While teaching wasn’t always something that he planned to do, it has become somewhat of a passion for Professor Jody Strausser.
Now in his third year at Clarion, Strausser is an instructor in the Computer Information Science department. He received his undergraduate degree from Moravian College before getting his masters from The College of William & Mary. He is currently pursuing his doctorate from Robert Morris University.
Strausser’s path to becoming a teacher is unique. He worked as a software engineer in the Department of Defense in Virginia Beach, Virginia, for 10 years.
While there, he was asked to teach an introductory class, which is where he says he “caught the teaching bug.”
He would leave his job as an engineer to pursue teaching full-time, and would go on to instruct at Tidewater Community College in Virginia Beach for five years, where he started his own Modeling and Simulation program.
From there, Strausser, an Eastern Pennsylvania native, accepted a job at Clarion as a sort of homecoming.
Strausser’s decision to pursue teaching came from his belief that it’s neccesary to keep trying new things and pushing oneself.
He had initially planned to become a teacher until his senior year of high school, around the time that the internet was starting to take off, which is when he developed an enthusiasm for computers.
At Clarion, Strausser teaches a variety of classes, mainly Information Systems and Computer Science, as well as programming courses.
He also teaches introductory courses, as he says he likes to get people excited about the subject.
“Most people think, ‘I’m a computer science person, so I’m just going to sit there in my cube and never talk to anybody,’ but that definitely is not the case, and I’m trying to open people up to that,” he said.
When his students leave his classroom, Strausser said he wants them to take certain lessons with them.
“Keep trying. Whether or not they feel they have succeeded to their expectations or not, I want them to continue trying. I didn’t get this stuff the first time that I did it, and that’s true in most things that you are learning. I want them to be able to do something when they leave my classroom. I want them to walk out of there with a skill set.”
As for his future, Strausser plans to continue working toward his doctorate and continue his research regarding how best to prepare computer science students to meet the needs of employers.
He said he hopes to make strong connections with local companies to help grow Clarion’s reputation for its CIS program.
With computer science becoming such an integral part of our society, Strausser says the opportunities in the field continue to grow.
“It’s a very exciting time to be in this field because it’s changing so rapidly and there is so much innovation. It’s just a fascinating time to be working with technology.”
As for advice he has for current students, Strausser said he encourages students to explore their passions.
“If you have any interest, take a class. That’s what college is all about, is finding what you’re passionate about. You never know where it’s going to wind up taking you. I’m a prime example of that.”
As a professor, he said he was also obligated to offer one more piece of advice to students: “Go to class.”