This summer, ARTA welcomed a new summer student to work with the Member Services team, gaining real-world work experience, all while earning money to help fund their next school year.

Janessa Borrelli has been studying to become a speech language pathology assistant, a two-year diploma program at MacEwan University in Edmonton. Before she returns to school in September, we sat down with her to ask her about her four months at ARTA, and how it has changed her perspective on her own career path.

What drew you to study Speech Language Pathology?

I’ve always wanted to work in a hospital environment. I’ve spent a lot of time in different hospitals throughout my life, not for myself, but with family. I’ve always appreciated the work that gets done there, but I didn’t know how I wanted to fit in to that environment. When my uncle had a stroke and lost a lot of his speech, I saw what he was going through and what went into helping him, I thought speech language pathology would be a good path to take. But now I’m finding that most jobs for speech language pathologists are found in schools, so I’m re-thinking my path.

What does your role entail at ARTA?

When inquiries and applications come in, I make sure they get properly sorted so the right person can handle them. I also send off welcome packages and benefit information to new members, or for those who are renewing their membership. So I don’t interact with a lot of members directly, but I have a hand in getting them set up, and making sure they’re being looked after.

And how has your experience been with ARTA?

It’s been so good, ARTA is a great organization to work for. I would recommend it to anyone — everyone is so nice and so professional. I didn’t have a lot of experience in administration or knowledge of benefit plans before I got here, and it seemed like a lot to learn at first. But everyone has been so patient and helpful.

I’ve mainly worked in retail spaces before this, which can feel a little casual. But being at ARTA, it’s shown me that I want to work in a space where I’m surrounded by fellow professionals, all working together and collaborating to reach a common goal. I would love to come back next summer, if I could.

What comes next for you?

I’m looking at my goal of working in a hospital from a new perspective, and right now I’m drawn to the MRI Technologist program at NAIT. It would require a bit of upgrading to get my transcripts in order, taking classes like physics, but it would get me closer to that goal, and I would end up in the kind of work culture and environment that I want, similar to the one I’ve come to love over the summer here at ARTA.