The “Engineering” Teacher
Tamara Taylor is living a life that is both engineered and inspiring. The graduate of the University of Michigan Educational Technology Master’s Program recently won the STEM Women of Color Technology Rising Star Award and is also being nominated for the American Staffing Association’s National Staffing Employee of the Year. Tamara has a wide array of experience and has excelled as a math tutor, middle school math teacher, minister, college professor and engineer. Some of her passions are teaching and engineering and ministering to others. In the realms of engineering, technology and education, she upholds her focused and conscientious character. Being a hard-working, people-person has lead to rewarding and successful career.
Engineered BackgroundTamara Taylor’s background has been engineered to a perfect fit. Her education consists of University of Michigan (M.A. in Educational Technology), Rhema Bible Training College (Degree in Evangelism), Wayne State University (B.S. in Mechanical Engineering Technology), and Mott Community College (A.S. in Pre-Engineering). Tamara began her college education, following in her older sister’s footsteps. They both followed the same engineering track at Mott Community College, then Wayne State University. However, after completing her degree in Mechanical Engineering at Wayne State University, Tamara attended Rhema Bible Training College, where she earned a degree in evangelism. Later she also had a unique opportunity to earn her Master’s of Arts in Educational Technology upon qualifying for a special Federal Trade Agreement ruling. Mrs. Taylor is currently a Prototype Build Engineer at FIAT Chrysler. Her primary role is an advanced engineer and she has the responsibilities of making sure all needed parts are on hand, troubleshooting and resolving design or process problems in the prototype build. She ensures that the products meet all design and safety requirements. Just as her educational path started with strictly engineering, then became perfectly well-rounded as she added breadth and more feathers to her cap; her career followed a similar path. In addition to her current engineering position, she has experience as a Product Engineer / Cost Savings Engineer with Delphi, and a Contractor with Aerotek. However, her career path has some twists that make her a perfect fit for her current position. Some of those twists are middle school technical support and math teacher, and Adjunct Mathematics Instructor at Baker College. When asked if she would change anything on her path, one of her responses was that she would have more patience in each phase and enjoy the journey more.
InspirationOne of Tamara’s earliest inspirations came from her mother. Tamara’s mother was a wise woman who understood the demand for STEM professionals and the weight of Bachelor of Science degree in engineering. She advised Tamara and her other two children that a career in engineering would offer a stable future. All three children heeded their mother’s advice and became gainfully employed and successful engineers. Not only was Tamara inspired by her mother to follow an engineering path, Tamara inspires others. As a STEM Women of Color Technology Rising Star Award winner, she is a role model and inspiration. The STEM Women of Color hold conferences and events to positively influence women of color who have interests in STEM. The STEM Women of Color events provide training, mentors, networking and role models for STEM students and STEM professionals. Mrs. Taylor was chosen as a person that embodies their high standards. For more information about STEM Women of Color, please visit: http://intouch.ccgmag.com/page/woc_Conference2 and http://www.ccgmag.com/newwoc/
TeachingHer first opportunity to work in a K-12 setting was as technical support at a charter school. She soon procured a position teaching middle school math in that same school. Her next professional teaching position was as a math professor at Baker College. Tamara believes that good trainers and teachers do not stand in front of students trying to showcase their intellect, but rather they are there to guide each diverse learner toward understanding. She takes teaching to heart and loves ministering to others – which works well with her passion for teaching and conducting training courses. One of her fondest teaching experiences… judging by her warm smiles as she recounts the story, was teaching her infant sign language.
Using Technology to Teach, Train and GrowTamara uses her skills as a teacher and educational technology professional in her current position sometimes when she conducts training for her section. Current hardware and software are used to keep the prototype build process efficient and operating at peak performance. Training other engineers on new tools and processes is one of her perks. She enjoys training new employees and making them very capable members of the team. While training engineers and teaching math in the different capacities, she was able to use a few interesting educational technologies. Some of her favorite technology tools utilized immediate feedback for both the student and the teacher. Students could take quick assessments and immediately link to the textbook to study questions that were missed. The instructors were able to see the responses and use the data to focus on things that needed attention. She also likes using slides in conjunction with clickers that allow the training groups to actively participate during instruction and provide feedback. The skills she developed in the Educational Technology program are useful in her current job. Educational Technology professionals add value and expertise to the profession by knowing how to address diverse groups of learners very well. Educational Technology professionals understand that each learner is different. Educational Technology professionals know how to reach and engage the entire group. In order to continue growing and learning, Tamara suggests:
- First we must understand that we can keep learning.
- We must realize that there is more out there to learn, without becoming stuck as experts at one or two tools.
- Talk to others who do what you do to get ideas about new tools and methods.
- Stay connected with the University of Michigan – Flint’s Educational Technology Program and the network that is being created.