Ph.D. in Learning Technologies, 2015
My path to the UT Learning Technologies (LT) program may be a little bit non-traditional. After earning an undergrad degree in Physics from UT, I began work as an engineer in the semiconductor industry. During that time, I volunteered for a technology exchange program and began teaching electronics technology at a local community college. I never had any formal training as an educator, but I immediately fell in love with teaching, content development, and using technology in the classroom. I completed a Master’s degree in engineering technology and was able to teach as an adjunct faculty member and continue to develop my skills in online delivery and blended learning. After 12 years in industry, I switched career paths and went to work for at a state agency, working with licensure of professional engineers. At this point, I decided to expand my education in the Learning Technologies program at UT.
Not only are the UT College of Education and the Curriculum and Instruction Program ranked highly nationwide, but the LT program allowed me to integrate my background and interests into my studies and explore the linkage between engineering education and online learning. The faculty is amazing and very engaged with each student and their interests. They are highly regarded researchers in their fields and working with them allowed access and insight into the cutting edge of learning technology. The students in the program have very diverse backgrounds and areas of interest so there were ample opportunities to expand and explore new areas and push each other along. The UT program is also strongly tied in with the tech and educational communities which made access to resources and interactive projects feasible and interesting. Also, as a working professional and parent, the class schedule - including the availability of evening courses - was something that made the program very accessible and attractive.
Life After UT
I am now the Executive Director of the Texas Board of Professional Engineers, the state agency that licenses engineers. I use my education on a daily basis with engineering programs at the state, national, and international level, including issues related to online learning and professional development. I am also very involved with licensure exams for engineers, and had the opportunity to use my education at UT in my position as chair of the committee that lead the conversion of the national engineering licensure exam system to computer-based testing.
Advice for Current Students
The LT program provides amazing access to world-class faculty and resources and amazing students with very diverse professional backgrounds. The relationships you make during your time in the program can last a lifetime so take every opportunity you can to learn from their experience.