By Venessa Nyarko
Friday January 31st reintroduced the Faculty of Environment’s KI alumni panel who answered questions from an audience of current and prospective students with their families as they shared their experiences of being recent graduates of the KI program.
The in-person panel consisted of Kevin Rodriguez, Knowledge and Program Services Specialist at Pathways to Education Canada; Cayley MacArthur, Masters candidate for Rhetoric and Communication Design; Mary Krupicz, Speech Language Pathologist at H.A. Leeper Clinic in London; and Brittney Jordan Nottrodt, Communicator at Durrell Communications in Kitchener. Jenna Vikse, Group Underwriter at Sun Life Financial in Calgary, Alberta, along with Vanessa Minke-Martin, Candidate for Masters of Science at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, also joined the panel via live video feed.
Fourth year KI student, Geoff Evamy Hill, organized the event because of his own belief that his success and the success of many KI students is due to the program’s broad, interdisciplinary studies.
The panel recalled how many of their first year experiences helped them network and transition into new opportunities. They also touched on how the program garnered wide interest with potential employers due its relatively recent beginning.
“Because it’s so different, it resonates with people,” Nottrodt noted. “No one knowing what I did was a great thing because as soon as you start talking, that’s how you start networking,” Krupicz added.
When a parent of a prospective student asked what his daughter could do after she graduated, Rodriguez was quick to respond. “It’s not what people like to hear, but you can really do anything with a KI degree. It all comes down to networking and finding opportunities. There’s so many things you can do, and you can make jobs happen,” He explained. Kevin himself was also one of the several KI students who got the chance to “write his own job description” due to the versatile skills he gained from the program.
Mary and Cayley explained how the KI program helped them easily progress into their respective fields. Mary told the audience how the mixture of Biology and English courses she took to complete her degree gave her the upper hand in her current studies as a speech pathologist. Cayley also noted that the mandatory KI thesis paper she completed before graduating made managing her own time and resources in graduate school a smooth transition.
As the seminar came to a close, many current and prospective students gathered around the alumni to hear more of their experiences. 1st year KI students Erin Jamieson and William Turman were among the full room of attendees. “I liked that there are opportunities like this,” Jamieson commented. “It was really helpful. I got to talk to people and it gave me a sense of what opportunities are out there.,” Turman added.
Vanessa Lamont, a prospective student from Branksome Hall Independent Girl’s School was also glad she attended the event with her family. “I like how KI seems really interdisciplinary,” she remarked, “It was really nice to have my dad here and be able to ask questions.”
“This conversation is not over,” said Kim Boucher, Associate Director of Knowledge Integration. “Whether you’re first year or fourth year, we really love doing these seminars to bring future and current students in on the discussion of the many opportunities that exist after they graduate.”