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College of Science & Mathematics

Dr. Jennifer Kay earns the 2013 Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award

Jennifer Kay, Professor of Computer Science, will receive the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award - the highest teaching honors at the University.  This award recognizes a full-time, permanent faculty member who has demonstrated outstanding teaching and leadership and is funded by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation which recognizes outstanding teaching and leadership. 

Kay teaches courses across Rowan's Computer Science curriculum, from general education and honors classes for non-majors, to classes at all levels of the B.S. and M.S. in computer science. She has incorporated several novel approaches to teaching introductory programming to non-majors. In one general education class she introduces students to programming using a multi-media context, teaching them to write their own tools that perform Photoshop-like techniques on images as well as similar techniques to manipulate sound files. In another, she teaches the same introductory programming concepts in a completely different context – robot programming.

"I believe that a basic level of computational literacy is essential for all students' success, regardless of major," said Kay. "While most Rowan graduates probably won't be writing their own programs after they graduate, many of them will be interacting with those who do. A fundamental understanding of how computers work will give our graduates the power to better specify their needs, and the confidence to simply ask ‘why not' when told ‘the computer can't do that.'"

Kay's teaching extends beyond Rowan's borders. She co-chair's Rowan's annual FIRST LEGO League (FLL) Qualifier that brings more than 100 middle school students to Rowan every year to show off their robot programming skills. "The amazing thing about FLL is that in addition to learning programming and computational thinking, students are also introduced more broadly to other areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics." Kay has also received funding from Google to support highly successful robot programming workshops for middle and high school teachers.

Kay earned both a M.S. and Ph.D. in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University, as well as a B.A. in Mathematics and a B.S.E. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania.