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Education and engineering students coexist at the Tooker House

Fulton meets Fulton for Tooker House's inaugural semester

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Anjana Murali and Ankitha Sreekumar, freshmen in early childhood education and computer science respectively, seated in front of Tooker House on Sept. 7 2017.

Equipped with state-of-the-art workspaces and technologies like 3D printers, Echo Dots and laser cutters, the Tooker House is the new home for the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering students at the Tempe campus. 

But for this year, the brand new residence hall “built for engineers” also welcomed the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College students into its inaugural class of residents.  

Roughly 120 education majors were temporarily moved to the Tooker House for the 2017-18 school year, most of whom reside on the third floor of the seven-story building. Originally, they were expected to live in Adelphi Commons II, but that residence hall is undergoing renovations.

“(The Teachers College) is excited to be living in Tooker House this year, and we look forward to many opportunities to be great partners with the Fulton Schools of Engineering and University Housing,” Becca Salay, manager of retention and engagement at the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, said.

A week before the education students’ move-in date, they received an email from University Housing stating, “a facilities issue was identified in Adelphi Commons II.” 

Students at the teaching college were told that they would therefore join the engineering residential community at the Tooker House. Their housing rate stayed at $6,680 for the full academic year, which is what it would have been at Adelphi II, as opposed to Tooker’s $8,175 yearly rate.


“It was confusing at first becuase I didn’t even know what this new dorm was, but once I found out I was pretty excited,” early childhood and special education freshman Mackenzie Stabile said. 

“The environment here is super friendly ... and we get a new outlook because (the engineering students) are taking different classes and doing different things, so it’s definitely a good mix of people to introduce you to different activities.”

The Tooker House, built through a partnership between ASU and American Campus Communities, opened its doors this fall as the newest and largest engineering residence hall in the U.S. 

Its namesake also brings together the two Fulton schools, as the Tooker House is named after ASU alumni Diane Tooker from the Fulton Teachers College and Gary Tooker from the Fulton Schools of Engineering. 

Amazon donated 1,600 Echo Dots, which students have no obligation to use for educational purposes, but they can sync up with their phones to set alarms and play music. 

The devices can also be connected to the Internet to utilize its voice technology capabilities. 

The only general complaints from students about the Tooker House is that the Wi-Fi connectivity is lagging, and the elevators don’t stop on odd floors when ascending. 

At any given time, students from both majors can be found on the floor lounges and private study rooms making use of the markerspaces, studying together or playing video games and ping pong. 

“Engineers tend to be little more reserved and quiet, I don’t know if this is the case for everyone, but for a lot of people it is,” biomedical engineering freshman Matt Fernandez said. “And a lot of the education majors I’ve met are really outgoing, really energetic ... So it really is an interesting mix and it adds something new.”

Community events like games in the front lawn area at Tooker are open to students from both schools, but no official events or collaborative projects have been set up. 

Tooker resident Katy Penunuri is a freshman secondary education major focusing in chemistry and an aspiring high school chemistry teacher. She has already befriended engineering majors who could help her with math and science content since they have a strong backgrounds in STEM subjects. 

“It’s just interesting to walk by and see somebody’s work on the white wall (markerspaces) ... even though I’m still not able to understand, it’s cool to see the problems that they’re working out,” Penunuri said. 

Although many other education majors don’t intend to teach any STEM subjects, the diversity of  ideas, personalities and skills makes the Tooker House balanced. 

“We were excited to live in a nicer dorm, but not so excited about living with engineering students since people often look down on education because they think it’s easy and not as important other majors and colleges,” Penunuri said. 

“I’m not in teaching because it’s easy — it’s something that I want to do to make an impact. And they are not becoming engineers just for the money but because they’re genuinely interested in it. Our majors are so different, but we get to see everybody’s perspective and know that everybody’s field is just as important.” 

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