by PDX Code Guild - Aug. 15, 2016
Roy Torley: Gentleman Scientist

Roy Torley is a current student in the night camp. At 64 years old, he has a PhD in Geology which – among other things – means that he can use the shape of a an individual grain of sand to determine where it comes from. So cool! Unfortunately, his PhD has not led to career stability. He has taught at various community colleges and started a tutoring business: Dr. Roy Torley, gentleman scientist. Eventually, he decided he needed to walk away from the ivory tower and get more real-world skills.

Roy chose Code Guild because it is well organized, because he was able to get a scholarship to attend, and because the teachers here were able to teach him a lot about modern programming. For Roy, the goal of attending Code Guild is “to get a living wage job using skills and talents that I have. I want to enjoy a good long career with the security of a living wage.” Even better, he looks forward to having more capacity to entertain and enjoy the good life.

“The older I get, the more social I become and the more I look for community.” Passion for learning and knowledge Roy gets an expression of pure delight when he is talking about gaining knowledge. Learning and teaching are lifelong passions for Roy. Dating back as early as Kindergarten, Roy took it upon himself to teach the other kids. Looking towards the end of life, Roy said that “Some people say that: He who dies with the most toys, wins. I disagree. Winning is having the most knowledge – his biggest toy!.”

Experience of an older student I asked Roy what it is like to be the oldest student in the class. He was pretty nonchalant about it and said “Age doesn’t affect my experience as a student. I was the oldest student in my graduate years.” Being in class with him, I can really see how his knowledge of older programming languages serves his learning process. Roy has the background to make connections between the modern programming languages we are learning and the larger programming discipline. The class as a whole benefits from Roy’s understanding of the broader context of development and his willingness to step up to the whiteboard to teach the rest of us.