A year ago I began my journey toward exploring how my career as a future community psychologist could be realized within the public sector. I have always known that I wasn’t interested in pursuing a tenured faculty position in academia. However that left me at a loss when someone asked me my favorite question “So what are you going to do after you graduate?”. Over the years I have volunteered with Wake County to increase census counts, the Boys & Girls Club, and served on committees to promote service learning. While all of these experiences have allowed me to expand my network and build my experience in community work they still did not guide me toward a career path. That all changed in the Spring of 2012 when I became a research coordinator on a project known as “Uncovering Southwest Raleigh” (http://design.ncsu.edu/swraleigh/).This project ” aims to understand current and future forces affecting change and to develop strategies to enable the residents of Southwest Raleigh and the City to enhance and promote a healthy, creative and economically sustainable future for the district”. I was brought on board to this project by my graduate advisor and helped to shape its identity as well as serve on the “community engagement” team where our goal was to engage:
- NCSU Students
- Community Organizations
One of my responsibilities was to attend relevant events that might assist in gaining more exposure as well as open up the opportunity for community collaboration. In the June of 2012 I attended an event called “City Camp” ( http://citycampnc.org/) to do just that. The goal of this event was to provide a forum is to “…bring citizens, city government, and businesses together to openly innovate and improve our quality of life through technology”. That is where I met my current boss in local government. I approached her after the event and from there we scheduled a meeting about collaborating on our respective youth initiatives. After my presentation I was offered an opportunity to work as a community liaison specialist and assist in taking Community Outreach Divisions’ youth technology program the next level.
Here I am a year later filled to brim with knowledge, lessons learned, and more questions. Going forward my posts will be focused on past and present experiences as a community psychologist (grad student) working in local government. I will delve deeper into what I have learned from blending these two worlds together and how technology serves as a conduit for civic engagement in both of these arenas.