Global Ambassador: Deepti Tagare

Deepti Tagare is from India. At Purdue, Deepti is pursuing a PhD in Learning Design and Technology. 

Ambassador Q & A (Questions and Answers)

Deepti Tagare

Why did you choose Purdue?

Purdue is a very popular university among engineering graduates in India. I knew about the quality and good ranking of Purdue University since my engineering degree. When I started looking for universities that offer a PhD in Learning Design and Technology, Purdue appeared among top 10 Universities for this field. The research projects and research areas that the faculty in this program are involved in were very impressive. They aligned with what I envisioned myself to be doing as a PhD student. In the list of Universities that I applied to, I chose Purdue as my ambitious choice.

Please briefly describe your research.

My primary research focus is in enhancing the integration of computational thinking (CT) skills in the current education system. Through my research, I explore the effectiveness of CT training on K-12 teachers’ ability to apply CT skills. I also examine the gaps in teachers’ abilities to integrate CT skills into their curricula. My research includes exploring instructional strategies that can foster creativity in CT-based instruction. I explore game-based learning and gamification for their ability to enhance the development of CT and creativity among learners.

How did you decide what to study?

I would like to begin by introducing you to my educational background and work experience. I am an electronics engineer who chose to pursue a Masters in Publishing in order to be able to contribute to digital and print educational products. After my masters degree, I worked for five years in the educational publishing industry in India. As part of my work, I travelled across India in schools and colleges as I worked with teachers and instructors to implement digital educational products in their classrooms. At this point, having worked on products for K-12, higher education, and test preparation, I realized that the biggest challenge in a developing country like India is providing equitable access to quality education to everyone. I believe, access to quality education is a multidimensional goal that is affected by several factors including but not limited to teacher education and training. This inspired me to pursue research as a career path. Through my research, I wish to improve the education and professional development of teachers and empower them for better facilitation of instruction.

What was your process for selecting a graduate school?

I had a safe-ambitious-dream list of universities that I applied to. Purdue was an ambitious one. The factors that I considered while applying were research projects and research interests of faculty in this department, location of the university in the US (proximity to airport, weather), University ranking for my area of study - Education, nature of the PhD program (subjects taught, flexibility, interdisciplinary learning), and testimonials from alumni. When I received admits, I accepted Purdue because the advisor I was assigned and the funding offered were both very close to what I was hoping for.

What is your favorite fact about Purdue?

That Purdue has its own Airport!

How did you decide where to live?

In my first year, I had to choose a place to live while I was still in India. I just went with University residences because I knew it would be secure and have all the basic facilities. A lot of people connect with other people in their program through Facebook groups and pair up to share apartments together but since my program has a small cohort with several people moving here with their families it was hard to do that. I went with the easiest and most convenient option. Later, when I arrived in the US I made friends and through them I found an apartment that I now share with a friend.

What does your typical day look like?

Pre-COVID, my typical day would involve walking or taking a bus to campus, attending classes in Beering Hall, spending time in my office working on assignments and research, going to Lavazza for lunch, sometimes going to HSSE library in Stewart Center to get books/ resources and walking back by end of the day. Now post-COVID, I mostly work from home and I meet everyone through video conferencing.

What does your travel from home to Purdue look like?

Travel from India to Purdue is a long flight journey with a minimum of 18 hours of travel plus time it takes to take the shuttle from airport to the campus. It is a very tiring journey and the jet lag sets in very hard when you arrive. My suggestion to prospective students would be to get plenty of essential items and packed food and drinks from India that would help survive the first few days without having to make a trip to the store. The exciting part about the journey is that you are most likely to meet several other students on the flight who are travelling with you and that’s a great opportunity to make friends on your way here!

What’s the biggest difference between your home country and Purdue?

Purdue is a melting pot for people from different countries, cultures, and backgrounds. My home country is also a multicultural place with 22 languages spoken in the 29 states of the India, however, it is rare to find all of them in one place unless you travel. This is one place where you name a country or a culture and you are sure to find it. I find it absolutely fascinating!

How do you de-stress in your free time?

I love playing Badminton. Pre-COVID I would play badminton at COREC at least once a week if not more. I continue to make an effort to play safely now with the new restrictions in place. I also play chess online in my free time.

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