Meet Hilde Thayer, engineering/technology teacher education major

Hilde Thayer, Lafayette, Ind.

Major: Engineering/Technology Teacher Education (ETTE)


Technology Educators Collegiate Association (TECA), officer
Epsilon Pi Tau, Technology Honorary Fraternity
Undergraduate research assistant in ETTE
Student assistant for athletics communications office
Junior Achievement volunteer

My major

I like the challenge of helping people reach a solution. I love the feeling of community. We are providing students with the footholds of engineering and technology before entering college. We use the engineering design process, which helps students invent their own ideas and express them. We’re addressing technology and engineering and discovering the application and evaluation process of them.

A ha!

I took IT 27800 (Teaching Construction Technology) during my first semester in my major. I liked how the professor, Nathan Mentzer, challenged us. It was an entirely new experience for me. He wanted us to help teach the class to everyone. We designed an amphitheater for a local Montessori school. We did everything from the design process to the prototype and the building materials. We presented our ideas to the Montessori school, and then we went out and built it. It was such a cool experience. I learned way more about the design build process, and we built this lasting amphitheater where students will be able to express their ideas.

Making a difference

I’ve been the only female in a class twice. I want to let other young women know that they can succeed and should not be afraid of the challenges. I want to give them the confidence that they can do it. I like showing people how to do something, and it’s a great feeling to see the light bulb go off in their heads. Helping someone has always been a main priority in my life.

Starting point

As I look back, my father has always been involved in technology. I didn’t realize the impact my dad was having on me at the time. We had one of those really old computers that I played games like Oregon Trail on. I took an interest in technology not knowing that I had. I used to build bridges across a ditch with my brother; that was technology. My Purdue classes have taught me that I’ve been using technology my entire life; I’ve just been doing it in a silent way.

Research project

We are looking into what students are learning in engineering and technology in high school, how they are interpreting it, and how they are applying it to a problem. We need to make sure students are learning and grasping the concepts.