Amber Wagner, PhD Candidate, CS
University of Alabama

University of Alabama

Biography

I graduated from Kennesaw State University in 2003 with a B.S. in Computer Science and a Spanish minor. My senior year, I received a scholarship to work with the Chair of the Computer Science and Information Systems department on a research project for the strategic advancement of the department. Although I have always dreamed of earning a PhD, it was at KSU that I first fell in love with research and Computer Science.

Soon after graduating, I began teaching Computer Science at the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) in Birmingham, Alabama. As ASFA did not have a Computer Science curriculum at that time, I was given the creative freedom to develop my own curriculum and Computer Science program. I taught the state required Computer Applications in addition to vb.net, C#, Java (AP Computer Science A and AB), and project management. In addition to teaching, I assisted the faculty with technology issues, particularly, leading workshops on how to integrate technology into their curriculum in a meaningful way. I was a part of the Professional Development Committee and the Technology Committee, and I also began a Computer Programming team. The Programming team excelled each year at the High School Programming Contest winning 1st place our third year. Introducing the students at ASFA to Computer Science and the realm of possibilities such knowledge presents, brought me tremendous joy!

In 2008, I graduated with a M.S. in Information Systems from Kennesaw State University where I simultaneously began working for the universityís IT department. I quickly became an Assistant Director in the department leading a project management initiative.

I returned to school in the Fall of 2010 to begin a PhD in Computer Science at the University of Alabama where Iím striving to achieve my oldest childhood dream. My dissertation is focused in the area of Human-Computer Interaction enabling motorically challenged children to work with GUI applications like Scratch.

University of Alabama ankrug@bama.ua.edu