Senay Purzer

Mailing Addresses
Office: WANG 4545
Phone: (765) 496-1684


Senay (Shen-eye) Purzer is an Associate Professor in the School of Engineering Education at Purdue University and the Director of Assessment Research at the INSPIRE Institute for Pre-college Engineering Research. Her research focuses on design learning and assessment in complex design learning environments with a specific focus on student decision-making and innovation processes. In 2013, she founded and for two years chaired NARST’s Engineering Education Research Interest Group (RIG) to support research in the integration of science and engineering. She was also part of a Special NARST Task Force to support the implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) through research and led the NGSS position paper on engineering.

In 2015, she served on a panel of content experts to determine the achievement levels for the brand new Technology and Engineering Literacy (TEL) test administered by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). She is a governing board member of the global Research in Engineering Education Network (REEN) representing North America zone and an editorial board member of Science Education and the Journal of Pre-College Engineering Education (JPEER).


Mersin, Turkey


Ph.D., Science Education, Arizona State University, 2008
M.A., Science Education, Arizona State University, 2002
B.S.E., Engineering with a Concentration in Mechanical Systems, Arizona State University, 2009
B.S., Physics Education, Hacettepe University, 1999

Research Interests

My research interest is in design education and assessment at the interaction of critical thinking and creative thinking. Central to this scholarship are aspects of design such as innovation (i.e., ability to move design ideas from concept to production) and decision-making (i.e., ability to seek and use information for making design decisions). My research team of graduate and undergraduate students conduct research in the Engineering Learning Observatory (ELO) using video-recordings, smart-pencast, and screen capturing as students solve design problems in teams, dyads, or individually. As part of INSPIRE, I conduct research on design learning and assessment at pre-college settings and promote the integration of science and engineering education research.

Selected Publications

Purzer, S., Fila, N. & Nataraja, K. (2016). Evaluation of current assessment methods in engineering entrepreneurship education. Advances in Engineering Education, 5(1), 1-27.

Vieira, C., Goldstein, M. H., Purzer, S., Magana, A. J. (2016). Using learning analytics to characterize student experimentation strategies in the context of engineering design. Journal of Learning Analytics, 3(3), 291-317.

Purzer, S., Goldstein, M., Adams, R. Xie, C., & Zhang, H., (2015). An exploratory study of informed engineering design behaviors associated with scientific explanations. International Journal of STEM Education, 2(9). doi:10.1186/s40594-015-0019-7.

Purzer, S. (2011). The relationship between team discourse, self-efficacy, and individual achievement: A sequential mixed-methods study. Journal of Engineering Education, 100(4), 655-679.

Purzer, S., Strobel, J., & Cardella, M. (2014) (Eds). Engineering in pre-college settings: Synthesizing research, policy, and practices. West Lafayette, IN: Purdue University Press.

Awards, Honors, Achievements, & Memberships

  • Best Research Paper (1st place), Entrepreneurship and Engineering Innovation Division, American Society for Engineering Education Conference (along with Nick Fila, Todd Fernandez, and Austin Spencer Bohlin (June 2016).
  • Favorite Faculty, Purdue University Residences. (April 2016)
  • Helen Plants Award for Best Non-Traditional Session, IEEE Education Society/IEEE Computer Society/ASEE ERM Division (along with Jonathan Hilpert) (October 2012)
  • NSF CAREER Award, National Science Foundation (January 2012)
  • College of Engineering Faculty Team Excellence Award, awarded to INSPIRE by Purdue College of Engineering (April 2011).
  • NAE/CASEE New Faculty Fellow, awarded by Frontiers in Education Conference in Arlington, VA (October 2010)


  • Associate Professor, School of Engineering Education (May 2015-Present)
  • Program Chair (ERM), IEEE Frontiers in Education Conference (October 2014-October 2015)
  • Director, Assessment Research, The Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) (Aug 2011-Present)
  • Founder & Chair, NARST Engineering Education Research Interest Group (2013-2015)
  • Director, American Society of Engineering Education, Educational Research Methods Division (2012-2013)
  • Courtesy Faculty, Department of Curriculum and Instruction (Aug 2009-Present)
  • Co-Director, Assessment Research, The Institute for P-12 Engineering Research and Learning (INSPIRE) (Aug 2009-Aug 2011)
  • Assistant Professor, School of Engineering Education (Jan 2009-May 2015)

Advice for the First-Year Engineer

Typically, half of my students in first-year engineering has close family members who are engineers and the other half does not. I praise the first half that they are at a good place, engineering is in their genes. I applaud the second half, "what an accomplishment" that they are first-generation engineers and their accomplishments will affect many next generations.

Fun Facts

I typically do not talk to strangers when I am traveling. Ironically though, the paper that was awarded for a Helen Plants award in 2012 has developed on an airplane with my colleague, Jon Hilpert, with whom I have just met and coincidentally set next to on our flight back home from the FIE 2011 conference.