How did you end up pursuing a teaching career in STEM?
By taking the least straightforward path possible. :)
Long time ago, in a land far away, I was a Fine Performing Arts student at a local Cegep (“college” in Quebec), studying drama, along with a gaggle of hodgepodge courses ranging from psychology to science to graphic design. Then life took me to Africa, where I studied African literature and masks. During this journey, I realized what a great asset multilingualism was, so upon my return to Canada, I moved to Vancouver for a total English immersion.
After a few years of various employments, and reaching a functional level in English, I resumed my academic studies. With a little help from my dad, I shifted my objectives from fine performing arts to applied science. Having my sights on the Engineering program at UBC, I started taking evening courses at a college to complete my first year science requirements. However, the last course I took, a computer science (CS) course (Introduction to Pascal), totally mesmerized me. I fell in love with the logical, yet creative process of developing software. I made a volte-face and headed for CS at SFU — at that time, the UBC CS program did not have a co-operative education option and since I needed to support myself through my academic career, the idea of co-operative education was very attractive.
After graduating from SFU, I worked as a software developer in a few places, and one of them was a community college. Part of my job was to instruct staff on using office-related applications. Teaching had always been something I wanted to do, so the thought of combining CS with teaching emerged then. However, I had to shelve the idea of teaching for a while as life, once again, propelled me onward. This time I found myself in Singapore working as an IT manager, then as a business analyst for one of the overseas banks. After a few years in such positions, I decided to leave the managerial aspect of IT and reconnect with its technical side by enrolling in graduate school. I landed in the CS department at UBC and upon graduation, I commenced my CS teaching career, first as a contract lecturer at UBC, and then as a teaching faculty member at SFU.