Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Career Snapshot - Kateryna Pashkovska - Career Mentoring Program

This week we followed up with Kateryna Pashkovska who just completed the Career Mentoring Program, to get her reflections on the program.

Now that the Career mentoring program has come to an end, it is good to reflect on my experience and what I can take with me for the next year – my last year of studies – before I embark on the search for a full-time job, for the first time in my life.  

The first thing that comes to mind, the one that has made my experience so rich and insightful, is the right match. Back in Fall 2015 when the Career Center was launching the program and working on the selection of participants, I was impressed with deep and meticulous in-person interviewing by Amy Roy Gratton and Jasmine (last name??). They did their very best to pull out my true career inclinations and abilities in the given point of time to find a perfect match for me. And they did!

I am a pair-person. I am most efficient and happy while working with a partner/ supervisor/ mentor first and then expanding the circle of people I am working with on a particular task. So in this sense, my close cooperation (and I would be honored to call it friendship) with Heather Wheeliker from the City of Edmonton worked perfect for me. 

Another important factor that made it work was our frequent meetings in downtown, most often over coffee in the morning. I remember heading to our sessions with a thrill and all agog to have another inspiring friendly conversation or an activity that we have been going over. Heather introduced me to her colleagues who in turn, threw new exciting opportunities at me. For example, I learned about the Planning Academy (a series of one-two day courses designed to provide a better understanding of the planning and development processes in Edmonton). We both had a busy summer and agreed to finish some of the activities after the program is over, like a mock interview. So, the end of the program does not mean the end of the relationship, and to my mind, this is the true indicator of our success.

In short, I highly encourage students to participate in the Career mentoring program. Its benefits – thanks to high proficiency of its organizers! – along with your own hard work, will definitely boost your confidence. It will also help you think in small but effective steps when you are ready to show up at the job market or to change your current career path.  


Thursday, 21 July 2016

Career Snapshots - Job Shadow Week - Shedding light on the benefits of hosting more than one job shadow participant

Jane Alm (centre) is a Senior Investment Advisor with National Bank Financial in Edmonton and a first time job shadow host with U of A Job Shadow Week. We asked Jane about her experience hosting two job shadow participants on the same day, at the same time.

Jing Meng (left) is a MBA student majoring in Finance with a background in mathematics, accounting and price analysis. This was her first time job shadowing.
Stephanie Qin (right) is an international student majoring in Finance with a minor in Management Information Systems. She is a senior peer at the International Centre and first-time job shadow participant.

From our e-interview with Jane Alm:
What is your role at Angus Watt Advisory Group?
In my role I build relationships with clients to get an understanding of their needs and changes to those needs. I lend my knowledge of options strategies, wealth management, retirement planning and asset allocation, and offer experience that ensures my clients are comfortable with their investments and decisions so that they understand how their needs/goals will impact them, their family, their retirement expectations, etc.

What made hosting two job shadow participants at the same time a unique for both you and the participants?
The two participants seemed to feed off each other with both questions and answers. It helped them to be more comfortable and more open.

How do you think the participants benefited from sharing you as a job shadow host?
All the members of our team participated throughout the day so the participants had access to a diverse group of individuals in various roles.

What did you gain as a professional from hosting your job shadow participants?
We gained greater knowledge into their perspectives and insight into their thought process as well as their perceptions about our industry.

What advice would you give to other hosts on how to manage two job shadow participants?
Preparing for two job shadowers at the same time is no different than preparing for one participant; in fact, it is likely easier because they ask more questions which requires less 
probing as they were more forthcoming.

From our e-interview with Stephanie Qin and Jing Meng:
What made sharing a job shadow host with another student a unique experience for you?
Stephanie: Sharing the job shadow actually created a supportive and flexible environment. We both came up with different questions to ask and it gave me a chance to hear things I never thought about before. 
Jing:  It was interesting to meet a fellow student with the same career interest to job shadow with.

How do you think you benefited from sharing a job shadow host?
Stephanie: It is always great to meet new people both from school and diverse industry professionals. After the job shadow we shared our experience with one another, our perceptions and ideas.
Jing: I gained a new perspective from Stephanie and it made the experience that much better when we were able to share each other’s point of view.

What advice would you give to other students about sharing a job shadow experience?
Stephanie: Be sure to prepare questions ahead of time. The job shadow host might introduce you to all of the other team members so it is very important for participants to do some research online beforehand on LinkedIn or on the organization’s website. This way you can have better conversations because you have a starting point or topics to ask about. 

Friday, 15 April 2016

Career Snapshot - Chris Bacivan - Job Shadow Week Participant 

We caught up with Chris Bacivan, an Alumni of the UofA who completed his undergrad in 2014 with a B.Sc in Chemical Engineering. For the past two years Chris has been working at Deloitte LLP as a Reservoir Engineer where he focused on oil and gas reserve estimation, statistical resource studies, economic evaluations, and energy advisory services.  

Why did you choose to participate in Job Shadow Week?

I chose to participate in Job Shadow Week to gain insight on career paths for engineers, gain exposure to the realities of the workplace, and develop my network of industry professionals. 

Who did you shadow? What did you do?

I narrowed the list of 205 hosts down to a single company, C-FER Technologies.  C-FER was the best match for my education, career path, interests, and curiosity. The company helps clients by de-risking new technologies using testing, analysis, and applied R&D. C-FER’s world-class testing facility, which I got to visit, pushes vendor products like pumps, pipes, valves, and fittings, to their limits. I shadowed Brian Wagg, the Director of Business Development and Planning at C-FER Technologies. We spent the afternoon together discussing our career paths, work experiences, and the industry. Brian did a really great job of explaining C-FERs business model. He also shared with me some great advice and even put me in touch with a contact so that I can expand my industry network. We took a break from the meeting room and toured the office. Brian showed me the large-scale testing facility which was made up of hydraulic machines, thick concrete walls, and heavy equipment scattered in various corners of the massive industrial shop. 

Who would benefit from the Job Shadow program? And why?

I highly recommend the UofA Job Shadow Week to students and alumni. I personally wish I had this program during my undergrad because it would have helped me understand what options I have after graduation. It’s not a big time commitment and the Career Centre does so much work to ensure students get a wide range of hosts that are qualified, professional and ready to mentor. Who you would like to shadow were you to participate in the program again? If I were to participate in this program again I would like to shadow an investment banker, equity analyst/associate, or portfolio manager. 

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Career Snapshot - Ben Throndson - Job Shadow Week Participant 

This week we caught up with Ben Throndson a third year Political Science major and Sociology minor. When not studying, he serves as the VP Communications for the Political Science Undergraduate Association and as a Councillor on the SU’s Students’ Council, representing Arts students’ interests.

What was one of the best pieces of advice that you received throughout your degree? Did this advice have a lasting impact on your career path? 

One of the pieces of advice that I remember most clearly from Orientation was the suggestion to be active outside of classes on campus. As a first year, I was nervous enough just being in a new environment that “getting involved” did not particularly appeal to me. While I eventually became comfortable enough to step out of my comfort zone, it wasn’t until recently - during the second half of my third year - that I have had a chance to stop and take stock of all the advantages associated one gains from participation in extracurricular activities. In hindsight, I can confidently say that extracurricular involvement is one of the best ways to make the most of one’s time as a U of A Arts student. 

Through my involvement with the Political Science Undergraduate Association and the Students’ Union, I’ve had the chance to make many new friends, apply what I’ve learned in class, and developed skills that will serve me throughout the rest of my life. Additionally, I’ve had the opportunity to learn more about the legislative process - an interest which I hope to pursue throughout my professional career.

Serving as VP Communications of the PSUA has been a really enjoyable experience. Not only have I learned a lot from my fellow Executive team members, I have had the chance to help build a stronger and more cohesive Political Science department. It’s great to be a part of such an exciting, fascinating, and friendly community, and I’d wager that similar opportunities for personal development and growth can be found within many other student groups at the U of A. Find one that interests you, and get in touch with them!

Another fantastic way to get involved on campus is to run for election to a representative position. I am very thankful for my friends who encouraged and helped me to run for Students’ Council, as representing students has turned out to be a really rewarding challenge. While it is nerve-wracking to let one’s name stand for election, the opportunities that serving in this position has provided in terms of meeting new people, learning more about University governance, and advancing change make the entire experience worthwhile. Please get in touch with me at if you are interested in running for Students’ Council or any other representative position on campus, and I’ll do my best to provide helpful advice!

What is a career challenge that awaits you after graduation? 

Moving forward, the next challenge that awaits me is making the transition from undergraduate studies to law school. While I’m not certain exactly what my career trajectory will look like, I am confident that the leadership skills and strong relationships that I’ve developed by being an active member of the U of A community will serve me well throughout my life.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Career Snapshot - Lindsay Jessup - Job Shadow Week Participant 

Lindsay Jessup is a 5th year Sociology student born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She’s the VP Media for the Sociology Undergraduate Student Association and is pursuing a diploma in Public Relations next fall after graduation. 

What was your experience working with the Office of the Registrar during Job Shadow Week? Did your job shadow experience relate to a position that you would like to pursue after graduation? 

When I applied for a job shadow with the University’s Office of the Registrar, I didn’t realize how nostalgic I would come to feel about my time on this campus. My sixth and final Career Centre job shadow encouraged me to get into the minds of both prospective and current U of A students– and this placement could not have come at a better time. In the midst of applying for graduation, scheduling grad photos, and penciling in my final exam schedule, I got to reflect on the aspects of the U of A that made me choose to “start here”.

I spent the day with Sheila Graham, acting Associate Director of Marketing & Communications. Through welcome packages, Instagram posts, and more, her team paints a green & gold picture that many of us can relate to. They aim to show prospective students what campus life is like above and beyond the classroom. Sure these kids care about what courses they can enroll in, but they also want to know that they can toss Frisbees on Quad in between classes, catch a perogy barbeque, and hop a quick bus ride to Whyte ave. They want the whole package.

I quickly identified with the Office of the Registrar’s mission. Coming from a social sciences background, I saw the importance of placing myself back in a 17-year-old’s shoes. The Office has set its sights on understanding the demographic: their barriers, and their objectives. If you can manage to wrap your head around all of that, you might just be able to show a prospective student why U of A is the right choice for them. 

This job shadow reaffirmed for me, that pursuing a career in Communications is the right path. Sheila’s team’s creativity could be the difference between someone stepping foot on this campus-- or not. It helped me realize I want to put my skills towards making that kind of difference in a young adult’s life.  Who knows what trajectory any one of us would be on had we chosen another institution? 

At the end of this experience, I was impressed by the extensive work that goes on behind the scenes, at the Office of the Registrar, to promote the UAlberta way of life. As I prepare to walk across the Jubilee’s stage, I can’t wait to see what comes from the next generation of Green & Gold.

Monday, 14 March 2016

Career Snapshot - Oluseun Adekunle - Job Shadow Week Participant 

Oluseun Adekunle is an undergraduate international student living in Edmonton, Alberta. He is currently in his fourth year of Electrical Engineering with a focus in Power and Control Systems.

What made you want to participate in the U of A Job Shadow Week Program? Did you find the program valuable in helping you recognize potential career paths?

My participation in the University of Alberta Job Shadow Week Program was influenced by the desire to understand more about the various career paths possible in the Electrical Engineering discipline, specifically the Power and Utilities branch. The realization that an established career is beyond what I have learnt in school prompted my participation in the University of Alberta Job Shadow week.

I was privileged to be matched with Mr. Lorne Clark, an Electrical Engineer working with the Utilities Services, University of Alberta. The information sessions hosted by the Career Centre played a pivotal role towards a wonderful experience with the host. In addition to the information sessions, reading the material provided by the host was another great way to prepare for the event. At the end of program, I wanted to have a definite idea of the duties of an Electrical Engineer and the skills needed to excel in this profession. 

The day kicked off with an office meeting, brief discussion about our backgrounds, interests and expectations for the day. Mr. Clark summarized the schedule for the day along with general guidelines and we proceeded to watch videos that provided a detailed description about Utilities Services. Mr. Clark presented and explained the single line diagrams of the campus. We spent the morning touring the Cooling Plant on Campus and the Heating Plant. He took time to explain the significance of thorough thinking and its effect on the outcome of a design. He mentioned specific factors that come into play in implementing designs and analyzed factors from a managerial perspective. Examples of such factors are accessibility, reliability, safety, organization, life expectancy and flexibility to upgrade among many others. The discussion centered on the realization of design of systems captivated my interest. We were privileged to spend the afternoon with another staff member, Shaun, reviewing more single line diagrams and time-current curves used in protective device coordination. Lorne concluded the program with advice and recommendations for career advancement.
This Job Shadow week was successful for me because Lorne went above and beyond to help the participants and provided comprehensive answers to our questions. More importantly, I left with a list of useful skills that I needed to either hone or gain that will point my career in the right direction. Words cannot do justice to appreciate the Career Centre and the hosts for their effort in providing these opportunities for students.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Career Snapshot - Abygail Berg - Arts Leadership Cohort 

We caught up with Abygail Berg, a second year Industrial Design student and also the Arts Leadership Cohort leader for the 2015/2016. 

During University did you have a particular career path in mind? If so, how did this career path change throughout your degree?

Coming to the U of A I was quite certain of the career path I desired to have. I wanted to finish my industrial design degree and work in the field for a few years, then continue on and obtain my masters in architecture. Although I still aspire to follow this path, my experiences with getting involved in the residence community on campus and the greater community of Edmonton have opened new interests for me as well. 

In my first year I lived on the Arts/ Leadership Cohort, a floor in Lister Centre intended for (although it is open to anybody who wants to be involved) Faculty of Arts students who desire to be leaders in their community through volunteer work.  Living on the ALC reminded me both of how much I love community service, and how rewarding it is to live in a community of awesome students with similar interest.  Since I had such a great experience with the ALC I applied to be the Arts/ Leadership Cohort leader for my second year, and received the position!

This past year has been an amazing experience of getting to know many talented students who are part of the ALC, both from Lister and those who volunteer with us from outside of residence. We have been fundraising for the Boyle McCauley Health center, helping out at Hope Mission, exploring poverty in Edmonton through the help of The Mustard Seed’s Social Issues Walk, and we are also working on some mental wellness programing to finish up the year.

I never intended to work for Residence Services coming into U of A, but now that I have, it sparked a whole other set of interests for me.  Residence and community involvement has been an important part of my first two years at U of A. It has given me the opportunity to be involved with campus culture, while also being involved in the larger community of Edmonton. I encourage anybody who has the chance to be involved in some of the programs here on campus like the ALC, Engage Edmonton, or any number of other awesome student groups to do so! You never know where it may take you. I am looking forward to continuing to work with Residence Services for the next year, and hopefully continuing to work with them in the future to ensure that incoming students have just as great and if not better experiences than I did!