In 1990, Mike Zamansky left his job as a software engineer for Goldman Sachs and entered the teaching profession. A few years later, at New York City's prestigious Stuyvesant High School, he noticed a lack of opportunities for students to study computer science and related field. This started a twenty year journey to try to share his passion for computer science with youngsters and inspire them to go on to do great things in technology related fields.
Over the years Mike was joined by master teachers like JonAlf Dyrland-Weaver and Samuel Konstantinovich. Together, at Stuyvesant High School they have designed new courses, trained new teachers, run after school and summer programs, and built a community of Stuyvesant Computer Science Alumni that now permeate the Tech Industry.
Having dealt with the frustrations of working within the system to try to bring more opportunities to more youngsters and inspired by their alumni community, Mike, Sam, and JonAlf, have joined with Jennifer Hsu and Artie Jordan along with other members of the Stuy CS Community to form CSTUY, Computer Science and Technology for Urban Youth. An organization dedicated to bringing computer science and technology related educational opportunities to high school and middle school students.
What makes us different
Computer Science as a field faces a real dilemma. Due to licensing restrictions, there are very few teachers with strong computer science backgrounds. The flip side is that teaching is an art and a difficult one at that. The ability to teach at more than the most superficial level takes years to develop.
Most existing computer science programs are run by volunteers with limited teaching experience or by teachers with limited tech knowledge.
CSTUY has the advantage of having master teachers with strong technical backgrounds with a history of not only delivering inspirational instruction but also of developing courses and course sequences that are time tested.
The last year has seen a proliferation of "learn to code" classes and projects. Some have received a good amount of media attention. The typical refrain is that they have students writing mobile apps in a couple of weeks. While these programs expose the students to new technologies, the apps they create are nothing more than mock ups using tools that we see as akin to PowerPoint presentations.
At CSTUY, when developing a course or a program our first priority is substance. What will the kids learn from a given program? How will the students be able to use what we give them in the future? How have we set them up so that they can take the next steps both with CSTUY and on their own.
While CSTUY is new, it is a natural growth out of the work that Mike, JonAlf, and Sam have been doing at Stuyvesant High School. While Stuyvesant still does not have a recognized computer science program, Mike, JonAlf, and Sam have inspired and graduated scores of technologists. They have created classes and sequences of classes, internship and mentoring opportunities and built a community of what are now hundreds of technology professionals. CSTUY will build and extend these programs.
- Fred and Joanne Wilson,
- Brad Feld,
- Josh Berne,
- Jason Lee
- Boby Woods-Corwin
- Ian Friedman,
- Pablo Schklowky,
- Naju Mancheril
- Thomas Crimi,
- Kieran Hervold,
- Andrew Labunka,
- Samantha Whitmore,
- The Farber-Robinson Family,
- Ari Paparo,
- Josh Mohrer
- Matthew Strax-Haber,
- Severyn Kozak,
- Steven Li,
- Yuan Wei,
- Kevin Wang
- Anita Hirth
Companies and Organizations
- Digital Ocean,
- Rubenstein Technology Group,
Walk into any major tech company and ask one simple question: who has had Mike Zamansky as a teacher? Then ask the follow-up -- who knows someone who had Mike Zamansky? Watch the hands pop up like the moles in whack-a-mole. Then go to the start-ups and try again -- Mike's former students have gone on to found numerous tech companies including SumAll, Digital Ocean, TimeHop, Tinfoil Security and others.
Over the last 25 years Mike has taught computer science to high school students in populations ranging from high-risk to ultra-gifted. He has developed individual courses and multi year sequences. His approach to CS education is informed by his desire to teach students not to code, but to think like a computer scientist. To learn how to learn what they need to accomplish their goals. That is the basis of the computer science program that Mike developed and implemented at Stuyvesant High School. This program is considered by many to be the finest in the country.
In addition to teaching high school students, Mike has trained and mentored numerous teachers over the course of his career and was one of the original developers of Google's CAPE program. More recently, Mike founded CSTUY a non profit dedicated to bringing quality computer science education to underserved communities in and around New York City.Mike has both a Bachelors and Masters degree in computer science awarded by the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University Close
Samuel Konstantinovich is currently a Computer Science Teacher at Stuyvesant High School. He is also involved with Google's CAPE program as a Lead Faculty; there he helps shape the exciting summer program designed to excite eighth graders about computer science as a career. He is a native New Yorker that is enthusiastic about and dedicated to promoting computer science education.
Mr. Konstantinovich holds bachelors degrees in both Computer Science and Applied Mathematics from Stonybrook University, and a masters in Education and Special Education from Touro College. Earlier in his career he taught at Francis Lewis High School where he collaborated with other computer science teachers to develop curricula. There he was able to expand the computer science program, as well as help organize the school's FIRST Robotics team.Close
After receiving a Bachelor's Degree from Columbia University, JonAlf Dyrland-Weaver was accepted to the New York City Teaching Fellows Program. While with the Fellows, JonAlf taught math and computer science at Brandeis High School and earned his Master's Degree from The City College of New York. While at Brandeis, he worked with Pace University and the Department of Education to create a pilot program to teach computer forensics to at risk high school students.For the past 7 years, JonAlf has been teaching computer science at Stuyvesant High School. Over the past three years, JonAlf has helped create and teach Google's CAPE (Computing And Programming Experience) program, designed to bring computer science to gifted middle school students.Close
Jennifer is a Stuyvesant HS and UCLA graduate and currently works in residential real estate with Keller Williams NYC. Exposure to CS in HS has prepared her for this important dialogue in a pivotal field and provided her with multiple opportunities to participate in ambitious computer science programming in the community.
Jennifer came from the nonprofit world where she was Director of Operations for a STEM education nonprofit that inspired underserved youth to participate in activities related to science and engineering. Before this she consulted for major international organizations, such as UNICEF and the Episcopal Church of New York. She is very active in the nonprofit world and also volunteers for Habitat for Humanity Global Village, where she leads groups once a year to build a home in a distant and beautiful corner of the world with the hope of reducing poverty one household at a time.Close
Artie is the IT Director for 2U, Inc. (formerly 2tor), an education services company that partners with preeminent institutions of higher education to deliver rigorous, selective degree programs online to students globally. At Stuyvesant HS he experienced the Stuy CS community firsthand, inspiring his career in Information Technology. He led the nationwide rollout of GOTV phone systems for the 2008 Obama For America IT team in Chicago, and worked on the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Project in Washington, DC. Prior to CSTUY he served on the Board of Directors for Emergency Communities, a non-profit created after Hurricane Katrina that provided relief services to residents and emergency responders in Mississippi and Louisiana. Artie is a strong believer in the transformative potential of early computer science education, both to inspire the next generation of CS professionals and to better prepare students for non-CS careers in the information economy of the 21st century.Close
Clyde "Thluffy" Sinclair