Mentor Monday: Meet Stella

Editor's note: Stella Lin volunteers with Bold Idea's youngest students in our CS First program, which uses Google curriculum and the MIT Scratch platform. When she's not mentoring Bold Idea students, Stella is a program and project manager at Sprint. Read her journey below from the daughter of programmers to building macros in Excel and now Bold Idea.

Meet Stella...

By Stella Lin

Both of my parents were programmers. I remember playing with "punch cards" at my mom's office when I was growing up. She later tried to interest me in books on object-oriented programming in C, but I studied Economics in college. I didn't get the programming "bug" myself until I started working as a Financial Analyst and started to write my own "macros" to automate my reporting.

I decided to go back to school full-time to pursue a M.S. in M.I.S., but I found a job soon after through a consulting firm who offered to train me in the mainframe programming languages (like the ones my parents had worked with) that were in demand again during Y2K.  

I joined Sprint as a full-time employee after my contract ended, and was excited to use new middleware, which I later helped to rewrite in JAVA, to open up some of our mainframe programs to be accessed over the internet in my first development project after Y2K.

Fast forward a few years later, when my "Enterprise Web Solutions" team at Sprint was outsourced to IBM.  Instead of applying to be "rebadged" to IBM, I chose to stay at Sprint to work with my former "customers" on the business side and as an SME resource for the new IBM team.  

In many ways, I feel that this experience helped prepare me to be a CS First mentor because Google's curriculum has given the kids all the tools they need to complete the programs on their own, but they may sometimes need an "SME" to help point them in the right direction.

I really love seeing the kids' satisfaction when they are able to complete and run their programs in Scratch.  It reminds me of my first experiences building "macros" in Excel and Access, as opposed to reading about object-oriented programming concepts.