ThoughtSTEM Highlight: Deanna Bell

By Philip Ballew
July 16, 2018

Have you ever called our ThoughtSTEM office? Chances are you spoke to Deanna. Deanna Bell is our Parent Relations Manager, but as I found out in this interview, she is so much more than this. One of the things that stood out to me about Deanna, was her ability to take control of a situation, see what needs to be done, and execute a plan. That ability is much needed in a role like hers in which she has to balance multiple hats all while finding a way to facilitate a parent’s needs.

So tell me a bit about what you do here at ThoughtSTEM?
That changes every day. My official title is Parent Relations Manager, but I am not just working with parents. I help set up the schools we work with, I work with those schools making sure our relationship with them lasts for multiple years.

Often times when we are building a relationship with a school in the area, that involves setting up pathways for getting our information out to parents at the same time. This can be complicated, but when I find the perfect balance of what I need to do, I can see success come through.

What was a great moment you remember at ThoughtSTEM, where you were really able to help out a parent?
Just a couple months back, I had a great conversation with a parent who accidentally placed an order for the wrong summer camp. Now mistakes happen, and I am always happy to fix them whenever I can. The parent called because she was thinking the only option she had was to buy another camp for the one she intended. Thankfully, I was able to help her with simply changing the class she enrolled in. I love to be able to help people; it’s what keeps me passionate about this job.

 

At the end of the day, what do you feel is more rewarding about your role at ThoughtSTEM?

This is the type of job where I am able to make a difference in the student’s lives, both in the short term and long term. One of the most enjoyable aspects of this job is seeing students use STEM skills we taught at ThoughtSTEM, after the camps.

I have had a lot of jobs that were unfulfilling. At ThoughtSTEM, it is great, because I feel I am working on something that is making the world a better place. Knowing that the end goal of ThoughtSTEM is to help better society, I feel that what I am doing not only makes society better, but makes my sense of well being enhanced.

 

At ThoughtSTEM, it is great, because I feel I am working on something that is making the world a better place.

 

What do you think are the skills needed in order to make sure you can do your job every day?

 

This role requires me to be able to help translate the complex world of technology into something we can all understand. Although I have a little training in computer science, I am by no means a skilled computer programmer. But I feel like I’m in a good situation to explain these classes and topics to parents in a way that allows them to understand the things their kids will learn at a level they need.

If I was to come into this role using terminology that confused a parent, I believe that could be off putting. I am often the first point of contact for a parent looking to get their child into a ThoughtSTEM program, and I believe it is critical I work with parents at a level they understand.

Is there anything you think parents should know that make their child’s experience at ThoughtSTEM even better?
Mistakes are the foundation of learning computer programming. ThoughtSTEM creates an environment where mistakes are not something to criticize, but something to recognize as a step to success.

I love being at a company that encourages students to experiment. Too often, kids are afraid to try because they believe failure is the worst possible outcome. As a society, we have taught people not getting something right on the first attempt amounts to failure, and that is one of the single greatest aspects preventing success.

 

Mistakes are the foundation of learning computer programming. ThoughtSTEM creates an environment where mistakes are not something to criticize, but something to recognize as a step to success.

 

When you are not working with parents at ThoughtSTEM, what are some hobbies you enjoy?
I am able to center myself through art. I enjoy watercolor painting and illustration. One day I think it might be fun to work in the education department at an art museum and help develop curriculum that incorporates art and technology.

In addition, I find myself at peace through being in nature, so I like activities such as camping and hiking. I am someone who is able to go into the wilderness and feel alive. There is something special to me about being outside and connected to the world at a closer level.

I feel my role at ThoughtSTEM is better preparing for my future goals and life. In a way I think that sort of connects me to the students here who are doing the same. That’s what makes me feel so excited about my job.