Hello, world!
I'm Ria Galanos.

I teach young people how to think, code, and create.

I cheer
for computer science.

I teach computer science to mostly 15 and 16-year olds. And I what I do!

I work at the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Alexandria, Virginia just outside of Washington, DC. I teach four sections of AP Computer Science A with Data Structures to mostly 10th and 11th graders and one section of Android Mobile App Development to 11th and 12th graders.

I sponsor the Coding Lady Colonials (CLC), am the head cheerleading coach, and serve as the assistant division manager for the math and computer science division.

My other professional hats include being a table leader at the AP Computer Science Exam Reading each June, representing TJ on the Board of Directors of the National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools (NCSSS - formerly the NCSSSMST), serving on the advisory board of the NSF-funded Computer Science Teaching Tips project, delivering professional development workshops for the College Board, conducting AP Computer Science student review sessions in person and online for both the National Math and Science Initative and the Colorado Legacy Foundation, and teaching and learning from adult women how to code through Women Who Code DC.

I am passionate about introducing young people to the field of computer science, teaching them how to program, showing them how to create something from nothing, and making them thirsty to learn more.

I enjoy collaborating with and mentoring other teachers in order to improve student achievement and retention in computer science.

I am interested in finding ways to increase: the number of students who take computer science courses at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, the percentage of girls and under-represented minorities in those courses, and the number of students who pursue further study in the field. Ask me why diversity in the tech industry matters and you'll hear me quote Ben Jealous, "people solve the problems that they see." We need all types of people in the field so that they can solve problems that matter to them.

Since 2010, I've spent my summers working with some great programs tackling the #diversityintech issue: the Institute for Computing Education at Georgia Tech, Google, and Girls Who Code.

Had a soundbite once on NPR. Still can't get over that it involved cats.

I'm a big fan of Smoothie King, the Oxford comma, and oreos.

If you want to know even more about me, you can read my CV.

To contact me, send me an email or find me on Twitter or Linked In.

I teach
young people to think, code, and create.

AP Computer Science plus Data Structures

This course is a standard second-semester college course on algorithms and data structures in an object-oriented environment. The sorting algorithms include selection, insertion, merge, quick, and heap. The data structures include arrays, linked lists, stacks, queues, trees, sets, maps, heaps, and graphs. Additional topics include recursion, the Java Collections framework, Big-O analysis, and class design. Java is the language of instruction. Students taking this course should be independent thinkers able to spend a significant amount of time at a computer outside of class. This class prepares students for TJ's follow-on courses (including Artificial Intelligence, Parallel Computing, Mobile App Development, and Web App Development) and thus goes well beyond the material tested by the College Board's Advanced Placement Computer Science A exam.

Mobile Applications Development for Android

Students develop software solutions by building mobile apps, which may include smart phone (Android, ios, and/or windows), tablet, wearables, and/or embedded systems. Development consists of user-interface design, a software-based blend of human computer interaction and user-centered design, as well as formal methods of software engineering such as product life-cycle, collaborative organizational structures, and important benchmarks. Students work in teams and typical activities include both design reviews and code reviews. Specific platforms and emphasis will vary based on projects and industry trends, and accessibility, privacy, security, connectivity, and product audience.

I sponsor
the Coding Lady Colonials.

We get together to laugh, code, learn, and create things. Coding is better with friends.

We are on a mission to create a supportive learning environment where members can learn new things outside of the curriculum, conduct CS outreach to younger students, and help members learn about how computer science is integrated in many different kinds of careers.

Follow us @tj_CLC.

I coach
the TJ Varsity Cheerleaders.

Tweets by @cscheerleader

I tweet
about all things CS.

Follow me @cscheerleader.

I learn

You should, too.

Taking AP Computer Science in the fall? Want to keep up your Java skills? Want to review a topic that you didn't fully understand the first time? Want to learn something new? Try one of these resources this summer.

Note: There are no formal pre-AP assignments this summer. These resources are merely for anyone interested in working on them.

Coding Bat
Practice your logic skills and work on arrays, Strings, and recursion.

The New Boston Videos - Beginning Java

The New Boston Videos - Intermediate Java

Project Euler
Math problems that need Java (or other programming languages) to solve.

Keep practicing!

I write
letters of recommendation.

Downloadable Instructions

If you would like me to write a letter of recommendation on your behalf for a college, internship, or scholarship to which you are applying, please initiate the request by asking me in person or via email. If I agree to write the letter and am given adequate time to complete the task, the next steps are to provide me with the requested information listed below and completed forms (if applicable), in a timely manner.

Personal Narrative

Typed, single spaced. If you can answer a question in just a sentence or two, do it. Only elaborate if you feel that it adds to the explanation. I am not going to use your answers verbatim; rather this is just a reference for me when I begin to write the letter.

  1. What major/career are you interested in pursuing and why? If you are unsure, discuss your general interests.
  2. In a computer science class at TJ, what topic most captured your interest and why?
  3. Are there any memorable anecdotes or specific experiences from class that will help me write a recommendation that best presents you as a student/learner?
  4. What has been your most meaningful high school experience and why?
  5. What are five adjectives that you feel best describe you? Tell me why.
  6. Which senior research lab are you enrolled/planning to enroll in? What about this lab most appeals to you?
  7. If you are planning on majoring/minor in computer science, tell me what part of the field most excites you.
  8. If this letter of recommendation request is for a specific college (not as part of the Common App) or an internship, describe why you want to attend that particular college or work for that particular company.
Information for Forms

When you bring/submit the recommendation forms to me, please have the following information completely filled out. Some of the following information will be requested; some won't.

  1. All of your personal information.
  2. Teacher name: Ria Galanos
  3. Teacher email address: rgalanos at fcps dot edu
  4. School: Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
  5. School Address: 6560 Braddock Road, Alexandria, VA 22312
  6. School Phone: (703) 750-8300
Method of Submission

I prefer to fill out recommendations online. Choose that option when available.

  1. Online: please submit the items I requested via email.
  2. Snail mail: please bring me hard copies of all the items I requested. Include an addressed, stamped envelope for each recommendation.

In either case, clearly indicate the due date for each recommendation.


Please attach a current resume. Include a list of all college level classes you have taken or are currently enrolled in at TJ (both APs and those that have an AP class as a prerequisite).


The deadline for requests and submission of materials to me is two weeks before the recommendation letter deadline. I will only honor last minute requests if I have already completed another recommendation for you.

Share the Good News

If you get accepted to the college or internship to which you are applying or are awarded a scholarship, be sure to share the good news with me.

Wishing you good luck!

I give
professional talks.

Here are links to my past talks and workshops. Here's hoping you find something useful!