Meet your new Academic Technologist

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I am very happy to introduce to you our newest team member, Alison Holland! Alison is the new Extension Academic Technologist. She is experienced, knowledgeable, super easy to work with, and a great addition to the Extension team. I know she will be working with many of you in short order!
The Academic Technologist is responsible for promoting and supporting academic technologies for teaching and learning by Extension faculty and staff. 
Now let's get to know the newest member of the Extension Technology team!

What is your experience with Extension?
I grew up in Mora -- a rural county seat -- and our County Extension Educators were visible, valuable community leaders in many capacities, and important role models for me.  I was also a 4-Her from grade K through age 19!  My experiences in State 4-H made a huge impact on my life and I’m incredibly grateful to the staff here who made it possible.  Later I spent a summer at the (now closed) Regional Extension Office in Mora as an intern, and loved it so much I’ve kept my eye out for a right-fit “real job” with Extension ever since.  While recently working under the Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP) for a short time, Extension Educators and Faculty were a significant resource for my regional team, which only renewed my interest in working for Extension.

How did you come to be in this field?
By accident!  I discovered my love for education through dance – my love for educational technology while working in healthcare career promotion at a technical college – and got to bring them together as a Teaching Artist for the Cowles Center’s Distance Learning program.  At the same time, I was also facilitating projects for the Minnesota Partnership for Collaborative Curriculum and became very interested in making the designing and developing of tech-enhanced education opportunities my primary focus.
I love this work because I value interdisciplinary collaboration and enjoy creative problem-solving.  I’m forward-thinking and want to learn and grow every day.  It’s been an organic and winding career path, and I’ve developed the skills and gained the experience that got me here by asking questions, expressing interest and support, offering my time, and not being afraid to try new things.

What's a favorite academic tech project you've worked on?
Ah!  This is the most difficult question -- like choosing your favorite child!  None is perfect, and each has its own strengths, challenges, and lessons.  If I must choose, I’ll say Health Careers and Math (HCM) online games.  HCM was designed to help elementary students explore a variety of mid-level healthcare careers while practicing the math skills necessary to be successful in them.  The project was born out of an informal chat over coffee with a mentor, and became an interdisciplinary collaboration of the Johnson Center for Simulation and the Healthcare Alliance (both at Pine Technical and Community College), and faculty from Mora Public Schools.

How much do you love the Minnesota State Fair? Like seriously. HOW. MUCH.
Did I mention I was a career-long 4-Her?  I think loving the State Fair is a requirement.  Not only did I spend my childhood living for the day I could spend the night in the "4-H Hilton" as an encampment kid, I also spent two years in State Arts-In, and two years as a State Ambassador (VP-elect, and VP) living at the fair for its duration (and beforehand).  I still feel like I’m developing my post-4-Her relationship with the Fair, so I’m pretty excited about working next door.



If you'd like to schedule a consultation with Alison, please feel welcome to do so. I look forward to seeing all the great e-learning projects that Extension programs + Alison will make!

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