The Life of an ORION Intern: From Goose Nesting to High Speed Networking

Samantha McKayHi everyone!

This summer, I am one of ORION’s Social Media and Business Development Interns. I’ve been here for six weeks now, and I’ll be here until the end of August 2013.

To rewind a little bit, let me tell you about myself. My name is Samantha McKay and I was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario. At 19, I’ve just completed my first year of my undergrad at Carleton University, where I major in journalism and minor in gender studies. I love my program, but the best experiences I had last year were undoubtedly extra-curricular! I write for Carleton’s campus newspaper, The Charlatan in the National section, where I tend to focus on human rights stories, gender violence stories, and some lighter, silly feature pieces. For example, this month I wrote a about the University of Waterloo’s overwhelming goose nesting problem. I also volunteer for the Paul Menton Centre for Students with Disabilities as a Peer Note-Taker, (I provide my lecture notes to students registered at the Centre who are unable to take their own) as well as at various events. In addition, I’m also a Peer Editor for fellow students’ assignments and papers, and I like to play volleyball in my spare time.

At ORION, I work with another intern, Max Zhu, on various projects with all members of the Business Development and Marketing teams. Mainly, Max and I are assisting with ORION’s social media and increasing ORION’s online profile. We are also contributing to a few other projects, such as helping improve ORION’s SalesForce community, helping to draft, source and edit >Success Stories, and learning about the O3 community. We’re also contributing to a few other interesting business development projects that I’ll get into in later posts! So far, working with the ORION team has been an awesome experience and I’m learning a lot!

However, I didn’t always know what ORION does, and certainly not that ORION has a direct impact on my life. As a Carleton University student, I rely on internet provided by ORION when I’m on campus – and I didn’t even know it! This seems to be a commonality among students – we do not know or care where our internet is coming from, as long as it works, we’re happy. A high speed internet connection is crucial for students as the classroom becomes increasingly reliant on technology. For every class, there are required readings that can only be accessed with a functioning internet connection. Also, students are required to submit most assignments online, communicate with professors and TA’s through email or platforms like “Blackboard”,and collaborate with other students on projects using cloud-based technology such as GoogleDocs.

The increasing reliance on virtual spaces as a key education tool is inevitable – some classes are run solely through lecture videos posted online now! The classroom of the future is a virtual one, and it is important for both students and educators alike to embrace this evolution in order to further develop a collaborative, cooperative environment that flourishes in this new digital age.

The transformation of the classroom into a virtual space is not something I had ever considered an important development before I began working at ORION, even though I have been growing up with these changes. Working at ORION is opening my eyes to different aspects of today’s knowledge-based digital economy  that I wasn’t aware of before, and I’m beginning to realize how technology can positively influence education and make it more of a collaborative effort.

In my first month I’ve really learned a lot at ORION while gaining valuable experience by positively contributing to some great projects. In my monthly blog posts, I will be documenting my work, what I’m learning, and will continue to touch on some broader issues that relate to the work we do at ORION.

Look out for another post from me next month!