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Life as a Computer Engineer at San Jose State University – Zoie MacDougall’s Coding Journey

February 1, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–Dublin High School Class of 2015 alum and San Jose State University Class of 2019 sophomore Zoie MacDougall, now pursuing a degree in computer engineering, is our next Life in College and Women in STEM profile. Zoie was a member of the Dublin High School Gael Force Robotics Team which competed in tournaments including the VEX World Championships. How would you describe coding to a middle school student?

Zoie MacDougall: “Coding is using a computer to create things and solve problems. I started coding in 4th grade on Neopets, a site where you can modify pages using HTML. At the time I never thought of that as coding, it was just a way to make my page look nice. I ended up Googling ‘how do you make your page look pretty’ and learned how to code in HTML. I would learn how other people’s code worked and then write my own code.

“At first coding was a way to make a computer do fun and cool things. As you get more into coding  you learn it’s is a powerful tool for self-expression. Coding can be really helpful in solving math problems. In robotics, code is a way to bring a hunk of metal to life. Coding is so many things – you can do whatever you want with coding.”


me-today-at-sjsu What experiences at Dublin High School helped prepare you for computer engineering at San Jose State University?

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Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes” Starts Run at Pleasanton’s Firehouse Arts Center

January 29, 2017

Pleasanton, CA–This weekend welcomed the opening performances of the Pacific Coast Repertory Theatre’s production of Cole Porter’s classic musical Anything Goes, now playing through February 12 at the Firehouse Arts Center in Pleasanton.

This rousing, big dance musical spectacular is an amusing story wrapped around one of Cole Porter’s magical scores. Terrific Cole Porter songs include: It’s De-Lovely, Friendship, I Get A Kick Out Of You, All Through The Night, Anything Goes, You’re The Top and Blow, Gabriel, Blow. Critically acclaimed, professional Director/Actor, David Judson directs the production and is supported by acclaimed Music Director, Brett Strader and Choreographer, Suzanne Brandt.



Judson – “I am absolutely thrilled to work with this big, professional cast. Anything Goes features incredible Cole Porter music and fantastic dancing, including tap. This show is sure to have our audience humming the famous tunes and tapping their feet as they watch this spectacle. I’m equally thrilled to work with such an incredible creative team including the critically acclaimed Music Director Brett Strader and Choreographer Suzanne Brandt.

“This show features Broadway National Touring actors and amazing professional dancers. Our pro orchestra will be playing their hearts out. Join us for a truly upbeat, fun, entertaining, joyful, and invigorating time.”

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Meals Packed at Frederiksen Elementary School Will Feed Hungry Children in Haiti

January 27, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–It is estimated that 10.9 million children under the age of five die in developing countries each year. Specifically, under nutrition contributes to 53 percent of the deaths. Fortunately, an organization was incorporated in 1999 to help provide solutions – that group is Kids Against Hunger. The foundation has nearly 55 satellite locations throughout the United States and Canada.

Kids Against Hunger’s meals offer all nine of the essential amino acids required for complete nutrition. The initial challenge was to devise a food formulation made from dry ingredients that would not require special storage needs. Ultimately, the formula consisted of long grain rice, crushed soy, dehydrated vegetables and vitamin powder. The other clear advantage was that only boiling water would be needed to prepare the meals.


On Friday, the second through fifth graders at Frederiksen Elementary School streamed through the MP in half hour shifts to construct these meal bags. Multiple assembly lines were established to create a smooth flow. Of course in handling food, the students were instructed in sanitation and all participants were required to wear hair nets. It was a fascinating scene. However, it was clear that the students were working with purpose. We checked in with Principal Claire Mognaga to understand how this all came about.

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Dublin High School’s Biomedical Academy Brings Students a Step Closer Towards Becoming Healthcare Professionals

January 25, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–Now in its third year, Dublin High School’s Health Sciences and Medical Technology Academy is continuing to provide students with an engaging and collaborative approach towards exploration of concepts in biology and medicine. Starting this Academy required an entire year of planning by a team which comprised of both Dublin High School and district personnel: Dublin Unified School District Director of Student Services Bryce Custodio, DHS Principal Maureen Byrne, Biology with Research Teacher Janet Kaehms, and DHS Science Co-Chair Julianne Sundstrom.

According to Mrs. Sundstrom—who now is the Academy Coordinator, teaching Principles of Biomedical Science and Medical Innovations—the intent behind bringing this program to Dublin High was to “increase students’ exposure to a solid STEM pathway, especially because we have a great need for people to fill jobs in this pathway…a need we’re trying to respond to through this program.”


Julianne Sundstrom and Janet Kaehms

The Biomedical Academy is a comprehensive 4-year program, with its curriculum adapted from the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Biomedical Science Sequence. There are currently seventy freshmen, seventy sophomores, and forty-two juniors enrolled in the program.

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Life After College: from San Jose State University to a Full-Time Job in Silicon Valley

January 23, 2017

When I first started attending San Jose State University I was majoring in kinesiology. I envisioned myself becoming a physical therapist for a professional sports team since I was a freshman at Dublin High School. My passion for kinesiology quickly faded once I realized it was something I could not see myself doing for the rest of my life. It took me an entire semester to figure out which direction to take my studies. All I knew at a certain point in my freshman year of college was that I wanted to plan events and represent people. It was not until my sophomore year that I decided to take an intro to public relations course. I was hesitant at first but decided to enroll in the class anyway. I immediately fell in love with the major and declared myself as a public relations major with a business minor the second half of my sophomore year. The only downfall to changing my major and adding a minor was that it set me back a semester. Although there was a minor drawback, I knew I would be happy in the long run.


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UC Berkeley Senior and Dublin High School Grad Japna Kalra Awarded ASM Undergrad Research Fellowship

January 19, 2017

japna_ucb_asm_photo-1DUBLIN, CA–Our latest Life in College article is also a Women in STEM profile featuring Dublin High School Class of 2013 graduate and UC Berkeley Class of 2017 senior Japna Kalra. Japna was recently awarded an ASM Undergraduate Research Fellowship for her proposal “Analyzing the Targets and Transcription of a HipA Toxin in Caulobacter crescentus”. This fellowship is aimed at highly competitive students who wish to pursue graduate careers (Ph.D. or M.D./Ph.D.) in microbiology. Fellows have the opportunity to conduct full-time summer research at their home institution with an ASM mentor and present their research results at the 2017 ASM Microbe Meeting in New Orleans, LA if their abstract is accepted. Dr. Kathleen Ryan from University of California, Berkeley is Japna’s mentor.

We recently spoke with Japna to learn more about her UC Berkeley journey.

James Morehead: Describe microbiology to a layperson.

Japna Kalra: “Microbiology is the study of bacteria. It’s a fascinating field because bacteria are so diverse and there are such broad applications. Advances in medicine have come from microbiology, there are applications to biotechnology, biofuels and environmental remediation. if you don’t know where to go in biology it’s a great place to start.

“I also think microbiology is really cool! I’m interested in the study of host-pathogen interactions. Bacteria living on us is similar to the scale of us living on the Earth. It’s interesting to think about how bacteria living inside us help us out, and navigate the complex environment that is our body. Microbiology lets you think on a different scale and the biology gets really cool because all kinds of rules can be broken at that scale.”

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Dublin High School’s Engineering and Design Academy Continues to Expand and Inspire Young Engineers

January 17, 2017

DUBLIN, CA–The Dublin High School Engineering and Design Academy (DEDA), which began in the 2010 – 2011 school year to provide high school students with basic engineering knowledge and career exploration opportunities, has seen tremendous growth in recent years. In a span of just six years, it has expanded to include six Project Lead the Way (PLTW) courses:

  • Principles of Engineering (POE)
  • Introduction to Engineering Design (IED)
  • Computer Science and Software Engineering (CSE)
  • Digital Electronics (DE)
  • Computer Integrated Manufacturing (CIM)
  • Computer Science Applications (CSA).

The program, which started with just 42 students, now serves approximately 420 students, with a total of around 14 hours of instruction time per day.


Planned new Dublin High School Engineering and Science Building

Any student who has taken an engineering elective is given the opportunity to join the Academy during the second semester of their freshman or sophomore year, under a specific pathway. There are two pathways currently offered at Dublin High: Engineering and Computer Science. A student’s chosen pathway determines the specialization courses they will take. All students must still complete two foundational courses and one specialization course to receive an Engineering Certificate upon graduation.

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