IE alumna named as Indiana Teacher of the Year
Tamara Markey (BSIE 1994), an engineering teacher at the McKenzie Center for Innovation and Technology (MCIT) in Lawrence Township (Indianapolis), learned of the honor at a surprise ceremony on Oct. 4, 2018.
Markey credits her industrial engineering background and teaching training with helping her pursue her dream of teaching high school engineering.
Prior to teaching, Markey was an engineer with Amoco Oil and BP Pipelines. She began her teaching career at Lawrence Township's Fall Creek Valley Middle School, then moved to MCIT in 2015. Alongside teaching, she serves as a member of the District's Science, Technology Engineering, and Mathematics Coalition Task Force; a faculty advisory for the Architecture, Construction, and Engineering Mentoring Program; and a member of the Graduation Pathways committee. In addition, Markey is a Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellow and a Project Lead the Way Instructor. As the 2019 Teacher of the Year, Tamara Markey will represent Indiana in the National Teacher of the Year competition.
Markey said her high school guidance counselor encouraged her to pursue engineering because of her talent in STEM subjects. "My counselor said 'you're good at math, you're good at science, you’re black, a female... you have to be an engineer'," she said. "It was off to Purdue University to be an engineer."
"I chose to study Industrial Engineering in undergrad because it offered me the most flexibility in combining a technical degree with my interest in management," Markey said. "While desiring an engineering degree, I knew that I wanted a discipline with a 'people' focus. The IE discipline allowed me to take classes in organizational behavior, which later positioned me to explore engineering/business career opportunities."
Markey said she always desired to be an educator. While at Purdue, she tutored calculus through the Minority Engineering Program and "loved every minute of it". Later she investigated different programs that were geared at transitioning professionals from their field of work to teaching. Then she learned about the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and applied, intending to pursue a Master's in education with a mathematics focus.
"When I learned about engineering education at the high school level, I knew that I had found the perfect fit," she remembered.
"My Industrial Engineering degree gives me classroom credibility," she explained. "I am able to draw upon my professional and personal engineering experiences. I remember sitting in Purdue's Freshman Engineering classes like it was yesterday - I remember feeling ill-prepared and scared to fail. Those memories shape my lesson plans, instructional approach, and growth mindset."