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Curiosity and dialogue: Communication alumnus pursues a passionate career of art and education
Driven by the desire to create genuine connections and share her passions with the world, Sharon Roberts is a project manager, educator and writer. She graduated from SFU with a Bachelor of Arts degree in communication and kinesiology.
As a communication student, she was encouraged to approach life with curiosity and dialogue. Applying this method to her personal and professional development has opened doors for her to highlight her passion for art and education in all her projects.
After graduating in 2007, Roberts worked for the university’s Work Integrated Learning program for a year supporting all co-op students. She worked closely with the curriculum manager to facilitate the Bridging Online Learning program that introduces new co-op students to the program by teaching them about workplace skills.
“This project really sparked my interest in curriculum or instructional design as a field. But it was still quite new at that time,” Roberts explains. She says she considered pursuing further education in that area of study, but did not feel ready yet.
Instead, Roberts found herself working in film as a project manager where she continued to search for tools to improve and learn more about the industry. She was told those kinds of guides did not exist in her line of work.
“It planted this seed in my mind that there was an opportunity to develop some learning tools for people that do my job. And so I did that.”
In 2014, she went on to pursue a Master of Education at the University of Massachusetts. For her thesis project, she chose to design learning tools for people that did her old job in the film industry.
Although Roberts is passionate about teaching, she wanted to expand her experience beyond a single area of focus. “I always explored teaching and learning in other ways, and it has underscored everything I’ve done.”
Roberts says she included her favourite SFU professor, Robert Anderson, in her ongoing project, Fire Followers. She reached out to him for his thoughts as an environmental communicator award recipient, and he put her in contact with more people specializing in environmental management.
“My connection to SFU really helped with the project,” she explains.
The project was made in collaboration with a Vancouver-based painter, Megan Majewski, and with the intention to explore the beauty that can be found in forests after fires take place.
Found online and at the Beaty Biodiversity Museum, the Fire Followers exhibit also addresses how humans must live “symbiotically with the forests, allowing them to burn when needed while preserving our safety.”
Roberts currently works with Leah Chang Learning Inc. as a learning and development consultant. Through her work with Leah Chang, Roberts contributed course design to Inclusion Canada's "Inclusive Workplace" project, which is meant to support neurodiverse adults with autism find meaningful employment.
Emphasizing her passion for education, she says this work is meaningful to her because it is cause-driven, it upholds her values of inclusivity. Thanks to her studies at SFU’s School of Communication, she can continue to explore life with curiosity as a “lifelong learner.”