Noah Nickel is a fourth year Political Science student at Brock University with a Minor in Canadian Studies. He worked with the Centre for Sport Capacity this summer as our Communications and Marketing Assistant for his co-op work term.
What an…interesting summer this has been (to say the least).
As a full time student during the fall and winter, I’ve grown accustomed to seasonal full time employment in the spring and summer. But nothing could have prepared me for what this year had in store. However, despite the fact that the pandemic made the job search this summer so much harder for all of us students, to have been able to find an opportunity as personally fulfilling and enriching as I did is truly a blessing.
Working as the Communications and Marketing Assistant for the Centre for Sport Capacity this summer was a unique experience for me in a variety of ways. For starters, anyone that knows me knows that sports aren’t my forte. Additionally, as a Political Science major, working for a Sport Management research centre wasn’t something I ever expected I would do. But in the end, it turned out to be a better fit than I could have imagined.
The work that I was able to do with the CSC this summer was all work I have had previous experience in, albeit in a slightly different form.
Having worked for some larger research centres and other organizations in the past, the work I did was more laid out for me and procedural; Based on best practices that they had established over several years. Given that the CSC is a newer research centre, I was tasked in part with developing some of these practices and doing some of this foundational work for the first time alongside my bosses, Centre Director Dr. Julie Stevens and Centre Coordinator Cole McClean.
This degree of freedom and responsibility entrusted in me has been really empowering, as I feel that the work that I did will have an impact on the course and direction of the CSC going into the future, well beyond the length of my four month contract.
One such project was the creation of the Centre’s website. Having been a page on the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences website since their launch, things had been in motion by the time I started with the CSC to create their own fully fledged website with the help of Marketing and Communications.
My job was to compile all of the content that was to be included on the website and lay out how we would want it to be displayed on the site. I then sent it to Marketing and Communications to build it out in WordPress. Following a series of revisions with Marketing and Communications, as well as taking on some of that work in WordPress myself, we officially launched the website on August 6th.
I am incredibly proud of the work I did to create this website. I’m also impressed by the large-scale collaboration that took place between myself, Dr. Stevens, McClean, and the Marketing and Communications team. We were able to work so effectively together that we saw this project virtually from start to finish over the course of just two months.
I also did some work more closely involved with Dr. Stevens’ research project, the Niagara Sport Database (NSD). I was able to design for her a logo for the project, as well as a variety of other assets to use on projects, reports, letterheads, and elsewhere.
I also designed the NSD project template that will be used on an ongoing basis for their economic impact reports that Dr. Stevens will be creating for sport organizations and clubs. These projects demonstrate the positive economic impact that sport clubs have on the regional economy here in Niagara. Having played a role in supporting that endeavour is something I am quite proud of.
Lastly, I was also put in charge of developing the CSC’s social media presence. During my time with the CSC, we have created a Twitter account, developed a social media strategy to be used for the next 12 months, and began using social media management website HootSuite to effectively schedule posts across their social media platforms and to track analytics to improve their posting and content development strategy on an ongoing basis. While this work is truly in its infancy in terms of its implementation, I do believe that I have laid out an effective roadmap for the future success of the CSC on social media.
While this only scratches the surface of the work that we did this summer, I think it illustrates perfectly just how valuable and unique this experience was for my personal and professional development. For that, I want to wish Dr. Stevens, McClean, and the entire CSC team well as they continue to grow and begin to take on more exciting projects in the future.
I would also like to encourage everyone to consider going out of your comfort zone the next time you find yourself looking for work. Having put myself out there and taken on this opportunity that I originally thought was completely outside of my wheelhouse, I was able to personally and professionally grow in a way that I didn’t expect going into this “interesting” summer, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.