Kathleen Malone is an instructor in the department of Computing Sciences at Villanova University. Kathleen started teaching part-time seven years ago, and prior to working at Villanova, she was an adjunct at all types of schools, from Delaware County Community College to Penn State University to the University of Pennsylvania. In 2019, Villanova hired Kathleen as a full-time instructor, which was extra special since Villanova is her alma mater: “I feel a deep connection to it, and it is a perfect fit for me.” She teaches Analysis of Algorithms and Platform Computing and will teach Applied Machine Learning in the spring for a colleague who is going on sabbatical. She is also the coach of the Villanova programming team and helps prepare students for programming competitions such as the annual ICPC competition. She meets with students weekly to go over common problems and algorithms used in the competitions. These are also the types of problems used in technical interviews, so the team has become pretty large with students attending competitions, or just using the time to prepare for interviews. “I’ve really enjoyed working with the students in this capacity, and I’m currently working on preparing a competitive programming course that will hopefully be offered in the next year or so.”
Prior to teaching, Kathleen was a stay-at-home mom for more than a decade. “During that time, I kept my technical skills sharp by writing applications for local volunteer organizations, and I took on my own personal projects. For example, I built an online petition for a community organization, and I built a babysitting app to help with my own needs. Before motherhood, I was a Research Assistant for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and a Solutions Architect for HP."
"I learned so much at Georgia Tech. I loved the selection of courses, the fellow classmates who were so eager to learn along with me, and the daily grind of listening to lectures, reading Piazza posts, and completing assignments. Completing each course gave me such a sense of accomplishment."
Kathleen received her master’s degree in information systems from NYU about 20 years ago. “At the time, I had the option to enroll in the computer science program or the information systems program. I’ve always felt like I was missing something by not doing the computer science program. In 2017, I was looking at Udacity courses to upskill, and I learned about the OMSCS program. I knew right away I had to do it. With three young children at home, I didn’t have the time to attend a full-time program, and financially it didn’t make sense for me to pay the tuition for an on-campus program. An affordable online program from a top notch university like Georgia Tech seemed too good to be true. I applied right away and started in the Fall of 2017.”
One of the aspects about OMSCS Kathleen loved the most was that “I learned so much at Georgia Tech. I loved the selection of courses, the fellow classmates who were so eager to learn along with me, and the daily grind of listening to lectures, reading Piazza posts, and completing assignments. Completing each course gave me such a sense of accomplishment. I would spend hours working on assignments. I sacrificed a ton of leisure time, but it was totally worth it. The pain and the glory is something only OMSCS students can understand." In fact, Kathleen enjoyed OMSCS courses so much that she still looks at the courses that are offered and is always impressed with the new added courses. She would love to take Machine Learning or Deep Learning especially.
If she could give any advice to students, it would be, “Don’t give up. The program is difficult and time consuming, but the knowledge gained and a degree from Georgia Tech is so worth it. It took me five years to complete the program. I am so proud to say I have a degree from Georgia Tech. It is something no one can take away from you.”
"I am so proud to say I have a degree from Georgia Tech. It is something no one can take away from you."
When asked if she would have done anything differently, Kathleen passionately responded that “I don’t think I would do anything differently. I had to withdraw from a course one semester, and I took a semester off here and there. But I have no regrets. I finished it at a pace that worked for me and my family. If I had rushed it, I wouldn’t have learned as much. I started the OMSCS program because I wanted the degree, but when I started teaching I knew I had to finish the program if I wanted to be hired full-time as an instructor. The OMSCS program allowed me to get the degree required to teach at the college level.”