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Using computer science to improve education

Former teacher hopes to leave a mark on students with technology on his side

By Joel Gustafson
Feb. 26, 2020

Change is a word we often prefer to keep at arm’s length. It’s great in the fall, watching leaves change color with a pumpkin-spiced-something in hand, but beyond that it can be intimidating to say the least.

Mark Moore, on the other hand, embraced change when he chose to step away from his career as a classroom teacher to pursue a future that blends education and computer science.

In June of 2019, when Mark and his two older children drove from Texas to Oregon so he could participate in OSU’s commencement ceremony, he was kind enough to share an afternoon with us for a conversation about his journey.

Why did you decide to go back to school to earn your computer science degree online?

“My wife and I met through teaching. We both are lifelong learners, and we both have a passion for education. She wants to continue being a traditional classroom educator. And that was only possible if I were to leave the classroom for the economic possibilities outside of the traditional school setting.

“We came to the decision that we could stay in education, but I could go into computer science, which allows me to continue in fields connected to education, while being financially secure for the sake of my family. We were able to find the two-year program in Oregon State’s online computer science postbaccalaureate program to be within our needs and our abilities, and I’m finishing just in time, because my wife is due (with a third child) in August (2019). So, thank you, Oregon State.” 

What was it like working and going to school?

“It was a question of budgeting time and being more effective in my studying, so that I could have time to do my job, plus complete the homework. So, it was a balancing act. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And I found a way to make it work. My wife helped me out tremendously. She’s a great support, and was able to handle the household when I wasn’t able to be there.”

Tell us about your decision to change careers.

“Change of careers is always a little bit stressful. This change is not so much a change in career, so much as it is a lateral shift. I’ll still be educating, which is what my passion is. I’ll just be doing it in a different capacity and on a larger scale, on a global scale. Oregon State offers the technological education necessary for me to make this shift, while I can increase my earning potential, which offers security for myself and my family.”

What advice would you give people who are thinking about applying to Oregon State’s online computer science program?

“My advice for any potential student who wants to join the online community and learn these technological skills is to not hesitate like I did. I wanted to learn software engineering when I was in my early 20s, but I hesitated because I thought it would be difficult. Now, after receiving my degree online through Oregon State Ecampus, I can tell you that anyone can be successful, and I want to encourage you – even if it seems difficult and overwhelming – because it’s definitely worth it.”

If you’re ready for the next step, count us in.

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