Angela Foss

Angela Foss

Title
Associate Dean
Organization
Southern New Hampshire University
Location
NH
Angela Foss
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Biography

Angela is currently the Associate Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at Southern New Hampshire University’s College of Online and Continuing Education. Beginning her career in industry as a video game developer armed with a B.S. in Computer Engineering gives her the perfect lens in academia to shape the curriculum for other like-minded individuals interested in STEM degrees and careers. Angie is ever vigilant in giving her students the most up to date courses with valuable hands on experience knowing that these are the most valuable tools that students need to succeed in the workforce.

Education
B.S. in Computer Engineering M.Ed. in Instructional Design
  • I am willing to be contacted by educators for possible speaking engagements in schools or in after school programs or summer camps.
  • I am willing to serve as a sponsor or coach for an engineering club or team.
  • I am willing to host a field trip to my place of employment.
  • I am willing to be contacted about potential job shadowing by interested students.
  • I am willing to be interviewed by interested students via email.
Answers by Angela Foss
Hello Engineer Girl!I have sort of a difficult situation I'd like your advice on. Two years ago I graduated with a BA in Political Science, with the hopes of going to law school. After working at a corporate firm for two years, I've changed my mind. I absolutely loved earning my degree, everything about political science amazes me, but gaining that education was only a small part of my lifetime dreams. In undergrad, I really wanted to get a second degree in computer engineering or software engineering, but my parents were undocumented at the time so I had to work 50+ hrs per week while in school. Long story short - I wasn't able to double major as I had planned. Recently, I got promoted at the firm into the IT department. I regularly build computers and code pretty frequently. I really want a degree in computer engineering or software engineering, especially now that I've begun the transition in my career. Obviously software engineering and computer engineering are kind of far apart, but even so, I'm not sure how to approach this at all. Most universities in my area don't have transitional programs, though a few have some slightly related certificate programs (cert in computer science mostly), but these all seem to teach things I already feel comfortable doing at work! Education is really important to me, so I'm always reading and learning, but a degree would really help me in the future. In my situation, how would you proceed? Where would you go for a degree and what programs would you suggest?

Hi Kelly,

What a great story!  Your path is an amazing one and I would love to assist you in determining what is next.  I understand the pickle between an undergraduate degree in engineering and then investigating potential grad programs that are available to with your undergraduate experience.  However, with the current state of Higher Ed I know there is an option out there that is right for you.  

I would prioritize a graduate degree.  You will get the most bang for your buck with that approach and it sounds like you have some great on-the-job experience that you can leverage.  First you should determine what discipline is more interesting and valuable to you.  Do you like interfacing with some hardware?  If so then computer engineering would be a good choice.  Otherwise, computer science and software engineering programs will be good to look at.  

It is okay to reach out to schools and ask about potential transition programs.  Also, ask what pre-requisite credentials may help with admissions.  Additionally, there are many online programs now that approach transitions differently.  So those may be worth investigating.  

I know I didn't give you a concrete answer but I want to assure you there is a program for you.  I'd be happy to answer more detailed questions for you if you have follow-up questions or have locked down some details.  Stay motivated and ask for support when needed.  

You can do this!

Angela 

Hi Bess,

How exciting that you know what you are interested in today!  There are many organizations out there that offer fun and exciting camps related to engineering.  Some schools even have special programs.  Many offer scholarships or are offered for free and some are offered for girls only. My advice to you is to get involved in an engineering program as soon as possible.  If you need help looking up and reviewing offerings just let me know and I would be glad to help you.  

Also, engineers are creative and make stuff :).  So start building things now (and keep in mind you don't need a camp to get started).  Whether it is a small game you create online with an online tool, like courses done on code.org.  Or if you decide to play around and build something cool with a raspberry pi like projects shown here: http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/how-to/desktop-pc/10-great- raspberry-pi-projects-for-kids-3589952/ 

I got involved in engineering like activities when I was in high school.  I loved art and loved using the computer to develop art pieces.  But unfortunately I didn't have real exposure to engineering until college.  However, today there are so many more opportunities for young ladies like yourself.  

Again, if you have anymore questions feel free to let me know.  And have fun on your engineering path!!

Angela Foss 

     

Hi Megan!

Great question.  There are many paths that a computer engineer can go down.  Some are more hardware focused and some are more software focused.  The environment can vary depending on the focus.  But in many cases a computer engineer will find themselves in a desk/cubicle environment where computer work takes place.  As well as working in varying types of labs.  My favorite work always took place in the lab :) 

Teams are key in all engineering fields so computer engineers can expect to be a functional member of a larger team that may be working on one to many projects.  With project deadlines computer engineers can sometimes see a few late nights to meet those deadlines but often they end up with flexibility during slower times.  Additionally, the work should be fun!  If it does not excite you then it may be worth it to look into other areas of the field.  

I hope this answer helped and please let me know if you have any follow up questions.  

-Angela 

Hello NewAdventure!

You most definitely can pursue a degree in computer science.  And yes it will be hard work, but if you have passion and interest in computer science and/or technology then you will be happy you did.  I am a big believer in individuals being well rounded and I love folks who have diversity in their backgrounds so I think it is great that you already have a degree in theatrical design.  The creativity of this field will have a positive impact on your abilities in computer science.   

Were you wanting to pursue a second undergraduate degree in CS or were you hoping to get a master's degree of some sort?  Depending on your career interests and your educational goals you have many options.  If you are hoping to do software development I think it would be best to pursue a second undergraduate degree in Computer Science.  But you also have the option of taking undergraduate courses to fulfill prerequisites for graduate degrees.  You will need to take mathematics, but depending on what area of development you may not need much past calculus.  Your best bet for starters would be to identify a school or program that you are interested in and meet with an Academic Adviser.  Find out about the programs they offer, the program requirements, and share with them your career goals.  Then maybe take a class or two to test the water. For example you could take an entry level programming class or any entry level IT course that you are interested in.  From there you can fine tune your goals and align them with a program that is best for you.  And once you begin, don't forget that there are many support systems to help you be successful, so use them!  It will get challenging but reach out to those support systems at home, at work, and at your school to overcome the challenges.   

It definitely sounds like an exciting new adventure for you!  I wish you the best and let me know if you have any follow up questions or if you need more specifics. 

All the best,

Angela Foss       

Hello Erica,  Great question!  The Associate's degree you should pursue really depends on the requirements of the degree at your future University.  You want to declare a major that allows you to transfer the most possible credits to your BME program and that provides you with the best preparation and pre-requisites.  For example, at the community college I work at engineering student pursue a degree in an Associate of Science.  This degree offers a higher level of math and science coursework that is required for engineering programs at nearby universities.  It also offers flexibility for students to vary additional coursework based upon the engineering discipline they are pursuing. 

Your best bet is to to pull up your degree requirements from the university and take that with you to an advising appointment at your community college.  I would also suggest that you verify with the university that your community college degree and coursework will meet the admissions requirement of the BME program. 

I hope this was helpful.  Feel free to ask me follow up questions and best of luck!  Engineering is awesome!

Virus Scanner companies have engineers who develop the virus scanning software. I myself have not worked on any projects that work with viruses. However, I am sure the teams of engineers vary in their specific engineering background but primarily consist of software engineers. As far as creating viruses there may be certain situations where software engineers may want to create a virus to simulate how secure their product is or how well their scanner may detect a specific type of virus. There may be another engineer girl who is able to give a more specific answer. You may also try to email a person who works for a virus scanner company and let them know that you are interested in this area and ask if they can give you some information about their company and the type of work their engineers do. Engineers typically love to encourage new and young engineers who are interested in their field. I hope I have helped, let me know if you have any more questions and even if I can't answer them I can hopefully point you in the right direction. Good luck and best wishes. Angela Foss