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Inside DELTA: 5 Questions with Grace Hatterschide

A woman rock climbing on a sheer cliff over water
Grace climbing Otter Cliffs at Acadia National Park in Maine.

When it comes to educational technology, Grace Hatterschide is a self-described geek. 

Grace embraces her inner geek, or — more professionally — her deep interest in the theory and application of various technologies to create transformative learning experiences and outcomes for students and instructors in higher education.

“I call it LearnTech geekiness,” she said. 

Less than a year into her position with NC State, Grace is delighted to have found her people: a DELTA community of “LearnTech geeks” who are just as invested in educational technology as she is.  

What is your role with DELTA?

As Assistant Director for Learning Technology (LearnTech) Support with DELTA, Grace coordinates a team of six, including two student workers, who assist instructors across the university with incorporating digital tools and resources into their courses. 

“Whether we’re troubleshooting a technical issue, leading instructional consultations or creating self-service resources,” Grace explained, “our goal is to help faculty leverage digital tools to become more effective teachers — both in and beyond the classroom.”

Grace has been busy getting up to speed with the various learning technologies her team supports. Moodle, with its endless customizations and widely varying levels of user expertise, is their bread and butter — but she also enjoys mastering less common applications.

“A shared trait on my team is curious enthusiasm for the many applications of tech in higher education,” she explained. 

A group of six smiling people standing in front of a screen and holding award certificates
LearnTech’s IT team (from left) Ethan Walgran, Bethany Smith, Grace, Sarah Weatherman, Q Peiffer and Mike Whitman were awarded the operational excellence honor at the 2024 NC State IT Community Awards.

Between coordinating LearnTech projects and processes, representing LearnTech at departmental and institutional meetings, managing employees and supporting faculty and staff via the LearnTech help desk, no two days are ever the same for Grace — but every one is fulfilling. 

“It can feel like a lot to juggle at times, but I love that I am always learning,” she said. 

What is your background?

Though she was born in Michigan, Grace grew up in Charlotte and embraces her North Carolina roots. She has lived in various other cities over the years —  Cincinnati, Columbus, Philadelphia and now Durham — to (almost) come full circle. 

“Moving can be bittersweet, but I’m lucky to have made amazing friends at every stop along the way,” she said. 

Before joining DELTA, Grace was the Assistant Director of Instructional Technical Services for LeBow College of Business at Drexel University in Philadelphia, where she also completed a Master’s degree in learning technologies in the College of Education. Her graduate research explored student community-building through mobile instant messaging technologies — expertise useful to her current role. 

Outside of her work in learning technology support, Grace has also worked as a writer in the insurance, tourism, and nonprofit sectors and as a teaching assistant for college composition courses.

As an undergraduate studying English Language and Literature at The Ohio State University (“Go Bucks!”) Grace reconnected with her high school friend Joshua. Friendship became situationship became relationship, and Grace joined Joshua in Philadelphia while he pursued a Ph.D. in Cell and Molecular Biology at Penn — eventually joining him at the altar. 

“He’s one of my favorite things to talk about,” she laughed. 

Grace, Joshua and Fable vacationing in South Carolina.

They were thrilled when Joshua was awarded a post-doc research position with Duke University School of Medicine, and love the community they’ve found in Durham. Grace envisions them staying in the Triangle long-term.

“I am enthusiastic about carving out a place for myself here,” she said. “DELTA is a great place to be.”

What do you enjoy about your job?

Grace delights in supporting the entire campus community by partnering with faculty, students and staff on a wide variety of projects and initiatives.

“On any given day, we might be troubleshooting a beekeeping, calculus or artisanal cheesemaking course, supporting the pilot program for a new digital tool or brainstorming solutions for a thorny pedagogical problem,” she explained. 

“We in LearnTech wear a lot of hats, which means that we get a behind-the-scenes glimpse at many of the amazing things happening here at NC State.” 

One of her favorite experiences so far was attending the UNC CAUSE conference with a handful of Digital Learning staff last fall. With participation from all 17 campuses of the UNC System, the conference engages IT professionals in professional development and networking opportunities. 

“It was great to get to know my new colleagues on a more personal level,” Grace said, referencing some noteworthy karaoke performances at an evening social.

She is energized by the mission-driven nature of higher education, particularly NC State’s land-grant mission. “It is easy to see how the work that we are doing in LearnTech fuels learning,” she said, “and how meaningful learning transforms lives.”

What is something people may not know about you?

“It’s like trying to do yoga while solving a jigsaw puzzle.”

That’s how Grace describes the joys and challenges of rock climbing, an activity to which she is enthusiastically devoted. 

Grace and Joshua initially got into the sport as undergrads at OSU. The pair really leaned into climbing during their years in Philly, where there is a large cragging community and accessible climbing spots like Birdsboro Quarry less than two hours’ drive away.

In NC, they like to climb at Pilot Mountain State Park on nice days and indoors at Triangle Rock Club when weather, time or motivation dictates. Whereas outdoor climbing offers fresh air, freedom and an adrenaline rush hard to come by in other areas of her life, Grace finds indoor climbing more meditative and fitness-focused.

Grace between a rock and a hard place at Otter Cliffs in Acadia National Park, Maine.

Though she visits the climbing gym up to three times a week, nothing beats outdoor climbing on a beautiful day “when you can feel the wind at your back and look down to see the distance climbed,” Grace explained. “Our dog, Fable, often tags along on our outdoor climbs and keeps an eye on our gear for us.” 

Last summer, Grace and Joshua climbed the popular Otter Cliffs at Acadia National Park in Maine. With 60-foot vertical granite sea cliffs offering top-down climbing right over the Atlantic ocean, it was an exhilarating new experience for both of them. 

“It was beautiful and relaxing,” Grace said. “Climbing is a great social activity and such a fun way to connect with nature.” 

What do you do in your spare time?

When she’s not scaling granite cliffs, Grace enjoys other outdoor recreation activities and spending time with friends — preferably both at once. She welcomes suggestions for great spots to eat, drink and enjoy the Triangle.  

A long-distance runner for more than 15 years, Grace recently completed her third marathon in Richmond, Virginia and will be running her sixth half-marathon this year in Brooklyn. She can often be found at recreational running clubs around Durham. 

Grace first got into running through Girls on the Run, a nonprofit program for elementary-aged girls emphasizing empowerment, strength and confidence with weekly runs culminating in a 5K. The experience led Grace to get into cross-country running in middle and high school, and she hopes to find time to give back to the organization by volunteering as a running coach. 

Grace and Fable celebrate at the finish line of the Richmond Marathon in November 2023.

She fuels up for races with, among other things, pickles: “They’re one of my top five favorite foods,” she said. She’s partial to Wickles Pickles (being a Southern girl, after all), but notes you can buy Claussen brand pickles at Costco (so you won’t run out too soon). 

Fable, the gear-guarding dog, also comes out to cheer for Grace at her races. A Treeing Walker Coonhound, Fable’s name came from her  “talkative” nature — the breed is known for a loud, distinctive bay — that reminded Grace of the talking animals in her favorite childhood fables. 

“Fable is the first hound I’ve ever had,” she explained. “She’s loud and talkative, but a real joy.”

In addition to the Brooklyn trip, Grace and Joshua will be traveling to St. Croix to celebrate the anniversary of their close friends. The trip had to be rescheduled after a hurricane disrupted their plans last year, and they are really looking forward to a long-overdue beach vacation. 

And when she gets back, rested and refreshed, you can bet she’ll be channeling that LearnTech geekiness as she gears up for the start of another academic year.