When I recently met 20 year old Jasmine McCray at a Women in Tech lunch when she was on her way back to her full time job - as a programmer for Horry County School District.
Jasmine was a high school student at the Scholars Academy, which is housed at Coastal Carolina University. Because of the access to college credit she had while in high school, she obtained a degree in Information Systems much earlier than the average student. She mentioned that she still tried to do a 4-year college experience, but eventually ran out of classes that applied to her degree!
When asked, "Why Information Systems?" she matter of factly stated that she likes to solve problems. She considered Civil Engineering, which didn't seem ideal for a few reasons, so she landed on Information Systems from there.
Jasmine isn't simply a young, intelligent go-getter that committed all of her time to schoolwork. She was also highly involved at CCU with Rotaract, Marching Band, and her favorite hobby - World Percussion Group. She enjoys going back to play with the current students (some of which are still older than her.)
But what about the other strange factor of this article's title?
A school district with full time software developers?
It was news to me that there was a programming department at HCSD, so I had to ask: What exactly were they building?
It seemed as though Jasmine got that question a lot. She smiled and asked if I knew just how big Horry County School District is in number of schools and social diversity.
"56 schools with a wide variety of community types from rural to inner city," she explained, "And as the school district introduces new technology programs into the classrooms, more hardware has to be tracked and ticketed. We have also built and maintained original software that tracks travel for teachers."
The robust technology department at Horry County Schools has found that building applications that solve their specific problems has many time been more effective and cost efficient than finding the right existing service to buy.
Jasmine has realized that one of the most exciting parts of her job is learning how the teachers and students actually use the technology and tailoring the software to give them the best experience. She is interested in pursuing a graduate degree in human-computer interaction. Whatever it holds, her track record has set her up for a great future as a developer!
To learn more about Women in Tech, reach out to the Grand Strand Tech Council!
- Interview and article by Meagan Nowacoski