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Sharon Mistretta

“That is the real heart of education, to be curious and to harness the curiosity of our students.”

School of Education

Doctor of Education, EdD 2019

Adjunct Faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Education

Sharon‘s Podcast Episode

In this episode, we discuss how Sharon’s childhood freedom to explore her curiosity sparked her interest in science, math, and learning, her journey from being an English major to working as a computer programmer to eventually pursing a doctorate in education, and the ways her different experiences working in a male-dominated field inspired her to address gender-based attitudes in STEM education to better support women learners.

Learn More About Sharon‘s Story

I selected this image of me at five years old to represent an essential aspect of my life story. I was blessed with two parents who did not silo me into toys-for-girls. While I had dolls and the obligatory miniature kitchen set, my earliest requested toys were block sets such as Tinkertoys by Spalding and American Plastic Bricks by Halsam. The round canisters of Tinkertoys and plastic bricks still in our basement are like old friends. As a child, I pooled my birthday gifts to purchase a microscope and spent hours sampling water from a nearby brook to observe amoeba and paramecium. My parents gave me the freedom to explore my interests and play with dolls with female friends and Matchbox cars with male friends. I never felt the need to hide my interest in objects or topics traditionally associated with siloed gender roles.

The second image that defines an important aspect of my life ties in directly with the freedom afforded to me by my parents to pursue my interests. The picture is a composite of objects that define my journey in technology. I took one course in Basic computer programming in college using paper tape and never looked back. The punched tape draped over the Apple IIe accompanies an iOS device, floppy disks, an Ozobot Evo, and Vex Clawbot robots. I programmed in many languages and on a wide variety of platforms as I worked on Datapoint mini computers and IBM mainframes for money center banks in New York City before transitioning to a career as a technology teacher in grades Pre-K3 to twelfth grades. Now I teach educators studying toward their STEM-focused Master’s degree for U.S. Satellite, a NASA education partner, and Doctoral degrees at Johns Hopkins University School of Education, where I obtained my doctorate specializing in K-16 Technology Integration. I am forever grateful for the freedom that my parents gave me to pursue my interests as a lifelong learner without siloing me into traditional gender roles.