16.2.12. Lien Diaz

"All of this technology is being developed and created and tested and thought up without people that look like me, without people that have darker skin than me, without so many perspectives, meaning that they're leaving out certain groups in our population that are going to be affected greatly. I don't think that's right."

Picture of Lien

How did she get into computing?

Lien started her career at College Board where she expected to help write the Advanced Placement curriculum for math courses. Upon arrival, she realized she also had to help create the AP Computer Science courses. That requirement forced her to study Java on her own time so that she could contribute.

What does she work as?

“We’re building strong computer science programs by working with teachers, building their teaching capacity, their teaching efficacy, and utilizing the right resources, curriculum and other resources so that they’re able to build this computer science program.”

Lien previously worked at College Board, where she helped develop and create AP Computer Science Principles — a course designed specifically to tackle issues of inequality in computing. Now, she’s using her experiences there to guide her work at the Constellations Center at Georgia Tech, where she’s helping develop computing programs across the nation.

How did AP Computer Science Principles revolutionize computing education?

“What we were trying to do was not only include the major important computer science concepts but also include things like [teaching kids to] express themselves through their programing, communicate their thinking through their skills, and work well with their peers. We wanted to emphasize that creativity is a good thing when you’re programing.”

How does she want to change computing education?

“I’ve been thinking about trying to do more partnerships between colleges and school systems, K12 systems. They need to be a two way partnership so that high school teachers can understand what the expectations are at the college level, but also the college level, they need to understand what’s happening at the high schools. I believe part of the role of higher ed institution is to build those bridges between what’s happening in secondary and build those bridges into post secondary a lot better.”

What advice does she have?

Lien wants students to apply their computing skills to real-world problems in their communities. It allows them to build their skills while also uplifting their community.

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