Our elementary technology teacher, Ms. Saundra, has been so generous by setting up a series of presenters to speak to fifth grade students about technology-related careers. Fourth grade students see the presentations via a video recording. The fifth graders were recently treated to the last presentation in the series.
Lynn Rogala, a technology consultant, spoke to the students about all the exciting and interesting aspects of her job that involves both teaching and solving math problems.
Mrs. Rogala grew up in a small town called Sparta, Michigan. Math was always her favorite subject. Her favorite part of math? Solving the hard problems. She also enjoyed explaining problems to other people and says that was just as interesting as figuring them out herself.
When she was in fifth grade, Mrs. Rogala says she was so fortunate to have a teacher that let her work and learn as fast as she could in math. Mrs. Rogala worked her way through two math books that year! She loved it so much that she wanted to be a math teacher as an adult.
Mrs. Rogala still planned to become a math teacher when she began college at Central Michigan University. While in college, she found out there were people who got to work on math problems as their job. They learned about and even discovered math that no one ever knew before! Mrs. Rogala decided that was what she wanted to do, and she received her Bachelors of Science in Mathematics.
The first summer after graduating from college, Mrs. Rogala had a math-related career. She even came up with some brand new math!
While working at the same job, Mrs. Rogala also got a chance to work on a special kind of math puzzle called encryption. She says that encryption is a like a secret code, and it’s how we can use math to keep our secrets safe.
Mrs. Rogala and her co-workers worked on these puzzles and even tried to break the codes of ones that other people made up. They used computers to create and break these puzzles, and Mrs. Rogala found out that programming computers was just as fun as math.
She loved solving the problems and using the computer to create programs. The longer she worked on encryption, the more she started doing computer programming until it was her full-time job.
Through her experience, Mrs. Rogala became a software developer. She got to solve problems every day and make programs that helped people do their jobs better. In this position, she also found time to teach people how to write computer programs, while also helping other people improve their software development skills. During this time, Mrs. Rogala received her Masters of Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University.
Soon, Mrs. Rogala and her husband Eric had a daughter named Rylee, and they moved to Tucson. After staying home with her daughter for a few years, Rylee is now in kindergarten, and Mrs. Rogala is teaching and solving problems again.
Currently, Mrs. Rogala works with businesses and non-profits, teaching them about technology and how to use it. She enjoys what she is doing – solving problems while teaching people.
Mrs. Rogala says it has been amazing and exciting to see all the different ways she has used her love of problem solving and teaching throughout her career. She says she can’t wait to see what happens next in her career.