Susan Smith Metoxen ’82 is fond of the saying “Know how to learn.”
She’s modeled that herself and passes this wisdom on to women via Girl Develop It, a nonprofit that educates women on how to be developers. Metoxen founded the Minneapolis and Phoenix chapters of Girl Develop It.
“I taught myself programming after 30 years in health care administration,” she said. “It began as a hobby, developing apps and then starting my own programming business.”
While running her website and app company, White Buffalo, Metoxen devotes part of her time to helping women build up their own coding skills.
Girl Develop It offers low-cost coding courses during times that allow women to keep their current jobs. The Minneapolis chapter is one of 56 branches of the organization across the country.
“Programming is a male-dominated field. We want to make it easier for more women to become developers,” she said.
Metoxen began her time at Calvin intending to major in oboe performance in the music department. She wound up with a history major and a secondary education teaching degree.
Then, intending to go on to get her master’s in history, she took a parttime job in as an admitting registrar at a local hospital. That small start grew into a 30-year career in health care, culminating as a director of compliance for a large health care firm.
“I credit my liberal arts education for setting up my career,” she said. “It has always been my observation that those with a liberal arts degree were the ones who moved up.”
And her education classes have come into play as she teaches women how to code.
Metoxen also noted that her faith has directed her to help others, whether in the medical field or as a developer.
“I think one’s faith always nudges one to make choices that lead to helping others, to serve more than just yourself,” she said.