Elaine Blomeyer

Fellowship Placement: National Science Foundation
Cohort: 2013-2014

Following the Einstein Fellowship, Elaine Blomeyer returned to the Los Angeles Unified School District as a Secondary Teacher where she currently teaches computer science and Android app design in the Watts region of Southern California. Prior to the Fellowship, she taught math for one year in a high school in Los Angeles, followed by five years teaching Computer Science and Robotics to high school students in South Gate, California. 

Elaine began her teaching career as a mathematics teacher in East Los Angeles, but left the profession to work as a software engineer in companies such as Hughes Aircraft Company, Motorola, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Elaine earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in Mathematics and German prior to earning a Master of Arts in Mathematics from the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles. Her senior year at USC was spent abroad where she studied at the Universitaet Wien in Vienna, Austria. She has taken several computer related courses at local community colleges, but most of her programming skills are self-taught. 

During her Fellowship in 2013-2014, Elaine was placed at the National Science Foundation in the Education and Human Resources Directorate in the Division of Human Resource Development. Her main duties involved supporting the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST) Program. She is most proud of being able to use her programming skills to create two tools for future use by the program. The first tool consists of a Microsoft Word template that extends the normal mail-merge functionality. After installing this template, an Advanced Mail Merge tab appears on the ribbon allowing users to mail-merge with attachments. The second tool will automatically generate the PowerPoint presentation used during the PAEMST Awards Ceremony using data from an awardee spreadsheet. Both of these tools were well received by the PAEMST team and will be used by the program going forward. 

As part of her Fellowship, Elaine held a workshop for teachers in Puerto Rico introducing them to Scratch and web development in 2013. In addition she conducted workshops at the TODOS-Math for All Conference titled “Using Geometry to Program the HTML 5 Canvas” and the Computer Science Teachers Association Conference titled “Introduction to Programming the HTML5 Canvas”. These last two workshops were co-presented with Einstein Fellow James Town in 2014. Through her affiliation with the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Exploring Computer Science program, Elaine presented “Big Data Subsetting in Deducer” at a Mobilize workshop in 2012, as well as “The CSS Box Model” and “Lego Mindstorms Robotics Resources for Teachers” to Exploring Computer Science teachers in the Los Angeles Unified School District, also in 2012. In addition, she presented at a K-12 Computing Teachers Workshop, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing in 2011.

While working in industry, Elaine was given a Motorola Bravo Award 3 times and received a Hughes Aircraft Superior Performance Award, but she is most proud of the Encompass Excellence Award she received while working as an independent consultant. Normally, awards are given to employees, but this award was created especially for her and has only been given the one time. 

Elaine believes curriculum can be made more relevant for students in today’s global society by focusing less on traditional mathematical skills and more on the computational thinking needed to program a computer. She has often asked the questions, “Which is more relevant to a student, demonstrating logical thinking skills by doing a geometric proof, or using those skills to create a phone app? Which would more likely entice a student, performing trigonometric identities which involve more algebra than trigonometry, or using trigonometric functions to cause objects to bounce off each other in a computer game?” She has found that students are pleasantly surprised by how much creativity is involved in writing a computer program and how much individuality can be expressed in a programming assignment. She feels privileged and excited to have taught Computer Science in a school that serves students who are traditionally underrepresented in engineering and technical careers. She feels strongly that students who do not have access to these types of courses are unaware of college majors that would lead to jobs in industry.