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Life computes for adult school’s Mousa

Community Portrait
By: Michael Kirby
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Arij Mousa is into learning and teaching. Learning about anything that seems interesting to her is fair game as she channels her boundless energy into the subject with a desire to help others learn, too. Mousa is the computer program director at the Placer School for Adults. She is in charge of planning the curriculum for the computer technology classes at the adult school located in Auburn. “I coordinate the computer education program twice a year,” Mousa said. Part of Mousa’s job is also to keep up-to-date on computer and programming trends, and help interested attendees stay on the cutting edge of current technology. Mousa is also available for appointments through the school prior to each semester for students wanting help with direction in computer education choices. Mousa started teaching classes at the Placer School for Adults in 1984 and, at the time, computer classes were a semester long. Many times students dropped the class because they lost interest. “We decided to switch gears and offer short-burst classes, allowing students to learn the skills in a shorter period of time,” Mousa said. “A lot of classes are offered as a Saturday workshop or five-week course once a week. Students are learning enough right away to start producing or doing a project.” The Placer School for Adults also offers the PASSAGE Program, which is six weeks of intensive computer and office classes to prepare individuals to enter or re-enter the job market, or improve their current skills. Mousa left Kuwait for the United States with her mother and sister when she was 19. She relocated to the Bay Area where family lived and started attended classes at San Francisco City College. Mousa desired a major that didn’t require a lot of translation as she adjusted to speaking English every day. On the advice of a counselor, she fell into computer programming, which dealt more with math and numbers. She built programs in Cobol, Fortran, and Basic — all programming languages at the time. Mousa excelled and loved the work, spending day and night in the computer lab honing her programming skills. In 1980 Mousa married and started a family, putting her education on hold to raise her children. In 1983 the Mousa family moved to Auburn, built a home and settled in. When her youngest of three children entered school in 1990, Mousa began a home business teaching computer training skills with educational computer programs to local school children. Mousa also volunteered time after school in the computer lab at her childrens’ schools. Soon parents also became interested in computer training and began asking Mousa for classes as her business grew. Mousa then returned to college. “I found out that everything had changed, all the computer languages I knew were no longer used,” she said. “I had to start from the ground up.” She finished school with a degree in computer science. In 2006 with an interest in antiques, Mousa became an eBay educational specialist trained by the online auction house to offer classes. She is also a certified tea specialist, so she can share another of her personal interests through the Placer School for Adults. She recently joined elifeadventure.org and became a certified training elife host, coordinating events in the community and through the Placer adult school. Mousa offers private instruction in computer skills and training in e-commerce, helping individuals sell products and collectables online. She can be reached at (530) 889-8396.