As the administrative assistant in the Field Experiences office of the University of Lethbridge Faculty of Education, Kelly Vaselenak works to ensure the faculty’s education students have a positive experience during their practicum placements.

She is the students’ first point of contact with the office, where, as part of a team that includes program specialist Jaime Iwaasa and assistant dean Dr. Sharon Pelech, she enjoys assisting students as they prepare to venture into a real-world teaching experience.

Her responsibilities include arranging practicum placements for pre-Education students registered in the Education 2500 program. The practicum provides students the opportunity to explore the nature of teaching as they consider teaching as a career.

“In addition, I assist Professional Semester I and Professional Semester II students travelling to rural communities by providing forms and guidelines pertaining to carpools and expense claims, and also arrange accommodations,” says Kelly. “I manage practicum-related travel expense claims for both students and faculty, and also practicum recognition for teachers and administrators.”

Her role puts her in contact with teachers, school administrators, and school division administrators, another aspect of the job she relishes. But it’s the students she especially enjoys, and she missed the personal interaction with them when the COVID-19 pandemic took many aspects of university life online. “However, I did reach my goal of moving to a paper-free way of operating,” she notes.

Kelly was born and raised in Coaldale, along with four brothers and a sister. She graduated from Kate Andrews High School, where she encountered the question of what to pursue as a future career. “This was an easy decision for me to make since I wanted to follow in my mom’s footsteps to become a secretary.”

After high school, she was accepted into the Secretarial Arts program at Calgary’s Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. Upon completion of the program, she accepted a term position with the Coaldale Police Department, and then worked for the City of Lethbridge before her journey led her to the University of Lethbridge, where she began working in the Personnel Office on Sept. 6, 1986.

“I enjoyed my time in Personnel, which gave me the opportunity to meet many U of L employees,” says Kelly. “I worked in Personnel for four years before transferring to the Faculty of Education in October 1990, where I worked in the Language Arts Centre. A few years later, I transferred to the Field Experiences Office where I continue to work as an administrative assistant.”

Kelly is married and has one daughter and two sons. Her family also includes two dogs and one cat. “In my free time I enjoy walking the dogs, yard work, and my view from the deck. I once was an avid golfer before the kids were born. I hope to get out and swing the clubs this summer.”

When Kelly is at work, she enjoys spending time with her other family: her U of L family.

I absolutely love what I do and the people I work with. I’ve been fortunate to work with such a wonderful group the past 36 years, and that includes 11 assistant deans, a few interim. I couldn’t ask for a better job. I do enjoy the students a lot and they are always welcome at my desk.”

Writer: Dave Sulz | Photography: Rob Olson


More stories about our staff:
Faculty of Education profile, Jaime Iwaasa: Juggling the demands of career, studies, and family
Faculty of Education profiles, Kirsten Livingstone with Cheryl Lynch-Staunton: The CurrLab—a place with things you wouldn’t necessarily have in your school
Faculty of Education profiles, Scott Powell and Kevin Orr: Keeping up with technology and the evolution of education
Faculty of Education profile, Nicole Spence: Baseball, hockey, workouts, half-marathons, golf ... and Student Program Services
Faculty of Education Profile: Integrating a diverse artistic lens to a multi-task work world, Suzanne Atkinson (BFA 2000)

Learn more about the Faculty of Education:
Portfolio of stories (2019-present)
Legacy Magazine (2008-2019)