For Taylor Downing, writing has always been a passion. She remembers driving her grandmother crazy at family gatherings as she would run around with a clipboard and a piece of paper, listing people’s favourite foods and crafting short stories. Now as the new Communications Writer/Coordinator, Taylor gets to put that practice to good use while she runs around campus with a laptop and an iPhone, listing people’s latest projects and crafting our IST stories.
Since starting with IST Communications in October, Taylor has taken the lead on a wide range of communications and writing tasks. She prepares the weekly staff newsletter, conducts interviews, researches and writes articles, prepares and sends departmental emails, and assists with campus-wide campaigns such as USRIs or cybersecurity awareness.
“The most important part of my job is communicating the value of IST and IT across the university and showcasing the expertise of the people here,” says Taylor. “In the time I’ve been here, I’ve realized that IT is so much more than I thought. I never didn’t realized how integral an IT department is to the operation of a university.Computers, televisions, online classes, all of that is so imperative to students, and that wouldn’t exist without IST.”
Prior to joining IST, Taylor earned her Bachelor of Journalism degree from Carleton University and worked with CIMA+ as a Pursuits Coordinator on their Business Development team. In this role, she was responsible for coordinating the entire proposal process in order to procure engineering work, a fast-paced and high-stakes job.
“It was a fantastic opportunity,” Taylor recounts, “and it taught me a lot. I got to dabble in many different things — communications, marketing, business development — and made a lot of great connections. It was corporate engineering, it was an insanely busy environment every single day, there was a lot at stake… I’m glad I did that first and then came to the U of A.”