Bear Pause: Madeline Burton '07

Madeline Burton Bear Pause

Madeline Burton ʼ07 found her love for computer science at the intersection of logic and creativity. When not teaching computer science, she can be found biking around the lakes of Minneapolis, baking with her toddler or hanging her artwork in Minnesota galleries.

Q: What are your three favorite smells?
A: Crisp leaves. I love changing seasons—autumn leaves are a sign of the passage of time. Woodfire smoke, which makes me think of growing up playing board games in front of the fireplace in the evening with my family. Boiling plants and vinegar, which doesn't really smell "good," but I love it because when I'm smelling it, I am working on ecoprints. These are moments for my own creative expression.

Q: If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you spend it?
A: Taking a walk with my partner and children, pushing my 11-month-old as she babbles in the stroller and jogging along with my 3-year-old as he grows his confidence on a bike.

Q: What’s the best concert you’ve ever been to?
A: For my first concert at age 11, my dad and I went to see Dar Williams in an open air tent on a field in the country. The concert was picturesque, beautiful, and I got to meet Dar after the show. What made it “best,” though, was the road trip to and from the concert with my dad, which we spent talking and singing along to Dar's albums in the car.

Q: What is the most surprising thing about you?
A: To an audience who knows me as "the computer teacher" it is perhaps surprising to know that I do not have a TV and do not play video games. I don't have a lot of attention for technology that does the driving and tells my brain where to go. I am more interested in the ways it can be used as a tool to solve problems or enhance lives.

Q: What’s the most fun you’ve had this week?
A: This week my 3-year-old and I watched small Cessna propeller planes take off at a small airfield.

Q: What is your earliest childhood memory?
A: Prior to walking, I remember scooting on my stomach on the wood floor of my family’s home. I pulled myself to a friend who was about my age and wearing a footed onesie. I remember the distinct flavor of fleece as I bit his big toe.

Q: If you could visit any place in the world, where would you choose to go and why?
A: I would take my family to visit my in-laws in Vermont. My second choice would be to go backpacking in Scotland.

Q: If you could have the answer to any question, what would it be?
A: The answer to the question I would like is "yes, tell me more." As I re-read the question, I see that "it" is probably the question and not the answer! I sort of like it my way ... Initially I was thinking it could be an answer to many questions:

Would you try _____?
Can I try _____?
Would you consider ____ from ____ point of view?

I figure it's often important to answer “yes” and continue to be open-minded.

Q: What's your favorite family tradition?
A: We go apple picking the first weekend after the first frost (or temp below 40) every year.

Q: What's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten?
A: Crab, coconut, avocado soup. I love all of these things and was so excited about the recipe. Together they are one of the oddest flavor combinations I’ve ever had.