I am a native Nashvillian with grandparents that came into this area from North Carolina to help set up what was then called “Nashboro”. I love my hometown! The people are very friendly and we have beautiful, well-defined seasons. Nashville is a beautiful place to grow up.
The city has changed so much since the 1980’s. Nashville used to think it was a big city and it’s funny to look back on those times. I love the influx of new people and ideas, and watching the way the city has grown. I would have never predicted those changes when I was younger.
Growing up, my mother was a teacher and received one of the first computers in her classroom at MNPS (at that time, Apple was giving away free computers to educators). My first computer was an Apple II which was amazing, and I had very high expectations for it. I wanted it to talk to me and become a friend! I will admit, I was a little disappointed when I realized that artificial intelligence had not been invented yet (however I loved the Oregon Trail video game). There wasn’t even Internet back then- only floppy disks!
I worked as a public school teacher for 15 years before joining the NTC, and I have come to love the tech community here in Nashville. They welcomed me with open arms, and this is when I officially qualified myself a geek. Now, I am involved in Nashville 2600 which sponsored PhreakNIC, the longest running tech conference in the Nashville area. I have also spoken at GMX, highlighting my team’s work on Bloxbot, an initiative born during a HackTN weekend. I recently attended the Nashville Linux user group, and I am a peripheral member of PyTennessee and Middle Tennessee Robotic Arts Society. I attend a few other groups as time permits, but I also enjoying reading several IRC channels.
Nashville hosts an abundance of Hack Events, Tech Conferences and users groups. These are excellent places to begin building your tech skill set. A portion of the NTC’s effort involves working to connect individuals to opportunities like these. My favorite conferences and events include: PhreakNIC, GMX, PyTn, Mini Maker Faire, Global Game Jam and HackTN (which are all run by wizards and lady wizards). I am excited to come across and get involved with more opportunities like these.
Even though I have left the classroom, I am still an educator. There are many ways my skill set from the classroom and the tech skills I have developed over the last 5 years dovetail into my new role. I am still teaching people and connecting them with great resources. I’ve had the privilege of introducing two groups, who together are able to create something amazing for the benefit of our students. I am expecting these opportunities to appear more often, and the result will benefit our entire community.
My ultimate goal is to connect people to training and tech education within the community in order to create and develop more talent. This, in addition with connecting this newly developed talent to employers to fill open tech positions, will begin to shrink the skills gap in Middle Tennessee. By doing this, I can positively affect local families for generations to come. I am looking forward to engaging the people in our community and improving their lives, as well as the outcomes for our companies. My goal is to create means in which we can create a homegrown crop of coders, makers, and hackers with skill sets that make a technology-oriented city thrive.
I am so excited to join the NTC in their endeavors. There are some very exciting things developing around here! The NTC is a hub for learning, self-improvement, education, tech, and businesses to come together for the benefit of our community. I love working in an atmosphere filled with hope and energy, and I look forward to coming to work every day to make Nashville a hub for techno-social innovation.