Who am I?
I've spent way more years in post secondary schooling than anyone reasonably should - the first half were way better than the second half. If you need someone to talk you in (or out) of grad school, I can do both.
For as long as I can remember, I've been really interested in what computers can do for education. I was in my first computer club in grade 2 (1991-92!). There's so much that computers can teach us - especially if we put the building aspect in the hands of the students instead of just the resulting programs that others have made. Edtech is huge passion area of mine, and it's where I started my entrepreneurship journey.
I've always been a huge fan of puzzles (all kinds) which may help explain why I love programming and computer science - it's just another puzzle. I started learning to code in high school by seeking opportunities outside of my school (as we had none) and have been coding ever since (about 20 years now!).
I enjoy hiking, walking, running, and climbing (indoors - although I haven't had time to do so for a few years now). I went on a kayaking trip that was a lot of fun, and would love to find a way to incorporate more of that in my life. I've been really enjoying exploring all the paths on Vancouver Island. I've visited almost 100, and there's still hundreds left.
EdTech Contractor Fall 2017
EdTech is an area I'm passionate about. I've worked in the space for over 5 years now, and I've seen it grow and change over that time. My background in CS, my experience in the field and the research and user study skills developed through a Masters and PhD, I can bring a lot of insight to EdTech companies from many angles.
Currently, I've been doing contract work for Squiggle Park. My work for them has focused on their product design and general data analysis of their user metrics. I am assisting them in running a large-scale user study, where I helped develop the assessment tools used and am responsible for the data analysis.
Product Designer/Manger of Squiggle Park Summer 2016 to Fall 2017
I joined Squiggle Park when it was in the early stages of trying to figure out how to pivot from an eye tracking tool for evaluating literacy to a tool designed to improve early reading skills. I took the product from a couple of small games to a complete platform of worlds, stories, 8 games, and a custom reading curriculum for pre-K to grade 2 students. I worked closely with a group of teachers on designing the curriculum along with the developers to create engaging games, with a password system accessible to even the youngest users.
Co-founder of Alieo Games Fall 2013 to January 2016
In November of 2013, I co-founded Alieo Games with Kit Chen, Chris McMahen, Nathaniel Rossol, and Joel Koop. We built and released COW (Creating Outstanding Writers). In the fall of 2015 Alieo Games participated in the EdTech Accelerator Imagine K12.
I was primarly responsible for the backend development and maintenance of the site while co-running the business end with Kit Chen. This was very much a "learn as you go" experience, and I learned a lots - from web development to business skills to presenting to my own work style.
Teacher Assistant at the University of Alberta
- CMPUT 174, Intro to Foundations of Computing I (Python), Winter 2012 (Teaching Award)
- CMPUT 603, Teaching and Research Methods, Fall 2010
- CMPUT 412, Experimental Mobile, Experimental Mobile Robotics, Winter 2008
- CMPUT 174, Intro to Foundations of Computing I (Perl), Fall 2007
Software Engineer at AppLocation.net Sept 2006 – July 2007
I initially worked for them as a co-op student May 2005 – Dec 2005, before moving to full time once I graduated in 2006. I worked on a gps locating system for city buses, designing an interface for controlling an underwater logging robot, and their main platform.
Ph.D., Computing Science, University of Alberta, 2015
Supervisor: Duane Szafron
Thesis: Creating Believable Emotional Virtual Characters
M.Sc., Computing Science, University of Alberta, 2009
Supervisor: Duane Szafron
Thesis: Using Describers to Simplify ScriptEase
B.Sc. w/Distinction, Computer Science, University of Victoria, 2006