Jennifer Houchins has a combined 15 years of professional experience as both an informal STEM educator and a developer of educational technology software. As the director of technology programs, Houchins contributes to research, development and outreach efforts of emerging technologies and their use in K-12 and higher education settings. She is also responsible for the overall management of the Friday Institute’s IT services and resources and provides leadership in IT operations, project IT support and furthering the overall mission of the Friday Institute.
Before joining the Friday Institute, Houchins was an educator at the Shodor Education Foundation and served education efforts for initiatives such as Computing MATTERS, the Blue Waters project and the Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment (XSEDE) project. She has designed and delivered technology-focused professional development for educators and summer programs for students across North Carolina. She has designed and delivered technology-focused professional development for educators and summer programs for students across North Carolina. As deputy director for the Community Engagement and Enrichment subgroup of the XSEDE project, Houchins coordinated education, outreach and training programs related to high performance computing and its applications. Additionally, in her capacity coordinating the student internship program for Blue Waters, she oversaw the development of open-source online curriculum modules aimed at preparing undergraduate students for the growing complexity of advanced computing paradigms. During this time, Houchins also improved the program’s undergraduate internship recruitment efforts and achieved an increase from less than 20% to almost 70% inclusion and participation of underserved minority students.
As a senior software engineer, Houchins built her expertise in developing personalized learning platforms, which prompted her to pursue her doctorate in Learning Design and Technology at the NC State College of Education, where she has served as a research assistant on several projects funded by the National Science Foundation and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. Her work focuses on the development of students’ computational thinking skills and designing technology-enhanced learning environments such as makerspaces.
Jennifer Houchins Joins Friday Institute as Director of Technology Programs
Jennifer Houchins is joining the Friday Institute for Educational Innovation as the director of technology programs beginning Jul. 1, 2021.
Ed Week: Two Ways to Add ‘Computational Thinking’ to Middle School Science
During AERA's annual conference, researchers from NC State University and the University of Colorado, Boulder, highlighted two pilot programs to use computational thinking to enhance standard science units.