posted September 17, 2014- written by Ashley Weselak, SOE Graduate Assistant
“The common thread I have enjoyed the most - in all of my projects - is how much I can use my skills to help someone else do their job better.”
Elizabeth Oldfield completed both her bachelor's degree in applied mathematics as well as her master's degree in educational technology at Buffalo State. Like many students, she chose Buffalo State because of the campus’ affordability, location, and size, which lend to its comforting environment. She found that the college invites students into a world of collaboration involving acquiring new learning styles, keeping up with trends, and preparing for the corporate world.
For Oldfield, Buffalo State was a way to gain real-world experience and development skills.
During her undergraduate years, Oldfield warmed to the idea of pursuing the path of technical writing, a suggestion from her mathematics professor. Through this pursuit she developed a skill set for managing technical concepts and organizing information in a structured way.
Oldfield also drew inspiration and guidance from a graduate instructor, Dr. Wendy Paterson, now dean of the school of education. Dr. Paterson focused on integrating new technology into the very traditional field of education and encouraged ideas, curiosity, enthusiasm and new innovative, cutting edge solutions. Oldfield still utilizes past projects from her course with Dr. Paterson to express her points and introduce new ideas.
Oldfield worked part-time on campus and was involved in a variety of projects. One particular task involved her assisting with research and organizing information. She showed competence in her approach to each assignment, even with the most menial tasks, and because of her work ethic was awarded more challenging jobs and increased responsibility.
Oldfield's original intent was to pursue a job in educational curriculum design, at the time a fairly new employment avenue. Instead she chose work in the corporate world, where she excelled exponentially and was able to apply her many skills through the writing of technical instructions and creating programs for various companies. She says that having the ability to connect with your audience while expressing their concerns and needs is an important skill, one that is especially essential in the technical or instructional writing field.
“It is important to stay flexible and remember there is always room for improvement,” she says. “You need to think of yourself as a beneficial service for your client and be able to continually prove that you streamlined the process, made someone else’s job less time consuming, and reduced production costs or post-production support service, costs, etcetera.”
Oldfield utilizes her master’s degree in the corporate world and her unique experiences with a variety of projects continues to expand.
She has successfully held positions at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where she helped create a way to quickly access information from all over the world, in relation to high-risk behavior and cancer databases. She also worked at a state-based HMO in Arizona where she was entrusted with developing training materials for computer systems that would input patient information. This work expanded further into conducting technical writing workshops that assisted the company in accurately meeting deadlines.
In the future she would like to explore the possibility of reentering the field of e-learning.
“The practical skills I learned at Buffalo State were always with me when I was required to solve problems, streamline processes, or increase efficiency. Because of Buffalo State I gained many practical skills to integrate into the projects I have worked on, and I was inspired to think outside the box in everything I do.”