When Edward Nkole came to Queen’s from Zambia in 2006 to pursue an undergraduate degree in Economics and Global Development Studies, he had no idea the university would one day be his employer. Once he had his degree in hand in 2010, Nkole returned to his home country, intent on finding a job.
“I thought I might start a Zambia branch of the Queen’s Alumni Association,” he recalls with a smile.
But soon after beginning the search for interesting work, he decided to widen his scope and look back to Canada for options. “That’s when the opportunity to work in Alumni Relations at Queen’s popped up,” he explains, “and I looked at the job posting and I thought, ‘this is something that I can do, and this is an environment I would love to work in!”
A chance to thrive in Alumni Relations
Nkole knew working at Queen’s would give him a chance to thrive. “It would give me a chance to engage with alumni and promote Queen’s, which is a university that has come to mean a lot to me. I grew a lot as a student here, and I think my experiences as a person were tremendously enriched by coming to Queen’s.”
"I looked at the job posting and I thought, ‘this is something that I can do, and this is an environment I would love to work in!”
Nkole started his new position in March 2011 with the Office of Advancement, working as an assistant, alumni relations where he supports a number of different units -- from providing financial and budget support, to overseeing all orders for alumni merchandise, and working on special projects around events like convocation, among others.
Promoting Queen's merchandise
Whether it’s diploma frames or Queen’s tartan products, Nkole says he is the “database of information.” “If alumni call inquiring about those products, I can provide the answers,” he explains. “I am involved in promoting those products.” He also undertakes research and development projects to determine what sorts of products alumni might want in the future.
While a student, Nkole was active in campus life, involved in everything from Residence Life, the International Centre and the International Students Ministry, to work at the Education Library and with Campus Security. “I may have over-extended myself,” he laughs, “but through that involvement I built a wonderful network and interacted with people from every part of the world.”
He says working at Queen’s allows him to continue that development, working closely with talented and supportive people that he says are committed to helping him grow. “It’s almost like a reproduction of the academic environment I was in,” he says. “You meet people who love what they do, and who are dedicated to it, and it places a demand on you - a challenge - to be your best.” I was enriched by my time here, and that’s why coming back to Kingston was not difficult,” he says.