Making STEM More Accessible: Academic Innovators Series with Colleen van Lent

Onawa Gardiner, Marketing Specialist

Academic Innovator Colleen van Lent has partnered with Academic Innovation in order to inspire college students to pursue STEM as a career while also making technology more accessible for everyone to integrate into everyday life.

“I love the idea of more people becoming involved [in technology], even if it’s tangentially through something else that they are doing at work.” – Dr. van Lent

In her Specialization, Web Design for Everybody (Basics of Web Development and Coding), Dr. van Lent instructs learners on how to write syntactically correct HTML5 and CSS3 and how to create interactive web experiences with JavaScript. This knowledge teaches a wide audience the basics of web design and development in order to add new skills to their arsenal, pivot professional careers and/or serve as a stackable skill to build upon. Regardless of the learners’ motivation, the series of MOOCs serves to provide them with an understanding of how websites work and how to create and/or improve a site so that it is more accessible to an audience with a diverse set of needs.

Through this series of MOOCs, Dr. van Lent furthers her commitment to promoting technology and STEM fields as accessible to a wide audience. Specifically, she is committed to helping others by teaching learners from all over the world, both through MOOCs and through her residential teaching.

“One of the reasons I chose teaching and why I really wanted to be at the college level was because as an undergrad I really didn’t have any female professors in computer science. I didn’t have a female professor until I was in grad school…I wanted to be out there where you see the freshman and the sophomores and then the people can see you and say “Oh hey there’s someone just like me doing something like what I want to do.” – Dr. van Lent

In doing so, Dr. van Lent serves as a role models for residential students and learners around the world to become involved in technology and STEM fields.

“I had a great professor when I first started learning computer programming: Professor Colleen van Lent. She was a great teacher, and an incredible example of a women in tech. She inspired me to keep going on this career path.” – Marisa Xheka, DIG Student Fellow
To learn more about Dr. van Lent’s work as an Academic Innovator, watch the Academic Innovators video:

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