Every month we are profiling one of the Web Services Department’s team members. This month we hear about Dahlia who is a co-op student with Web Services.

How did you enter this career?

It is strange coming from an Environmental Studies and Geography background to find a job in Communications and Web Services at Carleton, but I love the Carleton community so much. I have worked at school before as a Departmental Ambassador and as a Research Assistant under Scott Mitchell, the head of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies (DGES). I knew while looking for my second co-op work term that I wanted to be at Carleton again. Unfortunately with covid-19, my two previous positions with the DGES ended and I knew I wanted to work at Carleton again, whether online or in person. On my co-op board I prioritized all the positions that Carleton was offering and Web Services was by far the most interesting. I may not be in Communications, but the information that I am learning from this position will surely come in handy in future jobs helping with website related configurations.

I am currently completing my second co-op term with Carleton Web Services as a Web Communications Advisor.

Where else have you worked?

Since I started my first job in high school, have worked many, many positions (many of which were at the same time) in order to pay for schooling. Including my previous and current positions at Carleton as stated above, I have worked in a few retail jobs as well. My previous co-op was working with the Government of Canada with their Procurement and Vendor Relations/ ITS sector as a Green Procurement Analyst. It was my first co-op job and right at the beginning of the pandemic so everything was crazy and unfortunately I did not end up doing the tasks I was hired for, but was happy to be there regardless.

What are some of the technologies you have used along the way? (What are you passionate about?)

Through my geography and social science background at school I have used Google Drive, Canva, Adobe, Zoom, Skype, MS Suite, Google Earth Pro, Arc GIS Pro, Google My Maps, any equipment used in my physical geography classes, and a geographical statistics program called R. I am now learning WordPress with Carleton’s Web Services and love learning new tech tools.

What are the best things about your program?

I love the Environmental Studies and Geography program so much. The professors are so fun and caring. I was always told that university was going to be so scary, so formal, and that professors didn’t care about you nor remember your name. That couldn’t be farther from the truth. My courses are always engaging with new and important topics, the professors try to get to know every student and create meaningful relationships with them. I know of students in my program who became research assistants under a professor that they really liked. My program offers field trips, case studies, and explores the world and people around us on global and local scales. Graduates from my program can find themselves in a plethora of jobs and definitely will not find a lack of work in our field from urban planners, GIS technicians, conservationists, geographers, environmental policy makers, and so on.

Do you have some exciting projects you are working on right now?

Right now I’m learning a lot about WordPress and the process of editing and publishing web pages. Along with that, Carleton Web Services is working on the new CuTheme Project. I was hired to help migrate from the current CCMS and Framework sites to the new Cu Theme. It may not look like a huge difference on the front end of the website but it will be a lot easier to configure and use.

What music are you listening to at the moment?

I listen to a lot of different styles of music. My family jokes that I am secretly a 50 year old when I listen to my 70s and 80s rock albums. In his early years, my dad was a dj and we still own a lot of his vinyl records. It is so fun to dive into Billy Joel, Janet Jackson, Queen, Meatloaf, ABBA, REO Speedwagon, I could go on forever. I love Broadway tunes, Disney musicals, rock, pop, but what I currently have been into is 90s Mexican-American singer Selina y los Dinos (or just Selena). My family has always loved Spanish music and since my dad always plays the Gipsy Kings so this is just my version of that.

What are you reading at the moment?

I am currently reading a novel called Indigo by Charline Harris et al. It is about a crime journalist by day, super-powered vigilante with the power to manipulate shadows by night who is trying to uncover a string of missing children in her city. I tend to migrate towards fantasy and fiction books in my spare time. As a student I read enough textbooks and other non-fiction that I need some sort of escapism in my free time reading. I usually love fantasy and sci-fi novels, anything with magic or crazy cool technology set in the future.

What do you do outside of work/school to amuse yourself?

If anyone close to me knows, I love birds. I go birding (not bird watching, birding) every day that I can. Ever since my Habitat Ecology class in high school, I have been obsessed with the identification of local species, birds more specifically. I have bird identification books, my friend bought me binoculars for Christmas, and own birding apparel (of which none are necessary to be a birder of course). People think it is so hard to start learning about the species around them- I tell them, just sit in your backyard and listen or look for the birds you can already name! There, you are a birder! It helps to take classes or look up in a book the hundreds of species around us, but even a pro Ottawa birder like me gets overwhelmed by the amount of species here alone. I have identified over 40 species of birds in my neighborhood at the local creek. Rain or shine you can catch me birding on a walk or bike ride.

When I’m not outside I usually read or play my Nintendo Switch. I am not a serious gamer but I like the cute adventure games where I get to explore. Understandably the games where I get to learn new species and explore geography are my favorite types.

What exciting plans do you have coming up in the next year?

After this work term I have one more and then plan on finishing up my last year of undergrad possibly by 2022. After that? Either a master’s program or finding work. I hope to go into some form of conservation. I am really passionate about specific species or wetland conservation. When I was little I wanted to work for SeaWorld’s animal rehabilitation/ habitat conservation program so clearly conservation of species has been a priority of mine for a while. Ideally I could find a position that includes all of my skills, even the ones I learned from my time here at Web Services.