Vanessa has taught Information Computer Sciences courses for the University of Hawaii system since 1990 - mostly at Windward Community College.
Back at the dawn of the microcomputer era, Vanessa took a computer science course during her senior year of college. She took it as an elective because "Computing seemed like it might be a field worth knowing." The class worked on a computer called a Challenger 20, which connected to a TV for a monitor and had a regular cassette recorder to record programs. At the time, all computer programs for small computers were written by the user in a language called Basic. Vanessa knew with her first line of computer code that she was in the wrong major.
After receiving her Bachelor's degree with a major in Psychology and double minors - Sociology & English, Vanessa returned to school to pursue education in computer programming taking classes at several different colleges. Realizing she would have to repeat courses at one place in order to receive a second bachelor's, she decided instead to work toward a Master's degree. In 1987 she finally completed her Masters degree from the University of Southern California extension program in Hawaii with a major in Systems Management and a certificate in Information Systems.
Online for 30+ years
Vanessa first visited the online world in 1984 when she worked for an information provider called The Direct Connection which produced computer news for such online services as CompuServe, Delphi, GEnie, and Applelink. She was also a beta tester for the Prodigy Online Service when it first became a national service. Most of these early online services have been bought out by other companies or have ceased to exist. Vanessa says "It's been an amazing journey watching the online world develop! My hero is Tim Bernes-Lee, the man who contributed much to creating the Web and didn't try to capitalize on it."
Vanessa has also worked as a computer consultant, technology assistant, office manager, medical claims examiner, writer/editor/photographer for a small newspaper, office clerk, postal clerk, and math tutor.
Her outside interests include reading science fiction and fantasy, watching movies, hiking, home and yard maintanence, and learning.
Vanessa has a keen interest in learning disabilities stemming from her son's severe dyslexia (now a UH Manoa graduate in Creative Media). From her son's dyslexia, she has come to the philosophy that although reading is important, the more fundamental skill is crtitical & logical thinking. There are digital substitutes for the ability to read, but none for critical & logical thinking.
Vanessa's daughter (a UH Manoa graduate in English and an Ada's Developers Academy graduate) is a software development engineer in Seattle.
Vanessa is also a member of Foundation for Critical Thinking and Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education.