robin fay athens gaRobin Fay works in the Center for Teaching and Learning at Athens Technical College, where she works to improve technology skills in the next generation workforce, beyond the technology industry.

To do this, Robin contributes to a consortium between Athens Tech and Georgia Tech that uses the Workplace Initiative Grant to develop technological education programs.

Making the Money Work

Robin is responsible for two primary initiatives funded by the grant. First, Robin and the consortium are building a public, searchable database of educational resources. To create that database, the consortium must identify existing available and free educational resources. This resource is intended to help drive down the costs of textbooks and make educational opportunities more accessible and affordable.

Second, the consortium trains faculty on how to best use technology resources and maximize opportunities through collaboration. And “collaboration” isn’t just a buzzword — Robin provides instruction on what tools and methods are most effective for communicating and carrying out projects with others. For example, she might teach a class on a useful 3-D imaging tool or an app like Google Slides.

Apart from the major grant work, Robin applies for smaller grants to fund speaking opportunities, pay for maker spaces, and host events like Open Access Week, Discover Engineering, and STEM Day.

Uniting Art and Technology

As a kid, Robin always liked sorting and arranging things, which speaks to her interest in organization, meta data, and the semantic web. Art and technology seemed to be dueling interests, that is, until the Internet came to be. A campus workshop at UGA was formative: the students were given web space and a tutorial for building a website. After coding and uploading her first animated .gif, Robin was hooked.

For Robin, the web is the perfect marriage of art and technology. The Internet makes it possible for her to pull together her interests in organizing, writing, and art, and she continues to draw from the creative energy she first felt in college. The potential for using the Internet to do good is endless.

Robin uses her artistic side to think about problems in a different way. After she finds the opportunities, she uses her logical, technical side to put everything together. She’s able to organize the minutiae involved in carrying out a creative, big picture plan, making her an excellent problem solver. “The further technology evolves, the more the lines of art and science, and art and technology, blur and disappear.”

Networking with a Handle

Robin participates in events to share her expertise and get to know others. She’s participated in SoundBoard marketing conferences for the past two years, giving presentations on how to leverage metadata, and how big data impacts social media.

Robin uses her Twitter persona, @GeorgiaWebGurl, to engage others with consistent social media branding. Instead of passing out business cards, she makes sure everything she publishes is tagged and associated with her name.

She gets most of her interactions by tweeting back and forth, and her advice is to be persistent and dependable. If you aren’t using Twitter, give it a shot.

I like to engage online to facilitate networking. It may not just be a tweetup or discussion group. If you’re at a conference, ask what the hashtag is. If there isn’t one, create it, and get it going. Participate, use the tools, and be consistent. Be authentic, but no dirty laundry.