Well hi there.
My name is Amanda Kohler and I am elated to have begun my career here in downtown Toronto as the Communications Director for the Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance.
I recently completed my Master of Arts degree in Social Psychology at Wilfrid Laurier University. Previous to that, I completed a Bachelor of Arts degree in Honours Psychology at the University of Western Ontario. In my years at Laurier, I volunteered with the Graduate Student’s Association (GSA) on almost every committee, worked as their Social Media Coordinator, and then later as their Assistant Vice President: Marketing. I almost can’t even begin to express my gratitude for the professional development opportunities I experienced while working for the GSA.
How I arrived here
Given my background in psychology, it might seem strange that I am now in this Communications role. When I was younger, one of my goals was to get my PhD in Psychology and become a psychologist. Even when I entered my Master degree, I still wanted to pursue the PhD, but I realized I didn’t necessarily want to work in academia. The ‘pressure to publish’ and politics around scoring a tenure track job just wasn’t for me.
I really liked,
(a) crafting novel ways to answer scientific questions using experimental research methods,
(b) analyzing data from participants in my studies, and
(c) communicating that research to others.
However, academic journal articles are just not accessible to the general public who could have really benefited from the research I was doing.
I realized that,
(a) the creative aspect I enjoyed makes me suitable for crafting social media strategy and marketing campaigns,
(b) analyzing data is similar to monitoring analytics to measure if those campaigns are working, and
(c) being able to communicate what you plan to do, what you have done and the outcomes of that to the layperson is what your team and company stakeholders require of you.
Basically, I found my calling in marketing and communications. I thought this type of position would match well with my outspoken and cheeky nature, my passion for critical analysis, and would allow me to someday work in industry.
Although I had these transferable skills, I didn’t actually have any direct marketing experience. That is where my gratitude towards my GSA comes in. The numerous positions I held with them not only taught me about branding, policy, market research, social media, marketing and communications, but also led me to different industry marketing jobs in the startup and technology industry.
So… Here I am
This position with the OUSA is so exciting for me because I get to combine my original love - post secondary education & academics - with my new love - marketing, communications and technology - to utilize all of the skills I have acquired throughout my life journey.
I took a chance combining several things that don’t exactly seem to fit together, but the reward is getting to do something that I love and I implore you to do the same.
Ontario Undergraduate Student Alliance