Blog | May 18, 2023

How Purdue Polytechnic High School Creates Lifelong Impact

Timo Matis is a 2022 graduate of Purdue Polytechnic High School Englewood (PPHS). He just finished up his freshman year at IUPUI and is currently majoring in Computer Information Technology. 

Matis spoke with us about how PPHS set him up for success in college and how the project-based learning and flexible scheduling created an environment where he could thrive.

Q: Why did you choose IUPUI for college?

A: I chose IUPUI for college because it’s close to where I live, I’m able to bike there. I had a lot of different major options that aligned with my interests and just now decided on Computer Information Technology. I selected it because I like programming. At PPHS, I took a few classes on programming and robotics and enjoyed them.

Q: What skills did you gain at PPHS that are helping you in college?

A: The biggest skill I’ve learned at PPHS that I’m using in college is probably time management. You have classes at set times but other than that you are free to study how you want and when you want. 

Q: What are your hopes for the future?

A: My future plans are to live a comfortable life. I’d also like to travel the world. I’ve been to 20+ countries already in my life. I’m considering going into the air force as a pilot. 

Q: Why do you love traveling?

A: I love traveling because it allows me to experience different cultures. I’ve been to Greece and that was really cool. I got to see the Parthenon and a bunch of other historically important sites. Traveling forces me to step out of my comfort zone and learn to communicate with a variety of people.

Q: Which PPHS educators stood out to you the most?

A: There were several educators that I got a lot of help from. Ms. Schadek is the SPED coach. I’m autistic, so it was helpful working with her. I also worked with Coach Nowling and was able to build a lot of different projects with him, including some of my favorites like the model of the Nike Temple.

Q: What projects did you create while at PPHS?  

A: At Purdue I’ve had the opportunity to create things. The Nike Temple I built is a scale replica, a 1:30 model. I had to do a lot of research to get things right, like the column decorations and the roof, which is something I hadn’t made before. 

Then with the bridge I made, it was a lot of trial and error prototyping and then getting it to within the project specifications. That project helped me in my physics course in college but also my speech class where we had to discuss the pros and cons of different objects. I used knowledge gained from prototyping my bridge project to organize my speech.

Q: How did PPHS challenge you to succeed?

A: Purdue set me up to succeed in college. When I started out at Purdue, I did not do well right away. I had Cs and low Bs. But I was able to work out those issues and retook a couple of classes to raise my grade. The learning curve was steep at first. But I settled in and worked at time management. Figuring that out in high school has greatly helped me in college.

Q: How did PPHS provide an environment where you could thrive? 

A: Purdue let me think outside of the box. Before high school, I encountered a lot of “You gotta think this way, you gotta think this way.” That didn’t help me with my autism. Their direction meant for most people didn’t work for me. At Purdue, they gave me a variety of paths I could take to get to the same objective.