Alenka Žnidaršič started volunteering with Impact on Education over two years ago after volunteering with her son’s school. She first helped review grant applications before becoming more involved with our fundraising and events.
Originally from Slovenia, Alenka received a Masters in Information Technology before obtaining her PhD in electro-technical engineering from the University of Ljubljana. She started working with artificial intelligence (AI) technology and became fascinated by the connection between people and technology.
Through her education and travels, Alenka learned four languages and is quadrilingual, speaking Dutch, English, German and Slovenian. She moved to Colorado 10 years ago alongside her husband and son. Her son was 5 when they moved which gave Alenka the opportunity to volunteer in his classroom during his early education.
Why she values education
During her own early education in Slovenia, Alenka’s school placed great emphasis on developing critical thinking skills and an appreciation for others’ differences. The latter was not something she saw being valued in the U.S. education system and one of the reasons she is so passionate about early childhood education. She would like to bring some of the values from her home country to help improve education in the U.S., particularly the awareness and acceptance of differences and diverse identities.
Alenka’s family was another element that drove her commitment to education. Coming from a family of educators, she started helping out in her mother’s classroom as a child. She says, “technology has my heart, but teaching is a close second.” After obtaining her degrees, she taught computer science to elementary school students. She also mentored children through the Scouts of Slovenia, helping to foster a curious learning environment.
“Technology has my heart, but teaching is a close second.”Alenka Žnidaršič
Her work with Impact on Education
Alenka first started volunteering with us two years ago, helping review applications for our Classroom Innovation Grants. These awards go to BVSD teachers focusing on instructional innovation to enhance student learning in the classroom. She loves watching these applications turn into classroom innovations.
In addition to the grant reviews, she now supports our Fundraising & Special Events Committee, helping our staff plan and orchestrate events. Alenka’s educational and career focus of bringing people together through technology is especially helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic, where we’ve seen a heightened need for virtual events and interactions.
A love for adventure
Outside of her work as a leadership development coach and volunteering, Alenka is passionate about spending time outside. She particularly enjoys skiing, hiking, climbing and kayaking. Alenka and her family love traveling and have an appreciation for meeting people from and experiencing different cultures and perspectives. With the pandemic making traveling more difficult, they’re enjoying playing strategic and collaborative family games, such as Settlers of Catan.