Presenter Educates Students on Technology and Math-Related Career

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. 


Mrs. Rogala speaks to students about all the interesting experiences she has had with teaching and solving math problems.

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.

5th Grade Students Treated to Second Round of Speakers with Technology-Related Careers

Fifth grade students enjoyed listening last Friday to a second round of speakers who have technology-related careers.

First up was Andy Rouse who is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Imaging at the University of Arizona. Mr. Rouse grew up in Ithaca, New York. His mother was a high school math teacher, and his father was a physicist at Cornell University.

Mr. Rouse was preparing to take an entrance exam for college at University of Rochester when he came across the school’s optics section in a course catalog.

In the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the definition of optics is “the science that studies light and the way it affects and is affected by other things”. 

Since Mr. Rouse enjoyed high school physics lesson on how lenses worked, he decided to try out optics classes. It turned out that the University of Rochester had one of the best optics programs in the world. Also, learning all about optics was what Mr. Rouse calls a “mix of math and physics,” which is what his parents did for a living.

Mr. Rouse enjoyed learning about optics in his undergraduate college program, and after taking a year off from school, he decided to head to the University of Arizona to attend graduate school. From there, he was hired at the college as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Medical Imaging. 

Mr. Rouse says he has a lot of fun working in a lab that is full of lenses, microscopes, mirrors, lasers and fibers. He builds long, thin catheters that can take microscopic pictures inside a person’s body. 

Mr. Rouse provided us with a great example of the catheters he builds. A doctor who wants to look at a person’s esophagus tissue would be able to put a thin catheter down a person’s throat and see what the tiny cells look like without having to perform surgery to see this tissue under a microscope.

Mr. Rouse is married to Heather, and they have a four-year-old son named Jeremiah and a seven-year-old daughter named Hannah.


Speaking to the students next was Matt Risi, a graduate student studying optics at the University of Arizona. 

Mr. Risi is originally from Essex, Vermont. He’s always been a fan of reading and building things. 

Prior to coming to Tucson, Mr. Risi studied imaging science at The Rochester Institute of Technology and truly enjoyed it.

When Mr. Risi applied to graduate school, out of the many programs he applied for and was accepted into, he decided to head to the University of Arizona to work towards a PhD in Optical Sciences. He drove more than 2,500 miles to come to Tucson! 

Mr. Risi is currently a student in his sixth year of graduate school and hopes to finish his PhD work next May. His research focuses on medical imaging devices, specifically small microscopes that can go into a person’s body, with the goal of detecting diseases before it becomes too difficult to treat.


Thank you Mr. Rouse and Mr. Risi for talking to our students about your interesting careers and schooling in optics! A special thank you to Ms. Saundra, our elementary technology teacher, for setting up these incredible presentations. Ms. Saundra also recorded the presentations to show to fourth grade students. One more speaker with a technology-related career is scheduled to speak to fifth grade students in early November.

New After-School Specialty Clubs Offered to Students

The school year is kicking off with two new clubs led by specialty teachers.

Ms. Saundra is heading up the Robotics Club on Tuesdays from 3:00-4:00 pm. It’s for students in grades four through eight. The club had its first meeting last week, and 13 students attended. Ms. Saundra may be able to open the club up to more students in the future, but she will need additional Robotic kits to do that. 

Beginning next week is a new primary-level choir with Ms. Savage. It’s called the TCDS SINGERS and is for students in grades one through three.  The TCDS SINGERS will meet on Mondays from 3:15-4:00pm. The first meeting is next Monday, September 9th. At the start of second semester, kindergarten students can join TCDS SINGERS also. 

A choir that is continuing this year is CHAMP, available to students in grades four through eight. CHAMP choir meets on Fridays.