I teach kids to build cool stuff with code.

This is where my story starts...

In late 2013, I was looking for a Christmas gift for my nephew. I came across a kids coding game, and as a former professional software developer knew that this was something I wanted to introduce him to.

However, when I looked around for more coding options, I was surprised to find very few. There were a handful of books, but virtually no computer programming classes for kids in Chicago.

I created Power Up Tech Academy in 2015 because "I CODING"

  • It gives me the ability to CREATE the ideas I can see in my head
  • It’s challenging and constantly keeps me GROWING and learning
  • There’s no feeling quite like the MAGIC moment when you make stuff work

And I am passionate about helping kids become creators, not just consumers, of technology

When I talk to parents, I hear them expressing frustration, concern and confusion about screen time. We all recognize that technology contains important skills, and through Power Up Tech Academy, I want to tilt the balance from PASSIVE, entertainment-oriented consumption to positive, PRODUCTIVE screen time.

A few months after I started teaching kids to code, one of my students told me, "Sometimes when I'm playing a game now, I think about how I would make it in Scratch." This profound change in empowerment and understanding blew me away, and it's what I hope for all my students: to be able to envision themselves making the apps they need, want and love.

My teaching approach centers on fun, hands-on projects like video games and animations

My teaching philosophy is simple: I believe kids learn best by doing (creating!) and they learn most efficiently when there is guidance and coaching available during the creation process.

And in all classes at Power Up Tech Academy, we create things that are exciting and meaningful to kids: Video Games! Websites! Apps! Minecraft Mods! And more...

But for me, the point is not what we build, but the process of building it. Kids learn to plan and design, to think in steps, to test their program and see if it works, and much more. Over time, this becomes a formidable set of problem solving skills.

For 10 years, I was a professional developer

Through my first business, SharpCurve Solutions, I helped people and businesses do their work better, faster and error-free. I wrote desktop and web applications, I designed and built databases, and I wrote code to customize other vendors' systems.

My clients came to me because they knew that the right software could have a huge impact on their businesses. And I had the satisfaction of seeing my work used daily in companies ranging from mortgages and pensions to manufacturing and furnace cleaning.

I was also a part-time private piano teacher for over 15 years

This is where I learned how to teach, and where I discovered that good coaching, persistence and practice win out over raw talent in the long run.

In fact, I believe that learning to code is just like learning to be good at piano or karate or baseball, or any complex skill. It is a journey of "10,000 hours to mastery".

And here are some other things I've done:

  • University of Calgary (Canada): Undergraduate degree in Pure Mathematics
  • University of Michigan Ross School of Business: MBA
  • Northwestern Center for Talent Development: Python Coding Instructor
  • University of Chicago Laboratory High School: Web Applications Development Teacher
  • Chicago TechWeek: Coding Instructor
  • West Ridge Elementary (CPS) Scratch Day: Coding Instructor
  • Lane Tech High School (CPS) Women in Computer Science Conference: Keynote Speaker
  • John Hancock High School (CPS) Computer Science Education Week: Career Speaker
  • The Boston Consulting Group: Project Leader

Thanks for visiting!

I look forward to meeting you and your child!