New Graduate Student Spotlight: Azizi Penn

Event Date: August 12, 2021
A Boilermaker Welcome! Azizi Penn is a native of California, born in South Los Angeles. She discovered coding in high school and has been hooked ever since. She earned a B.S. in Computer Science directly after high school and an M.S. in Software Engineering later in life. She is married with three children.

Azizi Penn, Graduate Student

Over her twenty-plus-year career as a software developer and engineer, Azizi has worked in the private and public sectors and as a self-employed consultant.  She is also a part-time faculty member of the Computer Science department at California State University, Sacramento. 

Azizi’s interest in engineering education began with a desire to introduce students in her underserved neighborhood to the creative power of coding. What started as a small physical-computing component of a K-8 summer bridge program blossomed into an independent summer workshop for 5th – 8th graders.  This collaborative endeavor combined coding, art, design, mentoring, and community service.  To enhance and measure the effectiveness of the summer workshop, she began to perform research in engineering education.  “This research led me to appreciate the role of community-based out-of-school experiences for pre-college students in historically marginalized populations,” said Azizi. It also confirmed her desire to explore the impact of incorporating multidisciplinary elements of engineering professional practice at a critical period in the construction of students’ career aspirations. Recently, Azizi’s position teaching college students at a HSI has further exposed her to the need for collaborative work that incorporates elements of professional practice and enables students to contribute to a common goal while utilizing their individual skills, interests, and gifts. 

We asked, "Why Purdue?"

I chose Purdue because of its position as a pioneer in the field of engineering education. In addition, I have attended several engineering education conferences and found the Purdue faculty, staff, alumni, and students to be welcoming, knowledgeable, and diverse.  This, coupled with the flexibility of Purdue’s School of Engineering Education program and the wide-ranging interest of the faculty, made Purdue the obvious and only choice for my pursuit and completion of a Ph.D. in Engineering Education.