On one particular day, DeLyn Beard has talked with third grade students about the dangers of cyber bullying. Then, she headed to the eLeader Academy to help grade school youngsters learn how to safely use and enjoy technology without having it take over their lives.
“I have such a passion for technology and feel so excited that we are living in the digital age. But I noticed there wasn’t any after-school place for techies,” she said. “We have places afterschool for football players, for musicians, for other interest groups. But nothing for techy kids.”
With the alarming increase in juvenile crime rates, Beard decided since there was a lack of digital afterschool programs in her Evansville area, she would create them. The result is eLeader Academy. Beard also founded The Oak Hill eLeaders, an award-winning group of young techies who travel to conferences to teach teachers how to maximize student learning through the use of technology.
With three degrees from Indiana State University’s Bayh College of Education, Beard has dedicated 18 years to educating youth in the Evansville area. Outside of the classroom, she hosts a variety of electronic courses to help both students and parents learn technology, including coding, social media, website design and more. Her sessions are designed to combine technology and leadership skills.
However, this wasn’t the career path Beard originally planned to take when she enrolled at Indiana State. “I played French horn and had been a music performance major. But I switched my major to elementary teacher in my sophomore year,” she said.
Being able to stand in front of a group and talk was something Beard initially didn’t think she could do. “I was very shy, very introverted. I was afraid of my own shadow,” she said.
At Indiana State, Beard overcame those fears. She credits professor Jim Jacobs as being a valuable mentor in her career.
“I can’t tell you how much I changed while I was at the university,” Beard said. “I joined Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority, and by my senior year, I was president.”