For most current NAIT students, life after NAIT does not yet exist. NAIT’s International Centre and Alumni Relations have come together to give students a taste of life after NAIT.
Life After NAIT was held on Nov. 21 in the North Lobby where faculty, alumni and industry professionals shared valuable tips and tricks on the art of introductions, maintaining a positive social media outlet and the importance of building connections in everyday life.
Freya Fu, NAIT International Centre’s Engagement Co-ordinator, explains that Life After NAIT originally began in 2013 as a small gathering to encourage and assist international students establishing themselves in Canada.
“It started quite a few years ago more so like a little seminar inviting a couple alumni to come talk to current students and it evolved so much over the years,” said Fu. “Last year we had over 100 people participate.”
While the event is largely geared towards international students, the advice and expertise passed on by knowledgeable professionals is useful for all current NAIT students.
“It is focused more on international and newcomer students who are current on campus and it’s an opportunity for them to look at what is life like after NAIT,” Fu said.
But she is adamant that all students are encouraged to attend Life After NAIT. “We’ll never say no if a student shows up and they’re
Chelsea Erhardt, alumni relations officer at NAIT, is responsible for garnering participation from NAIT alumni.
“It’s a good opportunity for students to come back and speak with alumni, ask them questions. It’s kind of just a safe area to practise their networking,” she said. There are many alumni who’ve remained active at NAIT
long after graduation and regularly attend student events to share their experiences and awareness.
Christina Melnychuk graduated from NAIT’s Business Administration Marketing
and Advertising program in 2008.
“I loved the program,” Melnychuk said. “One thing I really respected about it the most was how hands-on the teachers were … they legitimately cared and wanted us to advance. I have the job that I have today because of [one of my instructors] through the marketing program.”
Melnychuk has remained active in the NAIT community since graduation. She’s now on the Alumni Advisory Association Council and is a certified NAIT brand ambassador. She explains that her dedication to student events at NAIT comes from the support and encouragement she received when she was a student.
“It’s nice to pay it back … I was very fortunate to have a lot of people help me out and so I love helping and mentoring students where I can.”
Troy Sullivan graduated from the Computer Systems Technology program in 2003, and although his career path has changed since graduating, Sullivan has never undervalued the power of his NAIT diploma.
“NAIT’s taken me all over the world,” he said. “It’s never been a hindrance of any kind … I’ve beaten out many other candidates that had a higher education than I had … overall I’d probably do the same thing over again.”
Though his experience at NAIT was beneficial, Sullivan didn’t have the opportunity that current NAIT students are provided with.
“I wish I had these Life After NAIT events back when I was here, we never had that,” said Sullivan.
He emphasizes the importance of networking as a young student.
“You have to meet people. People will get you to where you need to be. The more powerful people you know, the more influential people and connected people, it just introduces you to more opportunities,” he said.
Over the course of his career, Sullivan has developed a desire to help students that were in his position years ago.
“I really like helping out best I can … helping students not make the same mistakes I did,” he said.
“If I can pass on my life experience and my knowledge to others, to younger people, it feels like the right thing to do.”
– Shawna Bannerman, Assistant Editor
Photo by Dominic Manea