Interviewing Dr. Hicks about GCI

I’ve brought this up in previous posts, but I’m participating in a competition called Google Code-in ( with FOSSASIA ( I interviewed Dr. Hicks, a teacher at my school, and asked her various questions about GCI, school, and life. Check out my interview with her below!

Gaeun: Where are you from?
Dr. Hicks: I’m originally from Portland, Oregon, but I’ve lived in the UK for most of my teenage years. I then went to college in Colorado, but went to grad school in York and Scotland. I have mixed origins.

G: Where do you teach?
H: I teach at Stanford Online High School, and this is my third year teaching here.

G: I’m participating in a contest called Google Code-in with an organization called FOSSASIA ( (I gave a brief introduction to her.) What do you think about the contest?

Screen Shot 2016-12-17 at 5.32.27 AM.png
The beautiful GCI website!

H: I have a very superficial knowledge of programming myself, but I think it’s a terrific opportunity for students to learn about technology and programming, and I would love to participate in it if I were a student! I especially think it’s a valuable opportunity for high schoolers to gain “real world” experience—often times, programming tutorials, websites, and lectures don’t suffice to provide students the skills that are necessary for them to work on actual projects. GCI helps students develop exactly those skills! Tinkering with open source projects, collaborating with others, and working with mentors sounds like a chance for students to make quantum leaps in not just their programming skills, but also in their interpersonal skills as well.

G: A few other questions then. What is your favorite topic to teach and why?
H: Anything that reveals and important part of what we think we know, and what we might become. Human biases, cruelty, narcissism, lost opportunities, and arrogance are as much our responsibility to address and analyze as are the complexities of the biosphere, the workings of the atom, the noise of the cosmic heat, the extravagance of spring, the poetry of thought, or the impossibly think underbelly of the honeybadger.

G: What do you do for fun when you are not teaching, and what are your hobbies?
H: Nietzsche deipnosophising to others whether they like it or not; travelling to the old, the green, the solitude, the sublime; smelling every fine scent while wandering amuck in nature; petitioning companies, individuals, and governments to be and do better (particularly as regards the environment); reading broadly, and hiding sweets from myself.

G: What is the best book you’ve read recently, and why did you enjoy it?
H: Oof…I’m cheating: On Food and Cooking (classic massive tome on the chemistry, history, and intriguing interconnections of what we eat); The Concise Pepys (absolutely NOT concise at 804 pages, but a glorious romp through the historic diarist’s posh life of 1660s London with scandals and plague galore); Digest (wide-ranging poetry collection by Gregory Pardlo), and Miss Jaster’s Garden (SUCH a sweet diaphanous children’s book).

G: What is one thing about you that students/parents may not know?
H: My blood type!

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