Champions of Change
Baker is a high school computer science teacher at the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. Since he started teaching in 2002, Baker has worked to increase the visibility and credibility of high school computer science. Much of this work involves ensuring that women and other under-represented groups are given opportunities to succeed in a discipline that has historically excluded them. In recent years Baker has enjoyed greater than 50% female enrollment in his elective computer science courses. Many of these young women have gone on to major in computer science in college and take jobs in the tech industry. A few of his students have won the National Center for Women & Information Technology's award for Aspirations in Computing, which has attracted the attention of other girls in the school and inspired them to achieve great things in computer science. In addition, last year Baker received the NCWIT Educator Award for Aspirations in Computing. Baker is the vice president of the Chicago chapter of the Computer Science Teachers Association, a group he helped establish in 2008. Currently the group is working with local Chicago colleges and universities to train 75 Chicago Public School teachers to teach a computer science curriculum called "Exploring Computer Science" that directly addresses cultural issues of access for women and minorities in the field. The hope is that this effort will instill a passion for computer science in a very diverse group of students that will level the playing field considerably in Chicago Public Schools. Baker also works as a public advocate for computer science education as a CSTA cohort leader, raising awareness of the dire need for better computer science education for all students in America by speaking with public figures, policy makers and other stakeholders. Baker has a B.A. in Computer Science and English from Amherst College in Massachusetts, and an M.S. in Computer Science from the University of Chicago.