Story submitted by Amy Schultz, Mora MN School Board Member

Photo of Amy Schultz, smiling, with the words Code Savvy Stories #WhyCSEd and her name and title next to her

Early Years and Challenges

Growing up as the eldest of four children in southern Pennsylvania, my family faced significant financial difficulties that led us from living on a farm to renting a house owned by my grandfather. This period of my life laid the foundation for a journey I could never have predicted.

In these challenging times, my parents did everything they could to make ends meet. My father sold milking equipment to local farmers for minimum wage, while my mother ran a daycare out of our home and cared for two foster children. In the evenings, they ventured into selling computers to businesses and homes—a novel concept in 1984.

Discovery of Computers

This endeavor unexpectedly opened the door to the digital world for me. With a scarcity of books at home and a curiosity that couldn’t be tamed, I turned to the only available reading material—computer manuals. This led me to programming at the DOS prompt, where my first creation was a simple program that printed the name of a boy I liked, over and over.

As we moved from Pennsylvania to Denver and then to rural Wisconsin, my educational landscape transformed dramatically. In Denver, I enrolled in an extra programming course for my 7th grade year, amazed by the urban school system’s vast opportunities. Then in Wisconsin, I joined a school programming team as a freshman, soon finding myself competing—and winning—in programming contests. This experience even led to a job offer from a local businessman at the tender age of 16, marking the beginning of my professional journey in software development.

Professional and Personal Growth

I pursued a degree in Computer Science from the University of Minnesota Morris, which propelled me into a fulfilling career in the IT sector, specializing in healthcare. However, life took a turn with the birth of my children. My first was born with cognitive disabilities, and by the time my third child was born, my husband’s intense schedule as a medical resident and later a doctor meant reevaluating our priorities. Thus, I stepped away from my career to focus on my family, though my passion for technology never dimmed.

Continued Impact and Beliefs

Even outside a professional capacity, I found ways to leverage my skills for the greater good. From supporting a local campaign to volunteering in Kenya, my journey with computers continued to evolve. Currently, I serve as the treasurer for a non-profit supporting Kenyan healthcare facilities, illustrating the far-reaching impact of technology.

Most importantly, I’ve become a staunch advocate for programming education. Starting young, I believe, can transform how students think and solve problems, equipping them with a powerful tool for their future, regardless of the career path they choose.

Reflecting on my journey from a farm in Pennsylvania to advocating for computer science education on the Mora School Board, it’s clear that programming is more than a skill—it’s a way to change lives. As we look towards the future, I am committed to ensuring that students have the opportunity to discover this “super-power” for themselves, empowering them to solve the challenges of tomorrow.

This Code Savvy Story was submitted by Amy Schultz, Mora MN School Board Member

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One thought on “From Farm to Code: My Journey in Computer Science

  1. Lisa S says:

    What an inspiring story. Our community is better because of your pursuit of tech!

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