Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Kenneth Lesley

Educational Innovation

Class of 2016


I graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from MIT. My first career was in the petroleum industry. I became an expert at controlled directional drilling. I did take two years off in the middle to get an MBA, but after 13 years of traveling the world making holes in the ground, I transitioned into the software industry. I spent the next 10 years writing database applications for government contractors. We ended up in the DC area. I took a couple years off to explore robotics when I lucked into the classroom and started teaching math. I became a DC teaching fellow and got a master’s in teaching. After five years of teaching math, I started the engineering department at our school. I have recently left the classroom and am now the director of the McKinley Academy of Engineering. My current project is to develop a city-wide STEM literacy center.

My focus in education is to create a more realistic environment for learning. The factory model of education that we have followed for the last 123 years is no longer relevant to the needs of our society. We are answering the wrong question!

On a more personal note, I am an avid cyclist. I also like to read, cook and listen to music. In my spare time, I renovate houses (I don’t have as much spare time as I used to). I am married to a retired Navy helicopter pilot and while I have two children of my own, I have raised five.

Carpe diem!!

Project: Exposing ALL Teachers to the Possibilities of the Wolfram Language

My goal is to produce a professional development (PD) series of classes for my colleagues that will demonstrate the abilities of Mathematica and illustrate the power it can have in their classrooms. I will need to develop some examples, then be able to train interested teachers in how to use the tools available.

For each department, I will produce one or two explorations that highlight the capabilities of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language. These explorations will be targeted at the faculty but will be useable by students as well. I hope to be able to field test these explorations with students from the Wolfram Summer School as well as with some of my students back in Washington before the end of the Summer School session.