Helping Huskies Make the Tech Transition
Rachel Troychock' 03/'04 M has always been involved as an alum, initially as a social member of the Carver Hall chapter of the Alumni Association and later as an alumni volunteer.
"I had left the area for a few years, and when I returned, it seemed a good way to make new friends as an adult. The Carver Hall chapter was my first step. [I found] there are always great opportunities to give back."
As a 2004 MSIT grad, Troychock immediately found ways to give back through the MSIT Corporate Advisory Council (CAC), which brings alumni back to create professional simulations for students as they prepare to enter the instructional technology industry. Considered a capstone program, the students must write a response to a proposal, present their solutions, and create a business prototype. Alumni grade their presentation, ask questions and give feedback.
"It's an awesome program; I've never seen anything like it," explained Troychock. "It's such a unique way for the student to get real experience of what it'll be like in the field, and [It's] fun for us to come back and relive our experience and help that next group of alumni coming out of the program."
Troychock's reasons are not just personal but professional as well. She says that volunteering with her alma mater reminds her of the excitement her industry offers and the reasons why she chose it. She has also found that volunteering opens up opportunities to network and tap into new talent in the industry.
"The pace of corporate life can get tiring, but there's always a volunteer opportunity at Bloom to bring me back and share my passion for the field. It reminds me what I like about this career and re-energizes me, so I better appreciate the work that I'm doing."
Troychock stresses that all alumni have something to offer current students, regardless of their major or class year.
"It's hard to make that transition, and we can make it much easier for them. You don't have to be in the field for very long – you can come back almost immediately, and there is still an opportunity. It's so powerful for the students."
For example, Troychock says that it is common for students to think they should have everything figured out by the time they are ready to graduate and finds that sometimes her most significant impact is to assure them that is not the case. She says that many students don't see failure as a learning opportunity and seeks to reassure them that it is all about the journey and that sometimes it can take time for one to see the value in their mistakes.
"It's okay not to be sure about your major and a job. It's okay not to be sure and have fun with the experience. You will learn as you go, and failure is part of learning. Sometimes it's taking a job that isn't a great fit, and it feels like a failure, but it's not because you are still Growing your network and learning new skills. It's not just about being a hardworking student; it's about growing as a human."
Interested in volunteering? Let us know!