Marina Ivanova is one of the recipients of the Staff International Experience Fund (SIEF). The award allows staff members to travel and engage in collaborative work with international partners and institutions.

Marina, who was the administrative co-ordinator in Arts Graduate Studies and Research during the time of her travels, visited eight institutions across the United States.

She writes about her experience travelling and working with her new American colleagues:

What was the purpose of your trip?

The purpose of my trip was to explore and learn about the different research graduate studies programs involving the overlap of the Arts and STEM disciplines. In addition, identifying and building new research partnerships, as well as deepening current research projects with U.S. institutions was also a key objective.

Where did you go?

The University of California – Davis, University of California – Berkeley, University of Southern California, New York University, Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Massachusetts – Amherst, Harvard, and MIT.

What have you learned that will change how you do your job?

The experience I had during my trip has really improved my business development and networking abilities. I had the opportunity to share valuable knowledge about program administration, funding, infrastructure, and staffing with the staff and faculty I met. I hope that after initiating those first connections and conversations with researchers across the border, I’m establishing better support for Waterloo faculty and staff and a faster exchange of ideas and processes.

Was your trip personally rewarding?

Initially, I thought the planning and logistics would be challenging. However, the people I contacted to meet with were very punctual and always responded positively. I felt very welcome during my time in the U.S. and I experienced a great deal of professional development.

Overall, I can say that this trip was a great success. I am still acting as a liaison for ongoing meetings and discussions between the University of Waterloo and some of the institutions I visited. This was definitely a rewarding experience, and an opportunity I would recommend to all staff members.

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