Spotlight on Staff: Civil Engineering instructor creates student-centered classroom experience

Posted: July 14, 2017

Taina Anderson has been teaching students in the Civil Engineering program since January.

Taina Padilla Anderson has been teaching students in the Civil Engineering program since January. She holds a Master’s Degree from University of Washington Tacoma in geospatial technologies, and a Bachelor’s Degree from University of Texas El Paso in civil engineering. Taina, who is bilingual and multiracial, has performed data analysis for several public and community organizations, worked for a wastewater engineering firm and a land development firm.

The program, located in the Advanced Technology Building at Central/Mohler Campus, prepares students for careers as engineering technicians. We recently sat down with Taina to talk about her teaching style, what drew her to the profession, and more.

Q: Why did you choose to enter the civil engineering field?

From the age of five or six, I assisted my grandfather with the repair and maintenance of cars and buildings. He is an engineer by trade, with an immense ability to design objects that facilitate mechanical functions, but lacked the opportunity to attend school to formalize his knowledge. I have always had strong math abilities and an interest in urban design, so I decided to study civil engineering to get the best of both worlds.

Q: What is unique about your teaching style?

I strive to make every lesson a hands-on, student-centered experience, and act mostly as a facilitator leading students to resources to find solutions. It is of utmost importance the students leave school with significant experience in being resourceful and self-sufficient.

Q: What is your favorite aspect of civil engineering to teach, and why?

I love teaching anything that makes my students critically think and analyze problems. It makes the lessons more interesting for not only me, but the class as a whole.

Q: What do you find most rewarding about being an instructor?

Giving my students the skills required to succeed not only in this course, but as a professional is highly rewarding for me.

Q: What do you like to do outside of work?

I enjoy taking long walks with my husband and experiencing all this beautiful area has to offer. Greater Tacoma has so many different outdoor activities to enjoy, and the cute little boutiques all around our area are so awesome to explore.

To learn more about the Civil Engineering program, go to

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