Building New Connections at Academic Residencies

Building New Connections at Academic Residencies

Networking events can be intimidating, as you are often facing a room full of strangers.  A Walden residency means meeting many colleagues and professors for the first time – but they are far from strangers!  The shared goal of academic and personal success, coupled with a passion for affecting social change, binds the Walden community together with a shared vision.

Seven colleagues joined me in beautiful Denver, Colorado to absorb four days of invaluable information.  Dr. Steven Case, Program Director for Information Technology at Walden, was our guide and mentor.  Dr. Case shared his many years of experience and expertise and encouraged collaboration as we discussed the challenges in reaching the Doctor of Information Technology summit.  Sharing with those on the same climb was inspirational, infusing fresh motivation into the process.

Through many intriguing conversations, I learned that my colleagues are scholar-practitioners from across the globe, and each of their stories is highly motivating!

Carla is from Ponca City, Oklahoma.  As a member of the Ponca Indian Tribal Council, she is researching the challenges Indian tribes face in building IT infrastructure. Carla expressed her goal of improving Internet access for her tribe. I am originally from Oklahoma, and I am familiar with many of the challenges faced by tribal communities.  Carla’s goal is a great example of striving for positive social change.

Alex headed east from Los Angeles to join us.  As CIO of a media production company, his IT expertise was evident in our many conversations.  Alex is advanced in the DIT program and was willing to offer his lessons learned to newer colleagues. He shared excellent tips on efficiently organizing research. Having those who have gone before you share what they know is invaluable!

Gail is originally from Jamaica, and with her husband owns an IT company in Florida.  Gail has been a familiar name in my weekly discussions, as we have shared many courses together.  With the recent highly publicized security breaches, Gail’s company has new customers seeking help with IT security.  Her insights helped me understand the impact of IT security on customers and businesses.

The Denver residency was a great example of offline networking.  By connecting in person with my colleagues, we built on our shared academic experiences, while learning new skills from Dr. Case. I experienced a strong sense of community among Walden students: a community striving for academic and personal success while making the world a little better along the way.

Written by Technology Graduate Assistant, Martin Culberson
Martin Culberson