Logan Quillen graduated from Tennessee Tech with her Master of Arts in educational technology and computer science education license endorsement in July '21. She has the unique distinction of being the first to obtain that endorsement at Tech and in the state of Tennessee.
“I never would have dreamed of being the first graduate of a program for a college, let alone a state. In a way, it is odd, but it is also something that I am proud of. Being able to achieve my master’s was a proud accomplishment in my life, and since this endorsement is a part of that, it comes along with that feeling. It is pretty cool though as well. I mean, how many people can say that they were the first graduate with a specific endorsement?”
Quillen grew up in Sparta,Tennessee and throughout middle and high school she did not know what she wanted to go to college for. She did know that she did not want to go to Tech, and she did not want to be a teacher.
“God had different plans for me however, and I am overjoyed about it now! My junior year of high school, I started helping coach basketball at a local elementary school in Sparta, which showed me my love for teaching and kids. I really decided to go to Tech because it was close, and I could continue to help coaching. I ended up also receiving an amazing scholarship, the service scholarship, from Tech which helped to make the decision as well.”
Quillen felt that everyone from Sparta always goes to Tech to become a teacher, and she did not like being like everyone else.
“Again, God showed me my arrogance in that and drew me toward my passion.”
She credits Tech and the College of Education preparing her for her chosen career and for going far beyond what was necessary for her to succeed.
“I honestly feel that Tech could not have done a better job at preparing me for my career. The College of Education has amazing faculty and staff that work hard to make sure their students are prepared to go into the classroom or other future careers having the skills and knowledge needed to be successful. They also go out of their way quite a bit in order to help students have connections and practices that are not required of them to provide.”
Quillen chose to do the educational technology and computer science education license endorsement because she wanted to have more knowledge of how to effectively implement technology that students today are more attuned to. She wanted to bring that technology into the classroom to enhance their education.
“Technology has always been a part of my life, and I knew that fact wasn’t going to be changing anytime soon.”
Quillen grew up with technology but as far as the computer science aspect, she had limited computer science experiences. Before she went through the program, she would have said she didn’t have any, but she learned that computer science is not necessarily what everyone thinks it is.
“The idea of going through classes to get said endorsement was inviting because I thought it would challenge me as a student, which it did. It also was intriguing since coding has been gaining more attention over the years. Combining all of those thoughts helped me to know that I was choosing the correct major.”
She is currently the special education resource teacher for BonDeCroft Elementary in Sparta and is utilizing her license endorsement daily.
“I am using the endorsement with a student in my class to teach different coding concepts and how to code using different platforms. I also use the endorsement with the after-school program where I help in teaching the students coding using different robots and activities.”
Quillen would love to be able to use her endorsement more in the future. When starting this program, she never imagined she would want to teach a computer science class. After going through the program, it is one of her top choices!
Quillen is extremely grateful to her professors who helped her through the program.
“I know that Dr. Beach worked hard with Dr. Gleasman in order to get this program going, so they deserve recognition for creating a great program. Dr. Beach is helpful with whatever is brought to him and is very knowledgeable about technology and ways to integrate it in the classroom. With computer science, Dr. Gleasman is just as helpful and knowledgeable. He was available anytime I had a question and could explain it in as many different ways as it took for me to understand it.”
Quillen also has another teacher she credits with influencing her career choices: her kindergarten teacher and elementary basketball coach.
“I have looked up to her my entire life pretty much. Now, I coach alongside her. My main goal is to be able to help students and touch their lives in the way that she has for so many years now. If I am able to be half the teacher that she is, I will have a very successful career!”
Another goal she has is to never stop learning. She comes from a family where education and college played a large role in all their lives.
“There will always be new techniques, strategies, curriculum, technology, etc. that can improve my teaching and/or help my students learn better, so I never want to get complacent. There is always more to learn!”
Quillen offered some advice to students who are or are going to be in the College of Education.
“Don’t let your preconceived notions about what computer science is scare you away pursuing the computer science education endorsement! It is a fantastic program that is taught by an incredible professor who makes sure that you really understand the concepts behind what is going on. If you have an interest at all in computers, robots, technology, or learning new ways to teach main subject areas, this program/endorsement is for you.”