Fifteen years ago, I was a college sophomore working on a degree in journalism. I thought I wanted to be a writer – but that year, I signed up for a class on Online Journalism and dove, wide-eyed and eager, into learning HTML and CSS. I soon realized I had a knack for creating stripped-down, clean sites, and I loved nothing more than sitting in the computer lab for hours, tweaking graphics and page designs and style sheets. My professor recognized and praised my work, and he began referring me to university officials who needed websites built for their departments. I quickly made professional web development a small business, snapping up contracts while I earned two bachelor's degrees.
It's interesting today to reflect on the path I've taken to my current work and how that course sparked it. I detoured slightly from building on the web to work in curriculum development starting in 2003, but I jumped firmly back into the digital sphere in 2008, shepherding curriculum products into existence on the web. And over the arc of my various roles, I've worked heavily in education, both online and off, watching and absorbing how people learn, communicate/share, and create.
My interests haven't narrowed, quite – I maintain a voracious curiosity for a plethora of different subjects – but my focus on where I want to make an impact has narrowed into the fields of web education, community interaction, and maker evangelization. I want to see more people embrace the web as a conduit for sharing their work, exploring that of others, and contributing to a greater global dialogue. It is through community that we identify and solve problems; few of society's ills ever are diminished solely through an individual's aims. The more we can help the world understand how to use the web as a force for good, the more we can build great things together.
It is in this spirit that I am proud to announce that I am joining the team at the Mozilla Foundation – a non-profit wing of Mozilla, which is celebrating its 15th birthday today. The team there is working on some groundbreaking efforts in education and web literacy. Doing good is, as it notes, is part of its code, and it open-sources all its work. I can't think of a finer way to embrace the mission I've made my own, and I'm proud to work alongside visionaries who want to help others shape the world in a brighter fashion.
So here's to the past 15 years – and, ever more importantly, to the future. Let's keep moving the web forward.
* Share your #webstory on Twitter.
* Follow @Mozilla and visit mozilla.org to see the foundation's work and find out how you can contribute to its mission.
* Up next: A look at the Mozilla team, what we're doing, and how we hope it will impact education. Stay tuned!