Employee Feature — Kerry Shoalts

Note: The Brock Employee Feature is a Q&A-style series that aims to highlight those who contribute to the University’s positive working environment and make a difference in the campus community. The full series is available on The Brock News. Employees interested in being featured are asked to fill out an online form.

Kerry Shoalts (MEd ’21) came to Brock looking for a new career challenge.

After several years spent as a critical care nurse, Shoalts joined Brock’s Nursing Department in 2007 as a Clinical and Lab Instructor.

A few years into her role, she transitioned to working in Brock’s Nursing Simulation Lab, where she developed and instructed all lab sessions.

These added responsibilities led to a role as Lab Co-ordinator in 2017, which involved developing engaging and interactive learning opportunities with high-fidelity simulators. During this time, Shoalts helped co-ordinate the opening of a new lab space in East Academic 2, developed a community apartment interactive simulation space and collaborated on Nursing’s newest lab space in East Academic 3. At the same time, Shoalts was working towards a Master of Education, which she completed in 2020.

Brock University graduate Kerry Shoalts wears a Convocation robe and stole. She is holding a bouquet of flowers and is flanked by two family members on each side of her.

Kerry Shoalts, centre, celebrated earning a Master of Education at Brock’s Legacy Convocation in October 2022. Pictured from left is her son Benjamin, daughter Amanda, Shoalts, daughter Hannah and husband Todd.

With a graduate degree in hand and more time available to her, Shoalts sought out new challenges. She took on a Clinical Course Instructor role this year on top of her role with the Lab.

Since January 2022, Shoalts has worked as a part-time Assistant Lab Co-ordinator, a decision she made so she could spend more time with her family. She also continues to teach and mentor new members of the Lab team.

Describe your department and role.

Brock’s Nursing Simulation Lab focuses on experiential learning in nursing prior to students applying knowledge and skills in clinical settings. With the increasing use of technology, the simulation lab has provided safe learning spaces. My role allows me to work closely with students, gain insight into how they learn and support them as they scaffold their theoretical knowledge with hands-on learning.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I feel lucky to connect with students throughout the entire four years of their program. When I meet students in their first year, they are often nervous and unsure. Before you know it, we’re celebrating their successful completion of the program during the Nursing Pinning Ceremony.

What do you like about working at Brock?

I like the sense of teamwork and collaboration with all members of the department.

How would others describe you?

An experienced instructor who strives to bring out the best in students and is there to offer support whenever someone needs it.

Team photo of a women’s youth basketball team.

Kerry Shoalts, far left, volunteered her time with the Port Colborne Hornet youth basketball team.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

I love basketball. I played when I was younger and then later coached. I love to watch the Raptors.

Are you or your family members involved in the local community?

For many years, I was involved with the executive team overseeing the Port Colborne Youth Basketball Club. During this time, I also coached in both the house league and the travel/rep level. My family has supported the new initiatives for palliative/hospice care in Niagara as they work toward building two additional locations for care in south Niagara. We also support Port Cares, a local organization that seeks to provide a broad range of social supports to those in the community.

What do you do for fun?

I like to spend time at the cottage, travel and read.

Where is your favourite place to visit in Niagara?

The shores of Lake Erie in Port Colborne. I also love to visit Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Shaw Festival, shops and restaurants.

What was your first job ever?

Dairy Queen in Guelph.

How do you maintain a healthy work-life balance? 

Detaching/disconnecting when off work and focus on family.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

From my mom: “The only bad question is the one you never ask.” From my dad: “If you give a person a fish they eat for a day. If you teach them to fish, they eat for a lifetime.” In other words, don’t just do things for people, teach them how and they will gain a lifelong ability.

What are you most proud of?

My children and the kind, caring people they have become. I am also proud of completing my Master of Education in 2020, which was a lifelong goal of mine. Learning has no age limit.

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