Making Programming Accessible to Everyone

With a knack for simplifying complex concepts and making class fun, Sabet Vallejo is making programming come alive for her students. 

An instructor at Continuum College since 2015, Sabet Vallejo teaches the UW Foundations of Programming (C# & .NET) course, the ASP.NET Core Web Applications course as part of the UW Certificate in C# Programming Using Net Core and the UW Algorithmic Thinking course

Throughout her tenure as a teacher, she has focused on a singular mission — the success of her students and their ability to grow. “I want my students not to fear learning new things and be able to interact with the course content as needed to keep up to date with what’s new,” she says. “I want to see students break through the initial obstacles of learning challenging things and continue to become strong, independent learners.”

In this interview, Sabet shares her thoughts on teaching at Continuum, lifelong learning and making education possible for everyone. 

What’s the best part of teaching at Continuum?

Educating others helps me keep up with my personal and professional skill sets. I am an engineer at heart and like to solve problems. I am enthusiastic about designing and applying tools that translate theories and concepts into meaningful actions that impact our lives. Teaching allows me to demonstrate these learnings and bring them to life visually.

Through education, our diverse community can communicate better, become a stronger team and convey concepts in ways that can help enhance our future. 

 — Sabet Vallejo

Additionally, teaching allows me the opportunity to give back to my community. I enjoy seeing students succeed, become passionate about changing their lives for the better or learn new challenging materials that help them to advance in their careers. 

Have you seen the learning in your classes make a difference in someone’s life or career?

I have taught nearly 2,000 students during the past 20 years. Many of them contact me months or years after taking a course and tell me how it has changed their career and how they enjoyed learning something new that opened opportunities for them. 

One student who stands out the most is Alex Shepler, a 13-year-old boy who was attending my classes along with his dad. He was grateful for how the courses changed his plans and how he is now involved in his high school teaching or encouraging other students to learn C# (C-Sharp).

What do people need to know about the importance of lifelong learning?

The sciences are evolving and intermixing, causing programming to intersect with science and research. To solve the complex problems of our future, you can no longer limit your knowledge to one or two areas. All professionals, whether engineers, medical researchers, environmentalists or financial experts, need to become familiar with programming languages that can solve their problems at many levels.

What does the mission of “making education possible for everyone” mean to you?

Education develops skills for the future. Through education, our diverse community can communicate better, become a stronger team and convey concepts in ways that can help enhance our future.

Helping our younger generation use logical steps and boost their knowledge is crucial for all genders and all social groups. The right tools and opportunities must be available to everyone. Our community is empowered if all members are educated and powerful problem solvers.