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Amy’s Story: From Student to Dean - a Career in Full Circle

Posted on Apr 26, 2024

Amy Saitz's educational journey began in 1993 when she registered in a one-year certificate program in Secretarial Arts (now known as Office Administration). Amy was interested in the program because she, like most people at the time, lacked computer skills. “Computers were becoming a big thing,” Amy reflects. “I wanted to learn more about basic computer operations and step a little further into the professional world.”

After completing the program, Amy quickly found work at the institution where she had studied. “I pretty much went straight to work with the College, working as an administrative assistant for the careers department in Grouard.”

With her newfound skillset, Amy quickly proved to be a valuable hire. She continuously took on more responsibilities, moving into different professional roles throughout the College. While working as an instructional assistant, she decided to pursue a teaching degree through the University of Alberta, supplementing her studies with University Studies courses through Northern Lakes College. At this time, Amy took a year’s leave from her position at NLC and began substitute teaching at the local public school.

Reflecting on this busy period of her life, Amy emphasizes the significance of the support NLC instructors offered. Facing the challenges of work commitments, raising three children, and even the devastating loss of her home when the family suffered a house fire, Amy received unwavering encouragement and empathy from NLC employees. Her instructors even coordinated assignments to accommodate her circumstances.

"When we lost the house, it was total chaos. I was taking all these courses, my kids needed me, and I was working. I was so stressed. But my instructors were amazing. My political science instructor and sociology instructor found ways so that I could basically write one essay to meet the requirements of two courses. They were one hundred and ten percent willing to work with me and help me out," Amy states. "I don’t know that you get that kind of personal attention in larger institutions.”

Upon graduation, Amy took on an instructing role at the College, and continued her own education, eventually earning a master’s degree in Distance Education. Amy then explored more professional positions, each contributing to her career growth and development. From program coordinator, to later serving as chair, Amy's journey exemplifies the diverse opportunities available at the College. Today, Amy is Dean,  Business, Academics, Trades, and Regional Stewardship—a testament to her dedication and leadership within the institution.

Now, as Amy embarks on the next chapter of her life in retirement, she looks back with a profound sense of pride and satisfaction. Her message to aspiring learners is clear: seize the opportunities that Northern Lakes College offers, embrace the journey of continuous learning, and never underestimate the transformative power of education.