Team Illuminate looks to brighten job prospects

Mentorship opportunities part of plan to prepare students for the classroom 

Team Illuminate pictured (left to right): Jathorsan Lingarajan, Carla Namkung, Mackenzi Mellon.
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Team Illuminate hopes to engage students within CESA with more services and a more comprehensive ConEd experience.

For Mackenzi Mellon, Jathorsan Lingarajan, and Carla Namkung, ConEd ’20, the upcoming CESA election represents the next step their next step in student government.

Respectively running for vice-president internal, external, and president, each member of Illuminate hopes to brighten the future for ConEd students exiting the lecture hall and entering the classroom.

In an interview with The Journal, Illuminate discussed its vision for CESA.  

Focusing on student wellness, community outreach, and professional development, Illuminate hopes to kick-start a new generation of Con-Ed students by ensuring they’re more comfortable in a university setting.

“The thing with engagement is that you can’t force it on students. You can’t force anyone to come to CESA events, so if they’re paying fees [for CESA], it’s really important to me we run workshops and programs that serve them,” Namkung told The Journal.

Lingarajan, Namkung, and Mellon have all participated on CESA previously. Mellon and Lingarajan have both been first, second, and third-year reps to the Association while Namkung has been heavily involved as a society representative in the AMS since first year.

Having learned from their collective experience with CESA and the AMS, they know where they want change within the faculty.

“In our prof classes, we learn some information [about teaching], but it’s not applicable to the things we do in our actual placements. We felt that giving students avenues to enrich their skills in a professional context is really important,” Lingarajan told The Journal.

Aside from giving ConEd students more opportunities to learn professional, hands-on skills, the team said incoming students could benefit from mentorship opportunities—giving them insight into what they can expect throughout their undergrad.

“Going off of experience, I definitely didn’t have that. We barely had any guidance, especially from upper-year students” Mellon told The Journal.

Illuminate wants to change this and hopes to use its Buddy Picnic as the first step.

“The Buddy picnic is an event where an incoming student is matched with an upper year based on projected teachables and personal interests,” Mellon explained. “They’re given about a three-hour period to talk, bond, and build a relationship.”

If elected, Illuminate wants to convert the Buddy Picnic from a single event into an ongoing mentorship program. This shift would allow students to have more consistent relationships with their upper-year mentors and ease their transition into the university atmosphere.

The team is also looking to expand CESA’s community outreach. Though the Association is already involved with local organizations like the Sexual Assault Centre Kingston and Toy Mountain, the team ideally would like to get students involved.

“[We want to] take that great positive passion that ConEd is known for and help the community even more,” Lingarajan told The Journal. “As Queen’s students, we are benefited to study and live in Kingston, and we should be able to help the city out just as much as they help us out. Having that two-way relationship is very important for our team.”

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