Ms. Stacia Green, who works in the IT department at SJHS, teaches Technology Fundamentals classes, and runs the Robotics Club with Mr. Mobijohn and Mr. St. Louis, found her passion for engineering early on in life. As a little girl, she considered herself a tomboy; she loved to run around outside, play with the boys, and help out her uncle in his mechanic shop. “Pass me the pliers,” or “Pass me the wrench,” her uncle would say, and little by little she came to know all about the different tools he would use to repair cars.
But one day, something special happened. A friend of hers took apart an old phone and connected the speaker in the handset to a tall almond tree. The tree acted as a giant antenna, and the little speaker began to pick up AM radio signals. Young Stacia was amazed. “How was he able to do this? How did it happen? What are these devices? How do they work?” She was overflowing with questions and curiosity, and the event that day lit a fire in her that gave birth eventually to her decision to pursue a career in electrical engineering.
Check it out! Mouse Technology Sewable Tech at SJHS
In her final year of college, she was contacted by her school’s career services department with a job offer from a telecommunications company. She loved her work, which involved installing new telephone lines and fixing the MDF (Main Distribution Frame). Eventually she decided she wanted to continue her studies, and pursue new career options, so she came to City Tech (CUNY) here in Downtown Brooklyn, and studied for another degree Telecommunications Engineering Technology. Initially dismayed to find that she was almost the only woman in her classes, she was determined not to let that fact deter her from following her passion. By the time she graduated, 50% of the men in the program had dropped out, and she was still there.
After completing several certifications and working extensively within the DOE fixing computer networks in public schools in the Bronx, Ms. Green decided to spend some of her free time volunteering in the IT Department here at SJHS. One year later, she decided to stay for good, joining the IT staff, and eventually taking on additional responsibilities as a teacher. Ms. Green is deeply committed to the mission of SJHS, and in particular to the opportunities our school affords to young women to consider the fields of study that she first found so exciting as a young child.
Young Women in STEAM
Last year, when the film Hidden Figures was released, our students had the opportunity to see it at our neighborhood theater, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema. These days, Ms. Green shows the movie to her students at the beginning of the school year, as an introduction to the topics and ideas they will cover in the class. She hopes that they and future students will be inspired by the true story of African American women such as Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson, whose mathematical ingenuity, and fluency with the latest computer technologies contributed to numerous aspects of the NASA space program during the 1960s. “Movies like this one are powerful,” Ms. Green says, “because they build confidence, and help teen girls overcome their fear of breaking barriers that stand in the way of pursuing their dreams, especially in STEM fields.”
“Movies like Hidden Figures are powerful because they build confidence, and help teen girls overcome their fear of breaking barriers that stand in the way of pursuing their dreams, especially in STEM fields.
– Ms. Stacia Green, SJHS IT Department and Fundamentals of Technology teacher
Education and Vocation
In her Fundamentals of Technology class, Ms. Green starts the year off by having students build a timeline of the past, present and future of technology; each student is tasked with researching three developments in each of the STEAM fields from the past 100 years. Through this exercise, students gain a deep understanding of how scientific discovery and technological innovation occur, and how events of the past continue to shape the present and the future. In the class, Ms. Green uses hands-on activities to teach the basics of robotics, circuitry, and coding, and students learn about sustainability and new advancements in renewable energy technologies.
“Efforts to promote a sustainable use of natural resources are not a waste of money…We know how unsustainable is the behaviour of those who constantly consume and destroy, while others are not yet able to live in a way worthy of their human dignity…Put simply, it is a matter of redefining our notion of progress. A technological and economic development which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life cannot be considered progress.”
— Laudato Si, Encyclical by Pope Francis
As they work through these different subjects, constantly encountering new concepts and discovering more about how the world works, Ms. Green’s students are encouraged to reflect on which activities create a spark of excitement within them. While of course she hopes many students will find a passion for engineering similar to her own, Ms. Green’s number one priority is for each student to discover what she is being called to by God; that new fire of curiosity, she says, is often a sign of vocation — a discovery of the work you’ve been put on earth to do.
The Journey Continues!
Many students who start out in the Tech Fundamentals class also join the Robotics Club, a partnership with NYU Tandon School of Engineering where students can keep exploring their interests in engineering and computer science through fun activities and challenges. In Robotics Club, Ms. Green has seen one hour meetings easily turn into two and half hours; once the students get engrossed in the projects, she observes eyes brighten and minds engage – ideas flow back and forth across the room, and students share what they have figured out with one another, generating a dynamic – maybe even an electric – atmosphere.