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Educators at Turnitin contribute to the workplace in myriad ways. As an edtech company, employees with education backgrounds make sure that our tools never forget their pedagogical footing, are relevant to our educator customer base, and offer the support customers need to get the most value out of our software. Our educators on staff enrich our work environment as we pursue our mission to ensure the integrity of global education and meaningfully improve learning outcomes. 

For instance, I (Christine) have taught English/Language Arts (ELA) in secondary schools and writing in higher education from undergraduate to graduate level programs in the United States. My background in the classroom is critical to the way in which I understand our products and in turn, how I write about pedagogical content. Whether whitepapers or blog posts, my firsthand experience hopefully gives me deeper insights and empathy for fellow educators.

And I (Karen) have taught English/Language Arts (ELA) in secondary schools, as well as serving as an instructional coach for ELA and Social Studies teachers. Creating pedagogically sound instructional materials has always been a significant portion of my work, and this is still true. While education has changed significantly in recent years, the need to support teachers and students has not. Whether working on instructional or professional learning materials, writing blogs, or presenting at conferences or to colleagues, my work remains grounded in supporting students as they learn how to do their best, original work

So we thought we’d take a little moment to introduce you to some of the educators who work at Turnitin and how their pedagogical backgrounds inform our products and services as well as the way we talk about our software. This is by no means a complete list of our employee base with education backgrounds, but a sampling of voices that inform our products and services.

Educators at Turnitin ensure our products are pedagogically sound 

Our products are meant to support academic leaders, teachers, and students in the learning journey. From academic integrity to assessment, our tools are guided by pedagogical principles. And our educators are an added bonus to ensuring that our products align to these best practices as they take feedback from educators and as they develop and design tools.

“I taught high school math and computer science for six years in Baltimore City before starting the PhD program at Carnegie Mellon's Language Technologies Institute. Most of my research dealt with applications of machine learning and language analysis to educational and social science. My teaching background, as much as this research, laid the foundation for the automated scoring and feedback in Turnitin's Revision Assistant, which was designed from its first post-it note as a student-focused tool. Honoring the needs and voices of students and teachers while developing AI-powered educational technology is what keeps me going!” –David Adamson, Principle Machine Learning Scientist

“I was recruited to Turnitin specifically to speak for and to educators and students. At the heart of every role I've held here has been the core task of making sure that our products, processes, messaging, and services are pedagogically sound and make the lives of teachers and students better. When we build something new, my team of veteran educators and I are involved in early concept testing, all the way up to Q&A when something is on the verge of being released to our users.” –Patti West-Smith, Senior Director Customer Engagement

“Having a background in pedagogy (especially one tied to technology and pedagogy), has been the perfect background for my current work. I'm able to talk to faculty about what they ‘want’ to do in their classes (talking about best pedagogical practices). The best technology follows good pedagogy (rather than the alternative), and being able to talk teaching and assessment first before bringing Gradescope into the conversation has been critical to my experience.” –Howard Fooksman, Senior Solutions Engineer

“Being an educator in an edtech company makes a big difference. It is all about empathy for the challenges that both educators and students face, which gives me a true feel of the educator-student dynamic. I’ve faced—and still do—their joys, their struggles and their journey. My practical experience as an educator, and even further, as a user of our own tools, allows me to voice teacher’s concerns and expectations and enables me to act as a liaison between the insights of educators and our solutions. And with empathy comes profound respect and understanding, which naturally extend to integrity: a cornerstone of education. I‘ve witnessed how vital it is to uphold academic integrity and this commitment is a compass that guides me in my own journey at Turnitin.” –Catalina Londoño, Senior Manager Customer Onboarding LATAM & EMEA

Learn more about Gradescope

Educators at Turnitin help us understand and anticipate customer needs

Our products address real customer needs. And our educator team members provide resources, insights, and thought leadership that make sure educators get the most value out of Turnitin products. 

"“So much of my previous experience, especially my work as an instructional coach, has informed the work that I do today, from using best practices in change management efforts to discussing how customers will use the data available via our ExamSoft product. But my previous experience has provided me with the most important quality: empathy. I can truly relate to the successes and challenges our customers face every day as I’ve been where they are and walked in their shoes. I love that relationships are at the heart of what I do—both as a former educator and now as a Turnitin cheerleader.” -Jessica Carrier, Client Engagement Manager

“I have first-hand experience using Gradescope in my own teaching, as well as navigating university processes for implementing a new technology and growing adoption across campus (I was instrumental, along with several of my math colleagues, in convincing Oregon State University leaders to invest in a Gradescope license). This helps with sales conversations because I can share my genuine enthusiasm for Gradescope and how it was a real game changer for me, my colleagues, and my students. I also bring a strong understanding of the challenges university faculty and administrators face with implementing new technology and growing adoption, and am able to speak on their terms and in their parlance on these topics.” –Lyn Riverstone, Senior Solutions Engineer

It's my job to represent how teachers think, what will bring them the most value, and how a feature or product will fit into their workflows. My team also builds supplemental resources that will help our users not only understand how to use our tools, but get the most out of them instructionally. I am also charged with leading our onboarding teams for our integrity products so I am also charged with understanding andragogy—how adults learn—not only pedagogy. In this respect, our end goal is to make sure our users get the most value from our products, as quickly as possible. We tailor our approaches to the goals of the institutions and users to help realize that objective. My teams also help to support our thought leadership efforts, working on the front lines of new and emerging trends, such as when we have worked with research partners around the world.” —Patti West-Smith, Senior Director Customer Engagement

Learn more about Turnitin Feedback Studio

Educators at Turnitin support teachers with educational resources informed by firsthand experience

The resources (e.g., blogs, customer programs, instructional materials, webinars, and whitepapers) that Turnitin creates for educators are informed by firsthand experience. This ensures that what we say is backed by pedagogy and accompanied with deep empathy for teachers and academic leaders. Our materials address real-world scenarios that can make a difference.

“When my team is focused on creating content for educators (whether it’s product-related or not), we’re able to situate ourselves in their shoes and consider what will actually help educators (and in turn, their students), because in the end that’s our primary goal. This perspective extends beyond content development and shows up in conversations with the product team, blogs, customer programs, webinars, and even training.” –Kristin Van Gompel, Manager Customer Engagement

Check out Turnitin's academic integrity resources

Educators at Turnitin connect pedagogy to customer onboarding

We recognize that customer onboarding and continuing education about Turnitin products should be connected to pedagogical principles. To that end, our team enacts what they’ve learned as educators to help customers learn and gain the most value from our tools. We are, in effect, still teaching, each and every day on the job.

“I have eleven years of experience as a primary school teacher in the Australian public school system where I was especially interested in the teaching of reading and writing. I now guide my team in the use of story-telling techniques to help our users connect to Turnitin's product offerings and recognise the value these products can bring to their students and to their own grading and feedback workflows. Like any good book, our training sessions should hook you in within the first few minutes. We want our sessions to inform, excite and leave users feeling inspired to incorporate their Turnitin product into their lessons and assessments right away.” –Michael Ryan, Senior Manager of Customer Onboarding, APAC

“My background as an educator has helped me so much in my two and a half years here! When I first started on the Gradescope team, I spent a lot of time working directly with instructors to support new user experience and onboarding. I drew on my experience giving feedback to students and the time it took me to grade to connect with other instructors. Then, I moved into a role where I spoke with users and administrators, who each interact with our tools differently. Having been a teacher really gave me a better understanding of the challenges educators face in the classroom and how to tailor each conversation to the needs of the educators I'm speaking with. Not only do I understand our solutions, but I really understand the pain they experience. By drawing on my own experiences, I have been able to customize my approach, addressing the needs of our diverse customers so they can make the most of our products in their classroom.” –Sam Bonk, Sales Enablement Manager

“My experience as an educator has significantly influenced my role at Turnitin to deliver training sessions to educators, coordinators, and school principals in Latin America, with a strong emphasis on promoting academic integrity. Drawing from my varied background, I am able to guide educators in effectively incorporating technology into their teaching methodologies. My familiarity with different educational levels uniquely position me to comprehend the distinct requirements of educational institutions and tailor technology-driven solutions accordingly. In essence, my pedagogical background equips me with a well-rounded educational perspective. This enables me to bridge the gap between traditional teaching methods and innovative technological approaches, ultimately enhancing the overall educational experience within the realm of tech-education.” –Tánit Arzate, Professional and Educational Service Consultant 

Learn more about ExamSoft

Educators at Turnitin bolster our corporate culture, which centers a passion for learning

Turnitin’s culture is imbued with a passion for learning, which is furthered by the very fact that many of us are former instructors. 

“I approach my work at Turnitin with this in mind: we are all lifelong learners and should be making mistakes. I try to be gentle with myself when something doesn't turn out the way I expected it to because—having worked with the youngest students—I understand that this means I am trying something new and giving it my best. Luckily, I work with an incredible global team that feels similarly (many of whom are former teachers themselves!); we all do our best to learn side-by-side and try again tomorrow.” –Audrey Campbell, Senior Marketing Writer

I’ve worked at Turnitin for ten years, but ‘once an educator, always an educator’ and I think my colleagues see that clearly!” –Kristin Van Gompel, Manager of Customer Engagement

Conclusion: Why educators are important at Turnitin

Any software product ought to understand customer needs and address them in specific and effective ways. When a product is focused on learning, as all educational technology products are, then it is important to have educators on staff to ensure products are pedagogically sound, and that the process of learning about our software is relevant and empathetic. 

While our employees all prioritize education, educators at Turnitin bring firsthand experience and nuance so our customers get the best possible results for both themselves and for students. In short, educators at Turnitin and in edtech are a vital part of our ecosystem.

Pedagogical biographies of Turnitin educators highlighted in this blog:

Audrey Campbell, Senior Marketing Writer: I have a Master's Degree in Teaching and Early Education, with an emphasis on literacy and writing instruction. In my 10+ year teaching career, I covered the gamut with my experiences: from Kindergarten to sixth grade in public and private schools; urban, rural, and suburban settings; international and domestic programs. I think the best teachers focus on the whole child and prioritize project-based, authentic learning, where students can experience "A-ha!" moments that directly apply to their lives. The earliest years of formal education contain the fundamental building blocks that set students up to be curious, confident, and creative on their learning journeys. In my classroom, students were challenged to ask "Why?" and then given the room to discover the answer for themselves.

Catalina Londoño, Senior Manager Customer Onboarding LATAM & EMEA: My pedagogical background is rich and extensive, encompassing more than 18 years of experience in academia. Throughout this time, I've worn different hats, with various roles that have deepened my understanding of teaching and learning. As I progressed from being an adjunct to an assistant professor and then to an associate professor, my journey wasn't just about gaining expertise in the technical aspects. I made sure to enrich my pedagogical toolkit by actively participating in various courses and workshops. However, perhaps the most impactful experience was during my time as a PhD student and teaching assistant. This dual role allowed me to step into both shoes—that of a learner and an educator. It was a unique vantage point that deeply influenced my approach to teaching and learning.

David Adamson, Principal Machine Learning Scientist: I taught high school math and computer science for six years in Baltimore City (mostly at Digital Harbor High School), before starting the PhD program at Carnegie Mellon's Language Technologies Institute. Most of my research dealt with applications of machine learning and language analysis to educational and social science.

Howard Fooksman, Senior Solutions Engineer: I studied digital pedagogy and educational technology in grad school, and both while in school, and after moving to Purdue, my main focus was on setting up/finding tools that supported best pedagogical practices. I've taught first year composition and advanced writing courses (though never full time). I was also an editor of Kairos, a Journal of Technology and Pedagogy, for five years. I'm also certified with Quality Matters. 

Jessica Carrier, Client Engagement Manager: As a former educator with an M.Ed in Educational Leadership, I previously worked with grades 7-12 as a teacher and later served as an instructional coach before making the move to Turnitin. Not only have I worked as a classroom teacher, but I’ve also created and delivered professional development. I’ve coached educators in a variety of areas including instructional rigor, engagement, and using data to inform decision-making. As a customer engagement manager at Turnitin, I now lead onboarding efforts for our large-scale, strategic ExamSoft customers. 

Kristin Van Gompel, Manager of Customer Engagement: I’ve worked in education in some capacity for over 20 years. Beginning as early as high school, I started working in classrooms and my passion for learning just continues to grow. Most of my pedagogical expertise stems from classroom experience working as an elementary school teacher, teaching all subjects, and as a university adjunct professor for multiple-subject credential programs and educational technology graduate programs. I’ve also served as a supervisor for student teachers completing their teaching credential. For the past 12 years, I’ve focused my attention more on educational technology, as well as curriculum and instructional design. I’ve developed several courses, for virtual and in-person formats, and I’ve established learning programs at various organizations. I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Technology and a Doctorate in Education, specializing in Learning Technologies—I’m clearly fascinated by this space and how we can innovatively apply technology to foster student learning.

Lyn Riverstone, Senior Solutions Engineer: My background includes 20+ years teaching college/university mathematics, with 8 years teaching pre-service K-8 teachers about teaching math, as well as a 3-year summer institute for in-service teachers to help improve their students' learning outcomes through deepening mathematical discourse. I have re-designed several first year college courses to include more active learning, student engagement, and educational technology (from graphing calculators to adaptive courseware to Gradescope). After leaving teaching, I was an instructional technologist who supported faculty in implementing student response systems, as well as Gradescope, to improve student engagement and learning - during this time, I developed and facilitated a faculty learning community on applying learning technology to support student learning.

Michael Ryan, Senior Manager of Customer Onboarding: I have 11 years of experience as a Primary School teacher in the Australian public school system, spending almost all of those years teaching Prep to Year 2 (5-7 year old students). In the Australian school system, Primary School teachers teach just about everything but I was especially interested in the teaching of reading and writing. It was incredibly rewarding to see students begin to recognise the power of words as they learn to connect, inform, persuade and entertain through writing.

Patti West-Smith, Senior Director Customer Engagement: I earned my bachelor's in Secondary Education with a minor in English literature. I later earned certifications in reading instruction, curriculum design, and differentiated instruction/assessment, as well as formative assessment and rubric development. I went on to earn a Master's in Education with a concentration in literacy and an advanced certification in Educational Leadership. I later earned a Superintendent's endorsement and completed all but my dissertation in Educational Leadership. I have recently decided to go back and complete my dissertation and should finish in 2024. My dissertation is focused on how socially constructed gender norms have led to gender disproportionality in the role of the superintendency. 

In terms of my experience, I started out teaching 9th grade English and 8th grade reading. Over time, I also taught 10th grade English, SAT prep, and Speech. I started working on local, state, and national curriculum and large scale assessment development projects after only 6 months experience and continued that work until I came to Turnitin in 2016. I also worked as a professional development consultant across much of Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia. Once I left the classroom, I worked as a Literacy Instructional Facilitator, district Literacy Supervisor for PK-12, including ELL where I earned a certification, district grants administrator, middle school principal, and District Director of Master Planning for Improvement. I also founded and led the multi-district consortium of Literacy Supervisors, ESLAG, to design and build a set of common assessments that were used across nearly half the school districts in the state. I also served as an adjunct professor in the Teacher Preparation program at Salisbury University. 

Sam Bonk, Sales Enablement Manager: Long time educator and life-long learner! I started working as a camp counselor at 16. From there, I began working as a Teaching Assistant, primarily supporting students with a variety of learning and behavioral needs in the K12 setting, while I pursued my BA, and then my MS in New York. Once fully credentialed, I taught ESL (now called ENL -English as a New Language) in Albany, New York, primarily with immigrant and refugee students. Then, I moved to Denver and briefly taught in Colorado, before coming to Tii. My favorite part of my job as a teacher was the growth of newcomer students and their ability to learn—their drive, resilience and determination inspired me year after year.  

Tánit Arzate, Professional and Educational Service Consultant: With more than 15 years of professional experience as an educator across different academic levels in Mexico and California, I hold a degree in Education with a specialization in teaching English as a second language. Additionally, I completed a Postgraduate Certification in Education from Buckingham University and earned a Master's degree in Education. Currently, I am pursuing my second Master's degree in Digital Humanities to further enrich my educational knowledge.

My journey as an educator has been quite diverse. I've worked as a teacher in primary, secondary, and higher education settings. Over time, I transitioned into a role as a teacher assistant in the inclusion department and eventually became the Coordinator for Cambridge programs. This trajectory has provided me with a comprehensive understanding of curriculum development, instructional strategies, and catering to the needs of various types of learners.

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