Life as Doug Purdy ’85 M ’86 knows it has flourished from his roots in the SUNY Oswego Technology Education Program, where he did his first teaching as a graduate student. An innovative robotics, computer and technology education teacher at Queensbury Middle School since 1986, he credits his success to his college mentors.
At Oswego, Purdy advanced from the “C” student he had been at community college to a graduate who could add “honors” to his credentials. “Instructors cared personally about my success,” he says. “The long reach of their influence on my life has been incredible.”
Here are examples: Wes Boydston taught him residential construction. Purdy has built his own house. Norwood (Woody) Baughman taught him design and took him sailing. Purdy has been involved in sailing for more than 20 years and recently passed the Coast Guard exam to become a professional captain. Carl Salvagin taught him graduate-level energy courses. Purdy incorporated energy efficiency into his home.
“In the Oswego technology department, I connected with my teachers in a way that I had never done before. It felt like family and, although I have mentioned only a few, all my instructors were outstanding and cared deeply about their students’ success,” Purdy says.
After teaching at Oswego part-time during graduate school, Purdy applied his learning to middle school tech-ed instruction, where he continues to introduce the latest teaching tools—from using Google Docs, to give parents access to daily plans and worksheets, to creating a cell phone app for students. His sixth graders all get a course on responsible computer use.
Purdy says he enjoys passing along the Oswego legacy. His eldest daughter, Brienne Purdy ’11, earned degrees in studio art and creative writing. And he’s lost track of the number of education majors he has mentored.
“One of the greatest pleasures of my career has been to take student teachers from Oswego and help them experience teaching firsthand,” he says. “It’s one way I can honor the professors who shaped my professional life.”
—Linda Loomis ’90 M ’97