Staff Member Teaches Engineers Empathic Communication

Pamela Greenberg came to Hack Reactor from the mental health field. Through working with at-risk youth and young people with schizophrenia, Greenberg discovered the power of clear, empathic communication, and identifying issues before they grow too large. Her work in cognitive behavioral therapy progressed to the point that she began training other therapists. Now at Hack Reactor, she uses these skills to teach students critical communication skills, for both personal and professional settings.

hack reactor, programming school, software engineer, coding school

Pamela Greenberg teaches students to be empathic communicators.

“People are often really afraid of giving feedback,” Greenberg observes. “They don’t want to be seen as assertive and mean. Helping people give and receive feedback makes a huge difference.”

As a Class Lead, Greenberg meets with students several times a week in cohort-wide sessions and smaller “tap-out” groups. These conferences give students a chance to bring up any challenges or triumphs from the program. Class Leads also meet individually with students when the need arises. These sessions give Greenberg a chance to work with students, take the pulse of their mental and emotional needs, and provide feedback to other staff members on improving student experience.

Hack Reactor selects applicants not just for programming acumen, but also their respect for one another and ability to work on a team. Greenberg has seen the results of this first-hand.

“The students have blown me away,” she says. “I’m thrilled I get to be apart of their journey. Knowing that we’re building a community of respectful and thoughtful communicators, I feel like we’re making a big impact.”

A programming course may not seem like an obvious fit for a mental health professional, but Greenberg saw early on that Hack Reactor cared about more than just producing ace coders.

“At the end of the job posting, it said ‘define empathy,’” she recalls. “Not a lot of tech companies ask you to define empathy. Through the interview process, I could see that this was a forward thinking community.”

Software Engineering is often as much about teamwork as it is about programming, and Greenberg draws on her wealth of experience to help students master crucial soft skills.

“In my personal and professional life, I’ve seen across the board, when people communicate effectively that’s when real problem solving happens.”

Want to learn the full range of skills it takes to be a superb Software Engineer? Apply to Hack Reactor today!

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