Hocking College's Tasha Penwell has been highlighted as Amazon Web Services Educate's Cloud Ambassador of the Month.
In addition to being the college's Computer Science Program Manager since 2018, Penwell is also an instructor for the Website and Application Development classes.
AWS Educate is a grant-oriented program for students, academic researchers and educators. Their mission is to "Teach Tomorrow's Cloud Workforce Today." Their long-term goal is to make the educational community more aware of Amazon's public cloud services.
The AWS Educate Cloud Ambassador Program was created for top-tier cloud educators who serve as ambassadors for AWS Educate.
Ambassador's share their knowledge and experience in teaching cloud computing with their students, colleagues and community members.
The program equips students with the cloud computing skills they'll need to enter — and succeed in— the workforce of tomorrow.
Hocking College first partnered with AWS Educate in 2019. The partnership was spearheaded by Dr. Betty Young, the college's president, and Penwell to incorporate the AWS curriculum into the college's existing computer science program.
As a result of this partnership, students now have the opportunity to earn both role-based and specialty-based certificates geared to make them more marketable in the workforce.
Holding these certifications proves student's knowledge and skill in cloud computing. That proof helps graduates secure more job interviews, expands their salary expectations, and offers a clear pathway to potential recertification.
Penwell personifies the term non-traditional student. Growing up, she lived in a rural area that left her with limited access to computers. Then, when she found herself a single mother, she decided that the best way to better her situation was by going back to school.
By the time she earned her associate's degree from Rio Grande Community College at 28, she had realized the impact continuing her education could have on her future. She decided to stay in school and earned a bachelor's degree at 32 from Rio Grande University and a master's degree at 34 from DeVry University's Keller Graduate School of Management.
Ryan Rieder, dean of Hocking College's School of Arts, Business and Sciences, said that "Tasha has worked diligently to contribute to Hocking College's Web App and Development program through innovation and service. She has devoted countless hours advising students and pointing them toward new opportunities within the field."
One of Penwell's former students, Andrea Chatfield, describes her teaching style as one that "emphasizes a learning or growth environment as opposed to a simple pass/fail mentality."
A non-tradition student herself, Chatfield appreciated how Penwell connects with her students.
"Tasha's experience as a non-traditional student has made her a better teacher in part because she actually understands trying to balance work, family and education," Chatfield said. "If you had a problem with a poor internet connection or work obligations, she would always make sure she worked with the student and make reasonable accommodations so that they could learn the material and succeed."
For more information on Hocking College and Amazon Web Services Educate's partnership, or enrolling in HC's Computer Science program, please contact Computer Science Program Manager Tasha Penwell at 740-753-7181 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.