Russian American “kiwi” Nadia is our newest Education Project Coordinator. Although she has not been with us for long, she has hit the ground running, working hard to contribute to the Education team’s efforts. We asked her to share her experience working for Saylor Academy and here’s what she had to say!
Saylor Academy: Hi Nadia! How long have you have been with the team and what is your background?
Nadia: I have been part of the education team since March, one of many newbies on the team. I did my undergraduate degree in New Zealand where I grew up, and then after I completed the Cambridge Celta (Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), so I became qualified to teach English as a Second Language. I taught for a couple of years in Poland and New Zealand, and then I also spent a couple of years in higher education administration. Last year I went back to school to do my Masters of Education so I could move out of the classroom context and into more overarching administrative roles.
SA: Can you tell us about your role as well as what you do here at Saylor?
NM: I am still kind of figuring it out, you know; I am still new enough that most of my days I am learning what the role entails. But, I am the education project coordinator, so I work with the education team and I contribute to the different projects we have going on. Working as a project coordinator in any context, you always get to work on multiple things at once and I have always really enjoyed that. Also, updating our courses with supplements, such as study guides, knowledge checks, and eventually framing videos; so the goal is to improve the learner experience by adding these supplements.
SA: What is your typical day like here?
NM: So, I am still new enough that I spend a lot of each day reading process documents, getting the hang of Moodle (an open source online learning management system), and asking a whole lot of questions. In terms of the projects I mentioned before, I’ve been doing a lot of work with our Google docs, which entails creating templates, and then proofreading and editing the work that our SME’s (subject matter experts) submit.
SA: What is it that you enjoy most about your job?
NM: Definitely getting exposure to all of our different courses. Because I work with so many different projects, I am seeing all of the content that we have, and I am naturally a very curious individual so I love learning new things, especially those a little bit foreign to me; and that’s exactly what this position entails.
SA: What are your hopes for the future of Saylor Academy or online education as a whole?
NM: I hope Saylor keeps doing what we are doing, while growing and reaching more students. It was the pandemic that influenced my desire to work with an organization like Saylor Academy, because I had just returned to school and I was thrust into an online learning environment, like many students last year…and so there was definitely a learning curve. Now I am finishing my program requirements and I’ve experienced the advantages and disadvantages of online learning, so I definitely see its potential to transform teaching and learning. I am excited to be a part of this organization to be a part of that transformation.
SA: You have your own late night talk show, who do you invite as your first guest?
NM: Either Tim Burton or Ken Robinson!
SA: Tell us a fun or random fact about yourself that you might want to share with us!
NM: I am a Russian American “kiwi” (Kiwi is the term for a New Zealander, just like the fruit), so I find myself between Europe, the United States and New Zealand a lot. I live kind of like a “transient” lifestyle!
I am also invested in Saylor’s mission to make high quality education more accessible to all, specifically because I am adopted from Russia and spent time in an orphanage before being adopted, so I am very much committed to making education and the opportunities it affords more accessible.
A less heavy fun fact is that throughout my middle school years, my best friend was the actress that played Cindy Lou Who in ‘The Grinch’, which was one of my favorite films growing up.
SA: When you are not working, what do you like to do in your free time?
NM: Growing up in New Zealand, I definitely love to be outdoors. I have been pleasantly surprised by all the different walking and hiking trails around the D.C. area, because I didn’t expect it.