Owen Astrachan

Owen Astrachan

Professor of the Practice


Duke

Milestones

Milestones

My road in life took a while to figure out.
Wanted to change the world by teaching high school math.
Discovered that teaching is a tough job, very rewarding but tough.
Learned that computer science has lots to offer, spent a summer at CMU learning this.
Went to graduate school to merge my vocation and my avocation.
Figured out that teaching is teaching, but teaching college is a little different.
Was very fortunate: right place at the right time for being a teaching professor.
Became comfortable teaching a room of 20 and a room of 200 students.
Started working on CS Principles in 2008.
Keep following my journey
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
Dartmouth College
doctorate
Doctorate
Mathematics, General
Dartmouth College
Career

Career

Professor of the Practice

I work to change what computer science education means.

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Education
Education
Technology
Technology
Teaching / Mentoring
Teaching / Mentoring

Day to Day

I get to my office and go through email to see if there are any "must answer now" messages. I look particularly for email from students who might need a quick response. I make sure I connect to anyone I haven't met before, so that unsolicited email from people is answered more quickly than email from those down the hall. I think about what I'll be teaching in my next class and whether I have to develop anything for that. I make sure I have room to read new stuff online.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Practice listening and helping groups come to a consensus. It's hard to work by yourself, get used to collaborating and working on common goals with others.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Push yourself to go further than you think you can. Value reading and do that widely, don't think that what you're doing now makes a difference in terms of what you study --- but how you study and what you do outside of school makes a huge difference. Get better at talking in groups, pay attention to what those around you are doing and saying.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:

undergrad
Bachelor
doesn't matter
graduate
Graduate
wait a while to do this, no problem
Hurdles

Hurdles

The Noise I Shed

From Friends:

"You are capable of much more than you're doing now, you can do more."

If you really love what you're doing, you can go so much further than even you imagine.

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Financial

I made so little money my first years teaching that I often was way way behind paying my bills. I often invented excuses, but eventually I paid them.