help
students develop problem solving techniques and develop the ability to “learn
how to learn” - - for future generations will face unanticipated challenges and
competition. They must help their students cope with disappointment and learn
from their mistakes. (This is especially true in science for a break through
often comes after many failed attempts.) A good teacher should encourage their
students to strive for excellence in all aspects of their lives. They must be
able to individualize instruction and stay abreast of their area of specialty.
Most importantly, a good teacher must be able to believe in the power of
learning, the excitement that can be had when seeking knowledge, and to be able
to instill these feelings to their students.
Personal Attributes: I always had excellent working relationships with my students, colleagues, those I supervised, and my supervisors. I have an inquisitive mind which my colleagues and students found useful as they prepared technical proposals and presentations and asked for my input. I believe strongly in the value of giving and receiving constructive criticism.
Although I am a scientist, my interests are varied. For example, I spent a semester in Florence, Italy where I studied Fine Arts and became fluent in Italian. I’ve traveled a lot for work and pleasure; I adapt easily. I am self-motivated, energetic, athletic, outgoing, and personally driven to do well in all that I attempt. I thrive on learning and am confident that I can help others develop that same enthusiasm.