This is a cartoon character graphic of Lauren Harrelson. It is shown on almost every page of the web site, on the left side of the screen above an additional vertical navigation menu.

My Skills

I Use Computer Technology Extensively

I became familiar with computer technology at a very young age by a stroke of luck: My mother's then-boyfriend (now husband) had taken an interest in computers and had started repairing and building them in his free time. Thus, we always had a computer in our home.

In just first grade, I remember using MS-DOS to manually load Windows. Because I have used computer software for many personal and professional reasons throughout the years, I have broken down my skills by category. I have used most of this software on Windows computers, but I have also used some on Macs.

Documents, Data Management, & Presentations

I consider these to be common knowledge applications, but I will list them. I have extensively used Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. I have also used online equivalents, such as Google Drive. When I used computers that did not have Microsoft Office, I downloaded the open source versions from Apache (OpenOffice).

I am excited about the online presentation resources emerging, such as Prezi, which I recently used to make a visual guide on comma usage for my students. I have not had a need to use Microsoft Access or InfoPath, although I own both of them. I believe I would learn them quickly if I had a purpose for them. I own and have used Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro for making forms.

Photo Editing

I studied photography in high school and took photojournalism in college, so I am relatively familiar with Adobe Photoshop. I do not use it regularly for advanced tasks but rather for cropping, designing digital scrapbook pages, adjusting levels/colors, and similar novice skills. I regularly use Photoshop in conjunction with Adobe Bridge for scrapbooking.

Multimedia Editing

At a workshop with the New York Times Student Journalism Institute, I learned how to edit audio files using Audacity. I used the program to edit podcasts for the institute and later for personal reasons, including recording family history and making ringtones. I went on to lead a workshop on Audacity for print journalists in our college.

I am less familiar with video editing because I have not needed it. During a one-day boot camp on broadcast journalism, I used Final Cut Pro to edit my video footage and put together a newscast. I found the software to be fairly straightforward to use.

Layout Design

I started using software for layout design in ninth grade; our journalism class used Adobe PageMaker. At home, I was already using cheap layout design software, such as PrintMaster. In college, I learned Quark XPress in just a couple of days on the job as a layout designer with the campus newspaper, and, soon after, Adobe InDesign. In workplace settings, I have used Microsoft Publisher, which I find to be limiting. I continue to use InDesign for scrapbooking and for making handouts for my students.

Web Design: Coding & Software

I taught myself basic html between seventh and eighth grade so that I could make fan web sites about anime. I mainly used tables, and then frames, but I switched to DIV tags in early high school. In college, I dabbled in PHP and used an extremely basic understanding of it to build the college magazine’s web site. I code in Notepad or Textpad. A few years ago, I purchased and used Dreamweaver (CS5) to build web sites when needed, including this site.

Ever since middle school,when I need to learn coding skills, I search on the web for guides, and I also use the source view to see how others have coded their sites. I do not consider myself expert. I am far from it; I have not learned professionally, nor advanced to XHTML, Javascript, and more. I know enough to get by within my field. At one point, one of my sites (PHP based) was hacked.

I have used FTP software, such as Filezilla, to upload web pages and graphics. Aside from designing sites, I am also familiar with content management systems online, such as Wordpress and Drupal. Three Rivers Community College recently introduced an eportfolio system for students, which I quickly learned so that I could help my students with it. I also trained a couple staff members on it.


I started using web cameras in fifth grade because my family lived on the other side of the country. Today, I am familiar with and regularly use video chat software and services, such as Skype and Google Hangouts.


I tried to limit my categories to skills that might be useful in educational settings. I do not yet know if the following is relevant:

I have turned to software for other needs, such as figuring out a 3-D room layout (eTeks Sweet Home). I regularly use Priority Matrix to organize my projects and tasks, and I previously used Natara Bonsai for productivity. I have developed surveys using multiple platforms, including SurveyMonkey and Google Drive.

I am familiar with multiple internet browsers, including Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Chrome. I am familiar with educational content management systems, such as Blackboard and D2L, because I used them in my undergraduate studies.

Finally, in addition to using all of this software, I also maintain my computer myself, which means I have replaced internal parts as necessary (such as the power supply) and installed new parts (such as an internal wireless adapter).