My first memory of mentoring is from the fourth grade when I helped a classmate with long division. I still vividly remember the moment she and I realized that she really understood. That day, I felt the reward of teaching and that unforgettable feeling drove me to seek other teaching opportunities for years to come.”

Ellie’s Story

Born in Taiwan, Ellie Ratliff came to the U.S. in 1984. She received a BS in computer science from the University of Texas at Austin and her teaching certificate from the University of Pittsburgh. Ellie comes from a family of teachers that includes her mother and uncle, and has always enjoyed teaching concepts to others. Her fascination with artificial intelligence combined with her teaching and research experience first led her to pursue a doctoral degree in robotics.

While on the PhD and research track, Ellie also served as a teaching assistant. “As time passed, I realized that the motivation and dedication I felt while teaching contrasted sharply with the reluctance I felt when pushing through research hurdles.” This realization led Ellie to give up her doctoral research in order to become a high school mathematics teacher.

Fluent in Mandarin Chinese, Ellie is a recipient of the National Merit Scholarship and Barry Goldwater Scholarship. She has served as a teaching assistant for an artificial intelligence course and has helped create a team of soccer-playing robot dogs to compete at the international RoboCup competition. Ellie is a member of the Women@SCS Roadshow, through which she gives computer science presentations to high school and undergraduate students.