My name is Jennifer A. Polack, and I am a Full Professor of Computer Science at the University of Mary Washington. I was born and raised on Long Island, NY. I did the majority of primary and secondary education in Mineola, NY. I go back every year, mainly because I attend the Egan Family Picnic, which has been going on for at least 50 years.
My time on Long Island was spent as a kid, teenager, and young adult. I made some of my best friends via lifeguarding and working at blockbuster. By 1993 it was time to make my big move to Florida.
I have two great kids, Oliver and Brianna. Oliver is attending Radford University to study Communication Digital Media. Brianna is at Virginia Commonwealth University studying Chemical Engineering. My best friend Bruce loves the kids will all his heart. His wife Martha and his daughter Coralie are our extended family in Fredericksburg.
I am currently working on several study abroad classes as part of my job. I am taking 11 people to Brazil and Argentina this spring break to teach Digital Storytelling. Next year I want to go to Iceland with another bunch of students. Within the next five years, I want to apply to a semester at sea program.
B.S. Bachelor of Science.
Next, I was off to the University of Scranton, PA, where I almost quit computer science. Still, my Mom urged me to continue with it (actually, she said if I was going to study education, then I could go to a public University). In my sophomore year, while taking Data Structures, my professor Fernando Nevada told me he didn’t think computer science was my thing. I was glad to prove him wrong and tell him when I unexpectedly found out we were both FIE Conference Chairs in 2010. He didn’t even remember me but we are friends now and enjoy laughing together. Two years later, I received my B.S. in computer science from the University of Scranton.
M.S Master of Science
While I applied to many jobs, 1992 was a horrible year to graduate and find employment. But on a bright note, I was accepted to Pace University and got a full ride as a research assistant in downtown NYC. The only problem was I needed to start the day after I graduated from Scranton and moved back to Long Island. It was a very exciting year commuting on the LIRR and subways, meeting new friends (Juan Trinidad) and studying computer science. I quickly discovered I wanted to get my Ph.D. and put my M.S. on the fast track. Fourteen months later, I had my M.S. in Computer Science.
Ph.D.: Doctorate of Philosophy
Once again, the day after I graduated, I was already at a new University, starting my Ph.D. at the University of South Florida, Tampa. I was already down in Florida starting my new path when I was supposed to be walking graduation at Pace University. Once again, I was fortunate to get a full ride and served as a lecturer at the University of South Florida in Lakeland. In December 1997, I earned my Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering.
My six years in Florida were terrific, and where I found out I love to teach, love warm weather, and played soccer with some great friends called the drinking buddies. The team still exists, and Chris & Tracey, my former buddies, own the Tampa Bay Club Sport.