Amazon Engineer Turns Caldwell Computer Science Teacher
Maggie Chapman (Idaho ’18) left her engineering job to pursue a career of impact: teaching STEM to young learners. Read how she’s working to improve students’ access to career opportunities.
September 12, 2018
Maggie made a big decision in spring 2018 to leave Boston, where she had attend college and then worked as an engineer for Amazon, to move to rural Idaho and join the movement for educational equity.
Maggie is originally from St. Louis and studied computer science at Tufts University. In her first year of teaching math and computer science at Caldwell High School, she reflects on what led her to apply to TFA as a young professional and the role she now plays in students lives in Idaho.
Tell us a little bit about your previous role with Amazon.
After I graduated from college, I worked as an engineer for Amazon. I was on a team developing software used in fulfillment centers to help manage and fix equipment. We worked tirelessly to ensure that everyone got their packages on time. I learned so much during this time, and though I enjoyed the problem solving parts of the job, I realized that I am much more passionate about education and increasing equity and access to the technology field.
What led you to apply for Teach For America and accept your offer to be in the Idaho corps?
I am so excited to be a teacher in Idaho. I believe that every students has the right to a high quality education, and I am passionate about being a part of the movement to realize that vision.
What are you most excited about in regards to working in Idaho?
I am especially nerdy, and I love math, computer science, and general problem solving. I look forward to my students experiencing the joy and fun in these subjects (however small), because I know that I would not appreciate these subjects without having had such amazing teachers in my high school education. More than anything, I am looking forward to getting to know my students and empowering them to achieve their goals.
“More than anything, I am looking forward to getting to know my students and empowering them to achieve their goals.”
What do you hope to be true for your students at Caldwell High School?
I hope that all of my students believe that they are capable of learning anything. I hope that each of my students feels empowered to be in charge of their own education and their own future. I hope that each of my students knows that they are an important part of their community and that their actions and words matter to those around them.
What role do you see yourself playing in transforming students education to be able to access jobs in the 21st century?
Right now there are 500,000 open computing jobs in the US, and 1,773 of them are in Idaho. At the same time there are only 333 computer science graduates to fill these roles. Moreover, jobs in all fields are using technology and computing more and more.
My role is show students that computing is fun and exciting, and teach the foundational skills. Computing is a huge part of our society, and all students deserve to have knowledge about the role that it plays, and an understanding of what it is.