College of Education graduate securing his foothold in educational technology

January 21, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Titus Chen was certain that he wanted to enroll in the College of Education at Penn State, but he wasn’t convinced that he wanted to devote his career to classroom teaching. When he discovered the education and public policy (EPP) program, he knew it was the right fit.

“EPP was a unique major that gave me opportunities to research many facets of education,” Chen said. “I became especially interested in learning how to help close the achievement gap.”

Titus Chen

Titus Chen

IMAGE: Photo Provided

A Queens, New York, native, Chen built a community at Penn State by co-founding the Fitness and Bodybuilding Club and being involved with THON through the National Society of Collegiate Scholars.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 2014, Chen served in various sales positions over the next three years. While he proved himself as an exceptional salesperson, his heart wasn’t in the work he was doing.

“The companies I worked for didn’t align with my passion, which is figuring out what can be done to help kids,” Chen explained. “It was time to pivot back into that direction.”

Chen found an opportunity to get his foot in the door by honing his sales skills at Amplify, a K-12 curriculum and assessment developer, for one year before working briefly at an incubator for education technology startups. In March 2019, he joined Wonder Workshop, a startup that uses programmable robots to teach coding languages uniquely designed for pre-K through fifth-grade students. He was the first to join a direct sales team responsible for growing a $5 million K-12 education business.

Like employees at many startup cultures, Chen has worn many hats by taking on different marketing, curriculum and professional development roles. His primary business development coverage is with schools and districts across the Northeast U.S., including Pennsylvania schools and intermediate units, which have seen a huge increase in funding and accountability toward computer science education, brought about by Gov. Tom Wolf and PAsmart Grants.

“Simply put, there has been nothing quite like working at Wonder,” Chen said. “It has exposed me to various facets of K through 12 education — from the needs of teachers in the classrooms to the complexities of state and district level policies and frameworks.”

Chen said he is grateful for the connections he has made thus far in his career, including Dana Mitra, professor of education (educational theory and policy), with whom he has kept in touch since leaving Penn State.

“People in the education industry genuinely want to help each other,” Chen said. “There’s a tremendous outpouring of support.”

He currently resides in Brooklyn, New York.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated January 21, 2020