Amélie Leroux is a third-year student studying Business Technology Management at the University of Ottawa. She began her third work placement with Information Technology in January 2021. Last August, Amélie was appointed to a new Student Coordinator position to improve the engagement and experience of students working in Information Technology and studying at the University.
What is the role of the Student Engagement Coordinator?
I will be working with students to increase their engagement within Information Technology and develop their skills. I’m hoping to improve their welcome to our team and the overall onboarding experience. I’m also reaching out to other students in our community, for example through our first student focus group, to see if we are reflecting the needs of current students. I want students to feel like they have input into technology at uOttawa and that they can help build something for themselves; we’re big believers in ‘for students, by students.’
What have you learned about Information Technology that you didn’t know before?
There are so many IT resources that are available to students beyond the Service Desk.
I’m fortunate to have supervisors that value personal growth. In working with the Chief Information Officer (Martin Bernier) and Enterprise Architect (MaryAnn Welke Lesage) I’m learning about change management, project management, business concepts, and about services for employees and professors. It’s been interesting to see the complexity of IT at the University.
What have been some of your achievements in this role that you are most proud of?
Wow, it’s been so busy, it’s hard to choose. One highlight is the data from surveys to assess the experience of students working in Information Technology. We were able to suggest changes that are now being implemented. The results were also shared directly with managers to affect change and establish new onboarding programs. It’s also been a really positive experience to work with Student Champion, Lyra Trstenjak (IT Application Manager), and bounce ideas off each other on the ways we can improve connections between managers and student employees. We’ve also had a couple of workshops to help students learn new skills.
I’ve also learned that as a student, I can affect change and the student experience. I recently shared some feedback with the Telfer tech team about lab computers crashing, and as a result, they made improvements. If I hadn’t said anything, the situation may not have improved as quickly. Before, I felt as though I couldn’t influence a change. By getting involved and sharing my experience, I see that I can bring benefits to the overall student experience.
My role is also to encourage other students to get involved in the design process. By creating a group of students that can directly impact and evaluate IT solutions, students and professors will be involved throughout the process instead of getting their feedback at the end of the process.
What would you say to a student considering work in Information Technology?
Go in with an open mind and take action on opportunities you want. Don’t be afraid to ask to be involved. I was interested in project management and leadership. In sharing my career goals, MaryAnn encouraged me to get involved in the Digital Campus Transformation Plan and to speak to Martin Bernier about mentorship opportunities.
Speaking up has exposed me to opportunities to gain new skills. I’m actively involved in the service Information Technology provides. I’ve had opportunities to take what I’m learning in my classes and implement this knowledge in real-world situations. It has really helped my personal growth.