Dr. Sharon Jones: Computer Science Advocate and Out-STEM-ing Educator

Please enjoy our August Out-STEM-ing Teacher Feature, Dr. Sharon Jones of the Dottie Rose Foundation, and much more! Read our previous feature here!

Imagine you had the chance to build the perfect advocate for computer science education. You’d start with a base of dedication sifted with a pinch of perseverance, creativity, and gumption. You’d beat the smarts and innovation until light and fluffy. Then add in a passion for teaching with extra love, and alternate adding in empowerment, and inclusivity. After a few decades in the oven, you’ve got Dr. Sharon Jones

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From Career Tech to Computer Science for All

 Dr. Sharon Jones of the Dottie Rose Foundation is on a mission to educate and empower girls in the technology field. She wants to encourage creators, not just users, to shift mindsets and create new opportunities for students. 

Dr. Sharon Jones has committed her career to providing computer science to all. She has been a dedicated, award-winning educator of computer science and technology for 17 years and throughout her career, she has created, implemented, and facilitated computer science workshops that apply the concepts of technology to everyday activities. Her work considers how computer science helps create new viewpoints, innovate, create power relations, produce knowledge, and make data and computing transparent, accessible, and inclusive. The range of her work inspires her to experiment with diverse forms, including art, design, coding, courses, workshops, and academic writing. Across her many projects, her goal is to make computer science inclusive and empowering.

Who is Dr Sharon Jones?

She is a self-motivated, out-of-the-box thinker who brings real-life business problems to tech training and teaches applicable technological solutions to those problems Teaching is her passion, and teaching technology and technological concepts so that all have a chance to be successful technologists and educators, is her drive.

“We are making great strides in Charlotte [NC] in the conversation around technology and demand. There are many groups and businesses working to engage individuals in technology and show the many options that are available in the tech field. However, we still need to work on the rhetoric around “I am not a tech person” because we are all tech people. We may be more on the consumer side of technology but we each use some type of technology each day and can easily use our skills to be creators of technology. Where I see the conversation moving next is highlighting how computational thinking and technology are a part of every discipline and learning how we can see the connections and not see technology as a separate entity. It is imperative that our young learn basic tech skills to be competitive in today’s workforce.”

Seeing the Problem

After beginning her career as a Career and Technical Education teacher and teaching computer science courses for the past 16 years, Dr. Jones noticed a problem; there were just not enough girls in her classes! 

She saw the gap occurring during the middle school time frame. “There is excitement and creativity in elementary school and then there is a change in middle school. Middle school is an amazing opportunity to begin to show kids the “what if” of following a passion.” Dr. Jones has striven to show through her work and the culture of the foundation that technology and computer science are a part of every passion and can make that “what if” become “I did or am doing!”

“We all have a tech genius, we just have to find our fit and we are helping girls do just that.”

Congratulations Dr Sharon Jones!