Doshna Umma Reddy remembers how much she enjoyed coding as an electronics major in college. During her second year, she and a group of friends entered a competition and developed an algorithm to solve a puzzle.

“Time just flew by, and we had such fun doing the coding,” Umma Reddy said. “We got second place, which made it even better.”

After graduating, Umma Reddy worked for six years as an analyst at Deloitte, where she was part of a team that created a mobile version of the company’s auditing and compliance software.

In 2017, when her husband was accepted to Oregon State University’s electrical and computer engineering doctoral program, Umma Reddy took the opportunity to further her own education as well. She enrolled in a master’s program in computer science, choosing the School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science’s new, project-based Software Innovation Track.

While a student, Umma Reddy served as a graduate teaching assistant. She always had a love for learning and quickly discovered that she enjoyed teaching as well.

“It’s one thing to learn new things for yourself, and a whole different thing to explain the same concept to others,” she said. “The concepts appeared fresh and beautiful to me.”

As she was getting ready to graduate, Umma Reddy took a class on designing online courses, which furthered her interest in teaching.

“That was a very interesting process, understanding how people learn and how teaching styles should be adapted for teaching adults,” she said, “I had already been thinking about how the education system could be improved, and this course encouraged me to consider teaching as a career.”

Her timing was perfect, since enrollment in Oregon State’s online postbaccalaureate program in computer science was growing by leaps and bounds. Upon graduating, Umma Reddy was hired as an instructor for the program.

Though there are unique challenges to teaching courses online instead of in person, Umma Reddy enjoys using creativity to figure out how to get past those challenges. She has refined her methods for interacting with students and making sure she is communicating concepts clearly.

Doshna Umma Reddy volunteers for the Save Soil movement.In her spare time, Doshna Umma Reddy volunteers for the Save Soil movement to help stop climate change.

“For example, teachers can use a whiteboard or pen and paper to explain things in person, so I got a Wacom writing tool that allows me to write directly on the computer screen and interact with online students that way,” she said.

She also holds weekly review sessions. She surveys students beforehand to see what questions they have. Those who cannot attend the live sessions are able to watch recordings afterward.

“I look forward to interacting with the students, who are from various backgrounds and making a career change,” she said. “Many of them are still working full time and they’re spending so much time on their second degrees, and I like helping them achieve their goals.”

In her spare time, Umma Reddy enjoys yoga and meditation, which she calls “inner engineering,” making her inner self as pleasant as her outer self.

She also volunteers for Save Soil, a global movement in support of policies and actions to regenerate cultivable soil.

“Soil is currently degrading, and the organic content in the soil is way below 1%,” Umma Reddy said. “If we have healthy soil, it will help stop climate change because it’s a natural carbon sink.”

In addition, soil degradation will lead to poor nutrient quality in food, water scarcity, and less biodiversity, she said.

“I’m working on spreading the message as much as possible, because we need people’s voices to gain attention so policy makers can implement strategies that can save the soil and help ensure a better future for everyone,” she said.

By Gale Sumida
September 19, 2022