Dec. 15, 2017 – Taiwan is deservedly one of Asia’s most attractive destinations, with an exciting cityscape, great shopping, fantastic food and an idyllic countryside, but Sharon Huang, Ph.D., has traveled more than 7,700 miles from her hometown of Puxin Township, Taiwan, to make Denton, Texas, her permanent home. She arrived here in 2002 on Christmas Eve and has lived in Denton longer than anywhere else, she said.
"I started my doctoral study here at UNT in January 2003 and worked part-time as a student worker in various departments at UNT," she said. Sharon also worked as an adjunct faculty member at North Central Texas College, Corinth, Texas, and Texas Woman's University, Denton, Texas. "I was very busy working on my doctoral studies full-time and concurrently working several part-time jobs, along with driving my two children around Denton. Driving was my weakness because I didn’t have a GPS at the time and got lost easily."
With a bachelor's degree in industrial education and a specialization in computer science, from Kaohsiung Normal University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan, pictured below, Sharon also earned her license as a computer instructor. Her master's degree is in Instructional Technologies from the University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, and she earned a doctoral degree in Educational Computing from UNT.
Sharon grew up in a small rural area in middle Taiwan, but she went out of town for middle school and northward for high school at Taipei First Girls' High School, founded on Dec. 12, 1904, and renown as the best high school in Taiwan. View part of the high school's 113th birthday celebration posted this month on YouTube. After high school, Sharon traveled south for her undergraduate studies in Kaohsiung. She speaks multiple languages including Mandarin Chinese, Taiwanese and English.
During her early work as a computer instructor, Sharon created websites to show off her student's projects, something that was rare during early years of the World Wide Web. She started first by installing a web server and typed HTML tags in Windows Notepad, a simple text editor for PCs, to make the web pages for her student' work.
"Like a curious cat," Sharon said she always tries to learn about new and ever-evolving web design tools, such as Drupal Garden, Pantheon, WordPress, blogs, etc. Her favorite aspects of working in web design are flexibility and ever-changing development tools. Her least favorite part would have to be sitting behind a computer all day long–but she likes the flexibility she has to get up and walk around whenever she can take a break.
When asked what advice she would give to an incoming freshman who is thinking about a career in web development or programming, Sharon recommended starting a website with the student's own portfolio and interests while keeping it updated and growing as their knowledge and skills developed over time.
For new graduates looking for a job in web development, her advice is to "volunteer to create a website for an interesting project or non-profit organization" and to "join professional conferences/groups." Sharon is a big fan of UNT's LyndaCampus which provides online access to Lynda.com, the professional skills training site and she already has taken many classes. She did note that it would be nice if the website provided more classes on categories such as art, language, etc.
"I have a curious nature and love to try new things. Learning new things is like flowing water that keeps me alive, I also love to travel far away to see the world," she said. Sharon has many interests and hobbies, including travel, reading, gardening, aquaponics, fishing, knitting, singing, collecting stamps, crafting, and playing basketball.
"In my leisure time, I like to play with my lovely dog and cats, admire God’s creations such as nature–fish, animals and plants," she said. Her favorite smartphone app is Google Maps, she loves Chinese food, owns and likes both Mac and PC devices, and really enjoys attending musical performances on campus and local gardening events like Keep Denton Beautiful.
An avid reader, Sharon recommends "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson as a must-read biography.