Purdue Engineering Education Graduate Competencies


One of the requirements for graduating from the Purdue University Engineering Education Doctoral Program is to satisfactorily develop and produce work related to ten core competency areas.

Review of the Competencies.

Here is a list of the ten competencies and a blurb on how I believe I have satisfactorily met these expectations over the course of the last few years. I’ll link to other work where appropriate.

Competencies 1 & 2: Synthesize  & Create Knowledge

“The graduate will read and synthesize educational literature, describe fundamental theories of human learning, and apply knowledge of human learning, diversity, and effective pedagogy to the solution of practical problems in his/her discipline.”

“The graduate will describe common research methods in his/her discipline, read and evaluate educational research, and apply research findings to the solution of practical problems in his/her discipline.”

Learning to synthesize literature is certainly foundational to the PhD experience, and creating knowledge was a by-product in my experience as I learned educational research methods. Over the course of the last five years, I have had eight peer-reviewed conference papers published, written two commissioned white papers as a consultant, and posted all of my course writing projects. My dissertation research is the greatest synthesis I’ve yet to ever accomplish, indeed!  I am working with colleagues in the final stages of a journal manuscript, and plan to adapt my dissertation into at least two journal articles. 

Competency 3: Communicate Knowledge

“The graduate will communicate effectively in both oral and written formats including the ability to communicate content from his/her discipline through the design and delivery of effective teaching/learning activities that integrate content and pedagogy, adapt instruction and support services to the needs of diverse learners, and appropriately assess learning outcomes. All of this is to be demonstrated using inclusive and non-biased language in both written and oral communication.”

As a consultant, developer, and trainer for the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity, my work focused on equity in and accessibly of STEM education and careers, and currently revolved around 3 areas: STEM career counseling professional development and tools for counselors, equipping STEM career role models, and NAPE’s teacher training program “Micromessaging to Reach and Teach Every Student.”

Learn more about my work with NAPE here, and review an extensive list of all of my professional presentations. Essentially, I have been designing and facilitating workshops for educators, K-12 through university, since 2008. This is my new full time job, post graduation with NAPE. Also, I’ve been invited to speak on several national level panels, and even served as a keynote speaker for a STEM conference for North and South Dakota Educators.

Competency 4: Think Critically and Reflectively

“The graduate will develop a personal vision of inclusive educational practice, identify the relationship of his/her discipline to the broader field of education, and critically evaluate theory and practice.”

I developed an evaluation framework and rubric for engineering education curriculum, which was also included in my work for Texas Instruments Education Technology, as well as my dissertation. In addition, I have served as a conference paper and workshop proposal reviewer for the K-12 Division of the American Society for Engineering Education for 3 years, and will continue to do so.

My dissertation research involved critically evaluating theory and practice.

Competency 5: Apply Engineering Education Principles to the Solution of Instructional or Curricular Problems

“The graduate will analyze engineering education problems and, when appropriate, design, develop, implement, and evaluate appropriate solutions to those problems.”

There are four primary applications of engineering education principles in my work over the last five years. The first is a turn-key toolkit designed to help counselors and educators introduce STEM careers to students. The second and third are integrated STEM/STEAM curriculums developed for K-12 for Learning.com and Scientific Minds. Finally, I developed a module submitted to UTeachEngineering for the design of their 4th year high school engineering curriculum.

[list3]<li>NAPE STEM Career Counseling Toolkit</li>

<li>Learning.com integrated STEM curriculum</li>

<li>Scientific Minds integrated STEAM curriculum </li>

<li>“Rooftop Gardens: Are They a Cool Idea?,” Engineering Design, 6 week 11-12 Grade Module</li>[/list3]

 Competency 6: Demonstrate Engineering Skills

“The graduate will have the capacity to function as an engineer in a traditional, noneducation area. This should include, to the extent possible, the knowledge and use of technology and tools for engineering practice and engineering education.”

My master’s degree, thesis work, and experience practicing as an engineer prior to beginning at Purdue was accepted as satisfactory demonstration of engineering skills. Not to mention how I used those skills as an intern/consultant for Texas Instruments Education Technology group for the summer of 2012 doing market analysis research for engineering education as a potential market for the company. My education training, in tandem with my engineering background, allowed me to offer a unique perspective and design solutions. I published about this experiences in an ASEE paper.

Competency 7: Engage in Professional Development

“The graduate will demonstrate the disposition for life-long learning and continuous professional development.”

The ASEE annual conference is my primary source of professional development, where I participate in the pre-conference workshops to build my skill set, and learn about the current research through the paper sessions. In addition, I have attended the annual conferences for WEPAN 2013, NACAC 2013, ASCA 2014, in addition to the NAPE PDI 2012 & 2013, P12 Engineering Education Summit 2012, US News STEM Solutions in 2012 & 2013, and the Gender Summit 2013. Lifelong learning is a core value of mine, after all I am already planning for my Ivy League MBA in a few years!

Competency 8: Participate Actively in Professional Community

“The graduate will identify communities of practice within his/her discipline and participate within these communities.”

I have actively participated in the K-12 division of the ASEE. For the last two years, I have run for an elected position, and though I have not yet been elected, I am actively serving on committees. This past year, I served on the K-12 Workshop committee, will continue on that committee in the coming year, and will take an additional leadership role over the teacher professional development committee.

Big Beacon is a growing community of people who aim to transform engineering education. I am on the Leadership Council for that organization and will continue to serve in this role in the coming years as we grow and expand our influence. See more about my work with Big Beacon.

STEM Jobs is new media force that offers information on STEM careers for students, educators and recruiters in a hip and exciting way. I serve on the Advisory Board for this magazine and online service.

Competency 9: Explain and Critique Education Policy

“The graduate will demonstrate knowledge of educational policy issues.”

As a part of my consultant work for Texas Instruments Education Technology and Learning.com, I had to learn about STEM education policy as it relates to the Next Generation Science Standards, and Common Core. I published these analyses internally within the respective organizations as critiques of current initiatives recommendations moving forward.

In attending the NAPE Professional Development Institute in 2013, I visited Capital Hill one day to meet with representatives to discuss education policy. I also attended a series of panels with representatives from various education committees to learn more about current challenges within the education policy arena around equity and access.

Competency 10: Teach Engineering

“The graduate will participate in a mentored teaching experience at the K-12 or higher level. The experience must be of significant duration and involve actual teaching of students. The experience must also include formative and summative feedback (e.g. by peers, students, and faculty) and self-reflection. In addition, students enrolled in the Ph.D. program will be expected to develop and implement curricular materials as part of this experience.”

In 2009, I taught at the Institute for P-12 Engineering & Research Institute (INSPIRE) Teacher Academies at Purdue and in Arlington, Texas. I led interactive workshops educating 2nd -5th grade teachers on engineering lessons that can be integrated into their classroom. Lessons were based on the Boston Museum of Science “Engineering is Elementary” modules.

Since 2008, I have been teaching teachers, counselors, and administrators about STEM Careers, and this often included basic engineering principles. I have records of formative and summative feedback, and my self-reflections, all of which are used to inform my practice and improve my skill as an educator.

In my new position for NAPE, I will continue to design and facilitate professional development for educators, specifically working to integrate research methods into our process to better inform our products and services. In addition, I am working on establishing a courtesy or clinical faculty appointment with a large research institution.


  • August 2009 | Started Phd Program
  • December 2010 | Completed Coursework
  • December 6, 2010 | Passed Qualifying Exams (Readiness Assessment)
  • January 13, 2012 | Passed Preliminary Exams (Proposal Defense
  • June 12, 2014 | Passed Final Exams
  • July 16, 2014 | Dissertation Deposited & Accepted
  • August 9, 2014 | Graduation!


  • Dr. Monica Cardella, Purdue University – ADVISOR
  • Dr. Alice Pawley, Purdue University
  • Dr. Susan Walden, University of Oklahoma
  • Dr. Senay Purzer, Purdue University
  • Dr. Richard Gale, Texas Tech University

Visit these links to learn more about Purdue University, Purdue University School of Engineering Education, or the Purdue University  Engineering Education Graduate Competencies.


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