Lisa Kovalchick

California, PA, US
Field of Work 
Computer Science
Company 
California University of Pennsylvania
Job Title or "Student" 
Associate Professor
Education 
West Virginia University and California University of Pennsylvania
Degree 
Computer Science
Education Level 
PhD
Profile Biography 
My name is Dr. Lisa Kovalchick and I am an Associate Professor in the Mathematics, Computer Science and Information Systems Department at California University of Pennsylvania (Cal U). I teach courses in computer programming (Java, C, C++, Web programming, etc) and computer networking.

In high school, I excelled in many subject areas, which made it tough to figure out what subject to study in college. I really liked mathematics, but didn't think there was much I could do with a mathematics degree, other than teaching, which I didn't want to do at the time. After talking with my high school guidance counselor, he suggested a degree in mathematics and computer science. After looking into it, I thought that this would be a perfect fit; I could study mathematics and computers at the same time! So, I enrolled in the Mathematics and Computer Science degree program at Cal U. After my sophomore year at Cal U, I obtained an internship as a programmer for US Steel. I enjoyed the internship, but at the same time, I began to take interest in becoming a university professor. I decided to apply to grad school at West Virginia University (WVU); I was accepted and offered an assistantship, which paid for most of my schooling. I earned a Master's and Ph D degree in Computer Science from WVU.

While finishing my Ph.D, I applied for a faculty position at Cal U. I was hired and have worked as a professor at Cal U since 2004. There is never a dull moment in my career at Cal U; when teaching computing, you always need to stay up-to-date with the latest technology. In addition, I keep busy with many scholarship and service projects; I publish papers and am involved with projects such as FabFems.
In my spare time, I enjoy volunteering to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to youth. I also have 2 dogs, which I love to take on walks. I am a big football fan (good luck Steelers and Mountaineers). My favorite television shows include House and The Big Bang Theory. I listen to a variety of music (top 40, country, classic rock, etc).

My advice to anyone who is interested in a career in STEM is to study hard and make the most of all of your opportunities. Don't ever let anyone tell you that you can't do something and don't think that you don't have the money to go to college. There are many sources of funding available (talk to the financial aid office at the university that you're thinking of attending). The STEM fields are some of the fastest growing employment fields; so, you are making the right choice!
Interests 
Writing/blogging, Working outdoors, Pets, Dance, Computing, Travel
Race & Ethnicity 
White
Level of Participation 
After-school visit, Field trip participation, In-school visit, Job shadow, Online role model, Summer camp visit
My Experience 
I have been a Role Model many times.
Availability 
No Preference
Resources 
Career exploration activities, Field trip hosting, Funding opportunities, Hands-on activities for students, Identifying other role models
Program Affiliation 
NGCP Collaborative FabFem

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