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Gina Cooper

Professor


DeVry University Online

Teaching Field: Engineering and Information Systems

“DeVry is very student-focused, and truly cares about students achieving their career goals. Faculty, administrators, advisors, staff, they all care about the student’s success and want to work with them.”

WHERE I COME FROM

I have loved computers since I was 10 years old and started programming in Basic. The problem solving skills I gained from programming helped me later in life when I entered college. As a freshman in college, I chose Mechanical Engineering as a major since I enjoy math and science. After finishing my Bachelor’s degree I chose to earn my Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. Manufacturing has always been interesting to me and I loved learning how products are made. After working in manufacturing for a few years, I went back to school and earned a PhD in Computer Science and Engineering.

GETTING AHEAD WITH COMPUTERS

In between earning my master’s degree and going back to school for my Ph.D., I worked at a specialized glass factory as a glass design engineer. I created 3D models of CRT tubes and glass furnaces on the computer. At this job, I realized I was skilled in software and hardware. I became the Unix system administrator and started working with databases. The more I learned about computers, the more I enjoyed working with them. During this time, I started teaching at DeVry as an adjunct professor. It was so rewarding to see students learn new material and gain confidence. Soon after, I left my job in industry to become a full time professor and went back to school for my PhD.  

My research field was bioinformatics, which is a field combining biology and computer science. This field provided ample opportunity for me to use my skills in computing to solve complex problems relating to biology. I created several databases of genomes and indexed these databases to improve the speed of searching for specific genomic patterns. I have published papers and presented at conferences in this field. My proudest achievement was creating a program that outperformed all other programs at finding similar proteins in genetic sequences.

LEARN AND EARN

All the way back to elementary school, I had many great teachers. What stands out in my memory was their enthusiasm for the subject. When a teacher is enthusiastic, the class is fun and students enjoy being there. This is my goal as a teacher – to make the class a fun environment so that everyone enjoys learning. Students have responded that I am an enthusiastic teacher in the classroom and in the online environment.

I mostly teach courses in programming languages, computer architecture, and web application development. A variety of careers are open to our students in different industries - in business, hospitals, non-profits, manufacturing, and many other settings, depending on their interests.

SO YOU WANT TO BE A PROFESSIONAL?

It is a given that you have to have technical skills to get a good job. But technical skills are not enough. Employers are looking for graduates with soft skills—interpersonal and communications skills. It is vital for students to have a professional demeanor in their correspondence as well as their course work. While they are in college, this demeanor includes addressing faculty and other classmates properly, using full subject lines on emails, correct spelling and so on. This is a life skill for students to have, not just with the teacher, but with everyone they interact with.

ASK

The biggest benefit of taking classes online is the flexibility. A student can earn a degree in his or her free time while still meeting other obligations. However, online courses require self-discipline and motivation.  Students must have a plan and ask questions. If a student does not understand something, he or she can email or text the instructor, ask questions in the threaded discussions in the course and in Live Lectures. Teaching is a 24/7 job in an online environment.

WHY DEVRY?

DeVry is very student-focused, and truly cares about students achieving their goals. Faculty, administrators, advisors, staff, they all care about the student’s success and want to work with them. A DeVry education will benefit you throughout your entire life. I believe it will open doors and is something you can be proud of achieving.