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Profile: Michael Penta

Submitted by on April 24, 2019 – 5:45 pm

Community college changed Professor Michael Penta’s life.

Community college changed Michael Penta’s life. Now, as a community college

professor, he hopes to change his students’ lives.

Before community college, Penta, a self-described “geeky” educator,

cycled through a half dozen unskilled jobs before he enrolled in a basic

computer class and learned he was programmed to program.

Penta earned associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees and now

harnesses his energy and enthusiasm for the front of the classroom.

He encourages students to take risks because this is how they will best


Name: Michael Penta

Home: Lowell

Profession: Assistant professor, computer & information sciences

Hobbies: I like to make things, explore new technologies, listen to

podcasts, learn about the labor movement in the United States, and

regional history.

Last book read: Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919,

by Stephen Puleo

Latest accomplishment: Last year I was awarded tenure. I was also

nominated for the Haverhill YMCA Educator of the Year Award.

Quote: “You can’t think about thinking without thinking about thinking

about something,” Seymour Papert

Profile: I am a dedicated educator and lifelong learner. I have a passion

for teaching, computer science, mathematics, and design. Before NECC,

I was a program developer and associate director of a center focused on

hands-on, design-based learning. That informed my teaching style and laid

the groundwork for my graduate studies in computer science education – my

thesis focused on the role of video game programming in math education.

Why I do what I do: That early computer science course began a

journey to the joy and beauty of computer science and mathematics.

While pursuing my own education, I found a new passion in teaching.

Community college laid my foundation, so joining the faculty at NECC

seemed like a natural fit.