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Focus on working conditions and future careers

The temporary employees in academic positions contribute to the success and internationalization of the institution, both in academia and industry. I want to represent them as an important part of the university.

Lucia Castro Herrera

Department of information systems

Why do you run for office?

- I want to represent the temporary employees as members of the university who continuously contribute to the success and internationalization of the institution both in academia and industry. In addition, I relate to the importance of work-life balance and a structured approach to our daily lives as researchers.

- I decided to run for the University Board after a conversation with some colleagues about the future after our positions end, the next steps we could take, and the challenges we face. The uncertainty and temporary nature of our jobs is distinctive from the experience of other employees and students. As an international student, immigrant, and a mother, I can relate to most of the challenges and opportunities that temporary employees face such as limited time, uncertainty and difficulty to balance research and family life.

- Therefore, using my diverse skills and knowledge of Norwegian language, it would be an honour for me to represent the temporary employees at the University Board for this period and work to improve communication, opportunities, and working conditions so that we are ready to face the job market and represent the University as we move forward in our careers.

What are the 3 most important issues you will front for if you are elected?

  1. Career development: Whether in industry or academia, we are shaping our careers during our time at UiA. We contribute to the future representation and image of the University in the positions we take after our contracts end. Therefore, we need to develop the skills we need to compete in the job market. I want to advocate for these by reminding the board the importance of our role for the continuous growth and internationalization of the University.
  2. Working conditions: It is no secret that we are currently working under unprecedent circumstances, and while the university has done a good job in responding to the situation, there is more to be done. While we have adjusted our tasks and expectations to the situation, it remains challenging to perform optimally under the circumstances. We still feel the pressure of finishing our duties on-time, unmet expectations, work-life balance, and isolation. I want to ensure our concerns are listened to and that we come to good solutions so that we get the most of our time in UiA.
  3. Co-creation and communication: Temporary employees can play a more active role that gives us opportunities to expand our research and networking opportunities and take advantage of the available resources that sometimes go unused. Co-creation is one of the values of the university. I believe that temporary employees are often overlooked for these and other opportunities for growth. I would like to improve communication lines both in English and Norwegian so that we do not miss out on opportunities and information.

What characters/competence do you possess that will tell your colleagues to vote for you?

- I currently serve as the student representative for the department of information systems. As a result, I’ve become familiar with the routines and procedures that govern the PhD program and the University.  I work closely with my colleagues and make sure the lines of communication are open and that PhDs and Postdocs get the support needed to fulfil their research. I would like to continue this practice at a university level. I am an emergency manager by profession and my ability to remain calm and quickly assess situations. In addition, my international and Norwegian experiences can serve as an advantage in addressing the needs of temporary employees during and after our time at UiA. Moreover, I count with multitasking and attention to detail skills that can be useful during this Board term.

Some facts about you:

Education:

  • 2019 – Present         Ph.D. Candidate in Information Systems – University of Agder, Kristiansand, Norway

-        Research area: Social media listening practices in the context of crisis management.

  • 2012-2014 MSc. Engineering Management – The George Washington University, Washington, DC USA

-        Area of focus: Crisis, emergency, and risk management

  • 2002- 2007 BA in Government and International Relations – Universidad Externado de Colombia, Bogotá, Colombia

-        Thesis: Human Smuggling: “World’s Responsibility” – A study of human smuggling routes and trends from and to Colombia.

Work experience:

  • 2015 – 2017 – Public Affairs Specialist – Multilingual Mobile and Social Content Specialist – Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – Office of External Affairs – Washington, DC, USA
  • 2015 – 2017 – Teaching Assistant for GIS for Public Health – The George Washington University – Washington, DC, USA
  • 2014 – 2015 - Operations Center Analyst - G4S – Fannie Mae – Washington, DC, USA
  • 2012 – 2014 Information Services Coordinator – International Monetary Fund – Technology and General Services Department – Washington, DC, USA
  • 2008 – 2012 – Staff Assistant – International Monetary Fund – Western Hemisphere Department – Washington, DC, USA

Board experience:

  • 2020 – 2021 – PhD representative at the Institute for Information Systems – University of Agder.

See Lucia Castro Herrera’s profile page here.