Reflections from a Newly Optimistic Graduating Student Instructional Technologist

“Yeah, we should go next time…pretty soon there won’t be any more next times.” For a group of soon-to-be graduating seniors at Pomona, this simple phrase uttered amongst friends naturally darkened the initially rambunctious energy in our suite. As I navigate my post-grad plans, my friend’s words have remained at the forefront of my consciousness for weeks. But, thankfully others in my life have said memorable things to me as well; so, I’ve started to remember: “If there is anything guaranteed in life it’s death and change.”  

My first year “at” Pomona certainly embodied this spirit. My expectation for what college would be quickly shifted as the onset of COVID-19 took hold. As a first-generation low-income student, fortunately for me, my first year at Pomona included online courses and an online job. I had applied to work as a Student Instructional Technologist with a limited understanding of what the position entailed. During the interview, I was surprised to be greeted by such friendly faces who didn’t ask me the technology-oriented questions I expected. Rather, they probed into my previous customer service experience and sought to get a broader understanding of my interests and motivations. This was the start of one of the many experiences at Pomona that I will reflect fondly on as I look forward to new opportunities.  

I’ll always appreciate how supportive the Instructional Technologists are. Early on, I was asked about what I hoped to gain from my role as a Student Instructional Technologist so that tasks could be designed around my learning goals. Writing, for example, has been one of the skills I’ve been able to develop during my time with the Research and Instructional Technology Group (RITG). Having said that, when you think of ITS, “writing” isn’t necessarily the first applicable skill that pops into one’s mind. Still, I’ve cherished the opportunities I’ve been given to nurture the expressive side of me that originally wanted to be a journalist. This has remained true through rain or shine—literally. Blogging about the Hahn Teaching with Technology Grant Recipient Ceremony was a memorable experience. I had struggled to drag myself out to the surprisingly rainy weather that morning, but once there with my notepad, I quickly found myself immersed in what the Pomona community was creating. The cherry on top was seeing my name at the bottom of a freshly printed blog post. Being a first-generation low-income student, it felt empowering to see I was leaving something tangible behind and not just merely surviving my college experience.  

Homepage of Canvas @ Pomona course built by Emily and ITG team

The level of trust I’ve been given in my role as a Student Instructional Technologist has been another important source of empowerment. There have been multiple times I’ve been able to work more closely with Instructional Technologist. Last summer, I was able to collaborate in building an instructional course for faculty and students transitioning to using Canvas. The nature of this task allowed me to indirectly learn about a range of pedagogical concepts, like Bloom’s Taxonomy framework; knowing Bloom’s Taxonomy came in handy when I suddenly found myself being a pre-k tutor last summer! Importantly, the Instructional Technologist I worked with to complete this course modeled useful organization and communication tactics. Having been exposed to this impressive level of organization, I’m happy to report I am now a reformed notion planner user.  

Of course, there are plenty of other memorable projects and tasks I’ve been assigned to as a Student Instructional Technologist. These are just my favorite. I’ll hold these memories and skills I’ve gained during my time with ITS and Pomona close as I head steadfastly toward new opportunities and plan next times.

Emily Briones, PO ’24