How did your Trent experience start?
I am from a small town outside of Ottawa in Renfrew. When I was pursuing university I looked far away because I wanted to get a new experience but at the same time still wanted a university with smaller communities.
It was Trent that inspired me. The green space, river running, and the fact that it was not in the middle of downtown let me still be a part of the big city but also gave the opportunity to be in my own little world.
What does being Head of Otonabee College mean to you?
While at Trent I lived in Otonabee College in my first year so that is part of what makes this position that much more special to me. When I was helping out with moving this year I made the realization that exactly ten years ago that weekend I moved into Otonabee.
It was a really impeccable experience to come full circle and to be now working in this capacity in the college where everything started for me at Trent.
How does your experience being an OC student connect to your current position?
When I became a Don for two years at Traill College I took a lot of the things that I learned and saw from how our community was formed and put it into my work.
I also took these experiences when I became a residence life manager at other schools.
I learned to focus on the component that community is the foundation of everything and I feel like that sense of belonging, whether it is a house, a college, or a university, is important to who I am.
So I try to foster that sense of community in any part of my job or my personal life, through out because it is so integral to everything that students experience.
What got you into the career that you have chosen- to work for students?
Being a Don at Trail was what led me to my professional career. I had a college residence life coordinator while I was a Don and she inspired me, motivated me, and helped me see that the parts of what I really enjoyed about being a Don could be applied into by going into a career in residence management.
I came to Trent to be a teacher but through donning I realized that alternative classroom was something I really enjoyed doing, working with students and help them develop both as students and personal life as well by offering programming and support to them during their academic year.
Describe an experience that had really stood out for you since you assumed your current position?
Something that was really striking is how quickly relationships have formed with the student leaders in Otanabee.
I was cautious of the changes but the way these students have embraced the college office and who I am very quickly really stood out to me. They stop by everyday and the office is vibrant because of their energy and what they are working on. They are very eager to do things and to bring their ideas.
That effect has trickled down to the students of Otonabee as well. It has really motivated me.
Besides student life, what else do you invest your time in?
I am a very crafty person at heart. I have a blog called “Projects with AWall” and anytime I do a project I blog about it and talk about how I performed the craft. I love to focus on my sewing, baking, and knitting experiences.
I have already mentioned curling, but I am also an avid reader and as a result I am also a part of a book club with a group of my friends in town.
What can Trent expect from you in particular?
Something I would particularly want to bring is to develop a complementary curricular approach to the experiences that are offered in the colleges.
Academic curriculums are developed in syllabus making the students aware of what it looks like. I want to create that co-curricular curriculum for the students so they are aware of what experience they will walk away with.
I want the students be aware of what they will achieve from their academic career and as well as what they will achieve from their student experience career.
Your message to students?
Embrace all the opportunities you have for you while studying at Trent because you never know where it is going to take you and what experiences are going to open doors for you.
I am that student who came in with one vision and came out with another, and I have loved every second of it because of the opportunities I embraced.