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Know Your Pelicans

Meet Makeba McCray (she/her/hers)

Director of Academic IT | Computer Science Department Head

Know Your Pelicans

What is your official role at Packer and what does it mean? What do you do every day? 

I'm the Director of Academic IT and the Computer Science Department Head. I lead and support Packer's academic technology initiatives by developing innovative educational experiences for students, faculty, and staff across the full Packer community.

Why did you choose to work at Packer?

I would say that Packer and I chose each other. Packer was looking for someone to enhance, support and drive academic technology and computer science and I was looking for an experience to stretch my expertise in educational technology relative to high level development and implementation of digital programming.

What work have you done prior to joining Packer?

The majority of my work has been in the educational technology realm: developing resolutions to complex technology integration challenges, providing technology support to faculty and staff, developing academic web apps for students, and curriculum and content development. I even developed an app, "Fractionville," that supplemented foundational fraction instruction in a gamified digital environment for my former 3rd graders.They outperformed the district and the NJ state standards in fraction math on the state assessment. 

What is your educational background?

My highest level of degree is Doctorate of Educational Leadership from Kean University. I also hold a Masters in Teaching and Bachelors of Arts in History from Fairleigh Dickinson University. I hold technology certifications in CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate), Google Data Analytics, MCP (Microsoft Certified Professional), A+ (Hardware) and Intel Master Teacher. I am pursing Meta Frontend Developer and AI/Machine Learning certificates as well.

What are the strengths of your department?

I am learning more about my team members! Each one brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise and specialized skills. My team has worked diligently to be on the cutting edge of computer science and educational technology. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to lead this work into its next chapter at Packer.

What are your impressions of Packer so far? Our students? Your colleagues?

Everyone has been so welcoming and accommodating thus far and it has decreased the anxiety of starting a new journey in a whole new state. The students are awesome, unique and able to thrive as they are in a safe environment (which allows them to be awesome). My colleagues have helped ensure that my transition is as painless as possible and I appreciate everyone for taking the time out of their busy schedule.

Tell us about a specific time you found your job especially rewarding. 

When I analyzed the data on the impact of the "Fractionville" app. The results made the time, stress and frustration worth it because the students benefited academically.

Besides your subject, what's something you hope to teach your students?

Failure is a teaching tool that should be embraced, not avoided!

What's something that most people at Packer wouldn't know about you?

I am a high-level gamer, former pro athlete and I can still shoot the lights out in the gym!

If you had an inspirational fridge magnet, what would it say and why?

Stay ready so you don't have to get ready.

What do you love to do when you're not working at Packer?

I love gaming! I am learning how to golf so I can go pro. I make custom Air Jordan 1 sneakers and leather bags. I try to stay active and creative, it keeps me balanced.

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