Lara Schenck
Prospective Ph.D. Student

Industry leader in web development seeking to transition from a software engineering career to HCI and computing education research.

Research interests include:

  • Vocational computing education
  • Participatory design with marginalized adult communities
  • Declarative and domain-specific programming languages


  • B.F.A. School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts University – GPA 3.62

    2009 - 2011

    Self-directed, studio-based curriculum focused in animation and educational game design; Elective coursework in Python Game Development and Reasoning & Critical Thinking; Internship in open source web development.

  • University of Colorado at Boulder

    2007 - 2009

    Fine arts major with a focus in printmaking; Transferred after sophomore year for more flexibility in fine arts curriculum in order to pursue interest in games and digital media.


  • Volunteer – TEALS Program

    2021 - Present

    Provide instructor support twice per week for Intro to Computer Science at Westinghouse Academy, a public school in the Homewood neighborhood of Pittsburgh.

  • Technical Advisor & Web Developer – Supreme Network Global

    2021 - Present

    Develop web platform and provide instruction around digital literacy for a membership network empowering formerly-incarcerated people with financial empowerment and mentorship opportunities.

  • Open Source Contributor – WordPress Core

    2019 - Present

    Facilitate weekly meetings of the Core CSS team, devise and oversee and contribute code to long term projects improving the health and maintainability of the WordPress Core CSS code-base.

  • Racial Justice Organizing – What's Up Pittsburgh

    2019 - Present

    Participate in the core organizing group and mentorship program of the local Pittsburgh chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice. Co-organized and led group session focused on racial justice in tech.

  • Conference Speaker – International

    2014 - Present

    Compelling presentation of CSS algorithms research and educational topics at industry conferences.

    • Generative Art With FizzBuzz in CSS (invited) at CodeDay – online, 2021
    • CSS Algorithms at Frontend United (invited, canceled) – Minsk, 2020
    • CSS Algorithms at StrangeLoop – St. Louis, 2019
    • Is CSS a Programming Language? at Abstractions – Pittsburgh, 2019
    • CSS Algorithms at JS Conf US – San Diego, 2019
    • Writing CSS Algorithms at CSS Camp – Barcelona, 2019
    • Algorithms of CSS at CSS Day (invited) – Amsterdam, 2019
    • CSS is a Programming Language at WordCamp Montclair (invited) – Montclair, NJ, 2019
    • Bridging the Gap Between Design & Development with CSS Algorithms at WordCamp US – Nashville, 2018
    • Understanding Today’s CSS with Algorithms at SIGNAL (invited) – San Francisco, 2018
    • The Algorithms of CSS at – Los Angeles, 2018
    • The Algorithms of CSS at CSSConf EU – Berlin, 2018
    • Let’s Build A Gutenberg Block Workshop at WordCamp EU – Belgrade, 2018
    • Let’s Build A Gutenberg Block at WordCamp San Diego – San Diego, 2018
    • The Five-figure WordPress Website at Abstractions – Pittsburgh, 2016
    • Vetting and Choosing Themes at WordCamp Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh, 2016
    • Why the Designer Failed FizzBuzz at SassConf – Austin, 2015
    • Sassy WordPress at WordCamp Montreal – Montreal, 2014
    • Freelancing, Real Talk at WordCamp NYC – New York City, 2014
  • Tech Meetup Organizer and Mentor

    2014 - Present

    Active member of local software development communities, volunteering time to mentor and tutor people entering the tech industry.

    • Learn Teach Code, Mentor – Los Angeles and online, 2017-Present
    • Global Diversity CFP Day, Co-Organizer – Pittsburgh, 2019
    • Write Speak Code, Mentor – Los Angeles 2017-2019
    • Global Diversity CFP Day, Mentor – Los Angeles, 2018
    • WordCamp LA, Volunteer coordinator and organized collaboration with Learn Teach Code – Los Angeles, 2018
    •, Founder and organizer – Los Angeles, 2017-2019
    • CodePen Meetup NYC, Founder and organizer – New York City, 2014-2016
    • WordPress NYC, Regular presenter and mentor – New York City, 2014-2016
  • Web Developer – Center for Artistic Activism

    2017 - Present

    Development, ongoing maintenance, and technical advising for the C4AA on their WordPress website and donation platform.


  • CSS Algorithms – Independent

    2017 - Present

    Independent research into what is a programming language vs. what developers think is a programming language. Invented the concept of CSS algorithms to teach the declarative paradigm and to encourage an inclusive understanding of programming among industry developers.

  • Larva UI Framework – Penske Media Corporation

    2018 - Present

    Conceived of and implemented a UI system, suite of build tools, and standards to speed up front-end development, reduce technical debt, and to deploy shared modules across a network of sites. Implemented the concept of CSS algorithms.

    • Conducted need-finding interviews with engineers, designers, and product managers
    • Presented design system concepts and value proposition to executives; got buy-in
    • Created and tested prototypes to inform architecture
    • Implemented CSS algorithms as a core piece of the CSS architecture along with utility-forward CSS library
    • Conducted monthly "Larva Chats" with engineering and product for knowledge sharing and feedback collection
    • Outlined development of system in informal blog post series entitled Designgineering Chronicles
    • Created proof-of-concept for visual regression testing; currently working to automate it
    • Devised and developed tools for product and designers to communicate more effectively with engineering using the system nomenclature


  • Principle Software Engineer – Penske Media Corporation

    2018 - Present

    Full stack web engineering for high-traffic, enterprise WordPress websites on a product and engineering team of about 80 people. Successfully led and deployed re-platform and upgrade initiatives across a network of 25 sites. Advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in team culture, hiring, and compensation. Promoted from Senior Software Engineer.

  • Web Development Instructor

    2013 - 2018

    Developed curriculum and instructed web development in the forms of one-on-one tutoring, independently organized courses, and workshops for a variety of institutions.

    • University of Southern California, WordPress Development – Los Angeles, 2018
    • Girl Develop It, Workshop Instructor – National, 2015-2018
    • Pratt Institute of Design, UI/UX Prototyping in Code and Coding I-II – New York City, 2015-2016
    • Tacklebox School, independently organized courses and tutoring – online, 2015-2016
    • Decoded, Code in A Day Facilitator – New York City, 2014-2016
    • Noble Desktop, and Tutoring – New York City, 2015
    • CSS-Tricks, "Office Hours" Facilitator and Organizer – online, 2015
    • General Assembly, Front-end Web Development Lead Instructor – New York City, 2014
    • Saxifrage School, Intro to Web Development Co-Instructor – Pittsburgh, 2013
  • Independent Consultant – Lara Schenck, LLC

    2011 - 2017

    Contract front-end and WordPress development and training for startups and small to large businesses and web development agencies.

  • Game Design Assistant – Institute of Play

    2013 - 2014

    Support for the development of game-like curricular materials in the Mission Lab at Quest to Learn, a NYC public middle and high school that focuses on systems thinking and game-like learning. Collaborate with team of game designers and educators to produce digital and non-digital game cv/assets.


CSS, HTML, JavaScript, Node.js, React, PHP, WordPress, Git, Shell Scripting, PHPUnit, Jest, Webpack, Gulp, Accessibility, Mobile-first development, Design systems, Navigating large code-bases, Working in legacy code, Learning new tools/frameworks/languages


Illustrating monsters, Running, Biking, Hiking, Gardening, Language learning (Spanish & Nepali), Zines, Reading, Tennis, Independent study of programming languages and abstract math (category theory, graph theory, set theory, ML, Rust, Elm, Future of Coding)