My passion for technology in education while helping others began when I worked at Lake Land College helping faculty develop online course and web content in the late nineties. From that point on I knew I wanted to help others, that education was extremely important, and that technology could be a way for me to make a difference.
I learned html and was immediately hooked. I helped faculty and students and also taught online courses myself. That experience helped guide my undergraduate studies. I decided on a degree that was a combination of programming, web development, networking and additional skills beyond technology such as management and marketing - Bachelor of Science in Business, Information Systems.
My career at the University of Illinois started in 2006 as a programmer. I used my programming and web development skills to create web applications for administrative purposes. While working there, I realized that we were writing many custom sites and applications with very little user support in place. I changed my role to start to be more user driven. At that point, I was able to work more closely with all stakeholders, carefully listening and putting their needs into functional requirements, which I was able to translate for the lead programmer. I also lead a team of part-time and student workers to cover all other training and support needs, creating a more solid user support function within our application and web development team.
When the opportunity arose in CITES to become more involved in faculty development, I was excited. I took the job in the academic technology group and was eager for the opportunity to make a difference more directly in academia. I was able to explore a variety of technologies, teach in the classroom, work with faculty of all disciplines and collaborate with multiple units across campus. During this time, I also shepherded in the campus WordPress service into CITES and took over as service manager. This helped fuel my desire to start exploring students’ needs and interests and finding ways to help serve them.
After CITES was reorganized, the academic technology group no longer existed. At that point, I focused on mobile technologies, as I knew this was an important area that still needed much improvement and touched students, staff and faculty daily. I formed a cross-campus grassroots group to address the mobile needs of campus. I formed this group with constituents from all over campus, including AITS, CITL, Library, Provost’s Office and more. I provided the vision and direction of the group while coordinating all efforts. I also lead all student engagement, which included conducting focus groups, having a survey that I got IRB approval for, and translating all of the results into areas of focus for a mobile application. In addition, I worked on forming a campus community and created a WordPress site that serves as a hub for all things mobile on campus. At the same time, I championed a student advisory group, providing direction for the group, recruiting students, and integrating student feedback into service areas throughout the organization, which otherwise may not have looked at direct student input.
While working full time, I earned my Master’s degree in Library and Information Science here at Illinois. This was the degree I had always dreamed of, it was perfect for me – a combination of all things that I love. I was able to further my knowledge in technology, get a better grasp of concepts related to organization, research and data, as well as develop a deeper understanding and appreciation of libraries. Since I first started working at the University of Illinois, I knew what an amazing library we have. But, after finishing my studies, I now recognize the complexity of our library system, how it serves as the knowledge core of our institution and how lucky I would be to be a part of that.
Outside of work time, I am the Illinois Marathon Webmaster. We just made the transition last year from a static php site to WordPress as a CMS. I lead the charge in ensuring we reviewed our content, took inventory and migrated appropriately. I made important decisions on layout and design, and served as the lead advisor and coordinator for all aspects of the project. As part of my role as Webmaster, I continually keep up with the latest in web technology, usability and accessibility.
I am a leader. I see the big picture as well as the details, can create the strategic plan and get it implemented. I have an extensive web development and user support understanding. I truly care about serving our campus faculty, students and staff. I pride myself on effectively communicating with individuals from a variety of backgrounds. I understand and value the importance of collaboration.