Pujan Thaker standing in front of a waterfall.


Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach, FL

Major: Mechanical Engineering BS

Pujan is a 4th-year student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University majoring in mechanical engineering. His interest in engineering started early on while he was in elementary school. There he was introduced to rockets and planes—and he became especially interested in the way they were built to function properly. When it was time to think about college, he was drawn to Embry-Riddle, as it is well known in the aviation and aerospace industry.

Pujan studied abroad in England at the University of Leeds, a public research university, where he was a part of the international student community. When he was researching education REU programs for the summer, he was drawn to the DBER (Discipline-Based Education Research) REU at RIT, as this corresponded with his engineering education research career goals.

Working with Dr. Jennifer Bailey this summer, he is looking at spatial visualization skills by means of scores on pre- and post- Spatial Visualization (SP) tests (Purdue Spatial Visualization Tests: Rotation PSVT:R), commonly given to college freshman. The tests (assessing how one is able to mentally rotate 2D and 3D objects in their mind) were given to students during the years 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 classes, as the official way to assess one’s special visualization skills. The SV topics were not introduced into coursework until 2017, so comparisons between the years produce informative data showing that introducing SV coursework early on is key. Comparisons between male and female test results were also tracked.

After graduating Pujan plans to go on to graduate school for engineering education. He hopes to pursue a career in academia as a professor and focus on engineering education research.