15 Algonquin College students are volunteering at the International Conference on Communications taking place here in Ottawa, and earning high praise from members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
“Our original role and main purpose was to provide Blackberry Playbook tablet support to the participants,” explains Professor Richard Hagemeyer. “I changed this immediately to include all technology used…We have been asked by many different areas to provide general laptop support, some audio/visual support, even helping carry lunch for the other volunteers. We are also helping with the registration database and doing general conference application support.”
That assistance was critical because the IEEE Conference is ‘paperless’, so the organizers are relying on strong tech support. “They have told me that they could not see the conference being successful without [the students],” according to Hagemeyer. The conference is also helping to spark interest in the College. “The students have fielded a number of questions about Algonquin College…They are generally impressed and indicate that they will investigate Algonquin College further.”
The students are enjoying the hands-on experience, and Hagemeyer claims their schooling has prepared them for every challenge they’ve faced. “They love it. In fact, many have been doing many more volunteer hours that originally committed.”
13 of the students are in the Computer Systems Technician program, one is from the Computer Programmer program, and one is taking Computer Science. Hagemeyer says, with the students’ knowledge, work ethic, and great attitudes, the reaction has been very positive. “Relief that someone can help them, surprise at their skill and knowledge. Many have sought me out to particularly mention the great service.”
The conference wraps up June 15th at the Ottawa Convention Centre.