Foster-ing a Passion for Computer Science

By Shrujana Kunnam '22 and Ashley Thommana '22 for Silver Quest (http://tinyurl.com/silverquest2020)

After a twenty year hiatus from teaching, Ryan Foster has returned to his passion as the newest addition to the Blair Magnet staff.

Mr. Foster
Foster grew up in Virginia, receiving his undergraduate degree at James Madison University and attending graduate school at the University of Maryland. He completed a major in business and a minor in computer information systems, ultimately finding his niche in computer science.

Outside of the classroom, Mr. Foster has numerous hobbies. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, and enjoys being outside, be it barbequing, camping, hiking, biking, fishing, or skiing.

Foster originally began his career teaching at Glenelg High School in Howard County. Since then, he has spent the majority of the last two decades working at a variety of firms, from Fortune 500 companies like Accenture to smaller tech startups. Of these jobs, he found the startups to be the most enjoyable. “[B]ringing something new to market, trying to do something that hasn’t been done in the space before, was a unique and interesting challenge,” he explains.

After valuable experience exploring careers in software engineering, he returned to teaching this year. His passion for teaching is fueled by the desire to “help others achieve their dreams.” He hopes to inspire Blair Magnet students, saying, “I had a lot of teachers along the way that helped me to get to the next level, so that [is] something that I [want] to pay forward.”

Excited to be back in the classroom, Foster has a problem-solving based teaching philosophy, focusing on projects where students can apply what they have learned as opposed to taking numerous tests and listening to long lectures. “I like for students to be able to solve real world problems,” he explains.

Foster, specifically, enjoys the opportunity to teach in the Magnet, mentioning that he gets to find creative and challenging ways to teach his students. He has found that the camaraderie amongst not only the staff, but also the students, is his favorite part of teaching at Blair. The positive, team-oriented environment was something Foster thought to be extremely valuable.

Blair as a whole appealed to Foster greatly because of its diversity. He has enjoyed the opportunity to teach both Magnet and non-Magnet students, attempting to “find that balance in terms of being able to reach diverse populations with different needs.”

Despite only being in his first year in the Blair Magnet faculty, Foster has fully immersed himself into his job. Apart from teaching three different classes - ADSA, ADSB, and AP Computer Science - Foster has already involved himself in numerous clubs and events, including Computer Club, ACSL and Blair Hacks. He is also looking forward to Puzzle Palooza and the variety of other activities that Blair and the Magnet Program have to offer.

With a passion for his job and helping others, Mr. Foster will continue to be a great addition to the Blair Magnet faculty and we wish him the best of luck.