Ford is a recipient of the Penn State Women in the Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Institute Faculty Recognition Award for her work in helping women and girls excel in engineering and the sciences. She leads the college’s Women in Engineering Day program, an annual event that brings 50 high school girls to campus for a day of interactive, hands-on activities led by Penn State Behrend students and alumni, and female engineers and scientists from Lord Corp. and GE Transportation. Last year’s Women in Engineering Day challenged participants to design and test an aluminum boat, work with a wind turbine, and build an electrical circuit. In addition, Ford has been an active supporter of the college’s Math Options Day and 21st Century Kids science and engineering programs for youth, and she helped create a dedicated K-12 Engineering Outreach Laboratory within the School of Engineering, and received the 2008-2009 School of Engineering Outreach Award.
Education: B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics from SUNY at Potsdam
What courses do you teach? CMPSC 200 & 201 Computer Programming for Engineers with MATLAB & C++
What can students expect when they take one of your courses? I hope they come out of the course with a better understanding of problem solving using a computer programming language.
What is your favorite course to teach? Why? I enjoy teaching the programming courses because it is like a big puzzle that needs to be solved and I enjoy seeing the students fit all of the pieces together.
How would you describe yourself as a teacher? I want to see the students succeed and do the best they can do! I have no problem helping or finding help for students so that they can better understand the material. I want the students to become better problem solvers.
What do you like best about teaching at Penn State Behrend? I love the campus, the students, the faculty and the staff. I think Behrend and Erie is a great community and I am enjoying living here, working here and raising my family here!
What’s your favorite...
Book? I LOVE to read so pretty much anything. I go to the library quite often!
Movie? I love movies, too. Thank goodness for online movie subscriptions. I enjoy all types but have to say … growing up, The Sound of Music. It was a tradition for my Mom and I to watch it together without all of the “guys” in the family. Now, I enjoy movies I can watch with the family and we watch all kinds from Toy Story to Lord of the Rings.
Music/band? My kids will say country but I also like rock, jazz, classical and more. But mostly country; I got hooked on it when I was driving across the country once and it was the only radio station I could get.
What are some of your hobbies/pastimes? Doing stuff with my kids, of course. But for “me” time, I like to scrapbook, crochet, knit and read.
What advice can you give students to succeed both in college and in life? Best advice I have: Be yourself, work hard and respect others as you want them to respect you.