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ActionNB student spotlight: Meet the students developing IDEA action plans for the public sector

Author: Olivia Hamilton, Diego Molina, Bea Rivera and Alex Tran

Posted on Mar 11, 2024

Category: DataNB

In summer 2023, NB-IRDT welcomed ActionNB – a student research stream led by Future GNB – to its Pathways to Professions experiential learning program.

Under the supervision of the Government of New Brunswick’s (GNB) Finance and Treasury Board, the ActionNB team focused on identifying Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility (IDEA) best practices and developing them into action plans for people leaders within GNB.

To gain a better understanding of the current IDEA practices at GNB and their effects on employees, the student team analyzed the 2022 GNB Employee Experience Survey with an IDEA lens and focused on employee responses to two main survey statements:

  1. I am comfortable expressing my identity at work (i.e., physical, cultural, spiritual, emotional self).
  2. In my department or agency, I see strong leadership support for diversity and inclusion.

Through survey results, ActionNB identified key areas of improvement and transformed these data into 11 action items tailored to GNB leaders.

ActionNB aims to empower people leaders to improve their IDEA practices, thus fostering a workplace culture where every employee feels valued, respected and empowered to thrive professionally. When GNB people leaders actively engage in IDEA, they improve their employees’ experience and therefore provide better services to New Brunswickers, ultimately contributing to a more inclusive society.

Learn more: ActionNB Project Summary or viewing the team’s infographic.

Meet the 2023 ActionNB Student Team

Olivia Hamilton is in her final semester of a bachelor of philosophy in interdisciplinary leadership with a minor in biology at the University of New Brunswick. Her experience at Renaissance College, the university’s leadership faculty, has inspired her interest in the link between research, communications and community impact. Olivia enjoys exploring the art scene in Fredericton in her free time, as well as taking walks along the Wolastoq or Baie de Chaleur when in her hometown of Bathurst. This was Olivia’s second year with Pathways to Professions.

Diego Molina is a third-year student currently pursuing a bachelor of arts in political science, philosophy, and economics (PPE) with a minor in French studies at Mount Allison University. He would like to go to law school after finishing his undergraduate degree and pursue corporate law down the line. Diego is an international student from El Salvador, and when he is not doing work, you will find him trying to hang a hammock at a park or playing the guitar.

Bea Rivera completed her bachelor of medical laboratory science degree with a minor in anthropology from UNB this past spring (2023). She is passionate about addressing systemic gaps and working towards improving the lives and experiences of individuals and enjoyed the opportunity to do so with the ActionNB project this past summer. When Bea is not working, you can find her spending time with friends and family, reading a book or playing with her dog, Bo.

Alex Tran, a marketing analyst in the making, graduated from NBCC in 2023. With over three years of experience, their work is a fusion of creativity and strategy. Following their philosophy of "Practice makes progress," they seek to gain more analytical experience before returning to complete their bachelor's degree in marketing at UNB. An art enthusiast at heart, Alex's passion for creativity fuels their innovative approach to work, setting them apart in the field.

What is Pathways to Professions?

Each summer, NB-IRDT hosts student research teams as part of its  Pathways to Professions (P2P) experiential learning program. For 13 weeks, these students work on projects relevant to New Brunswick while attending a full curriculum of professional skills workshops.

In 2023, NB-IRDT embarked on its second year of partnership with the Government of New Brunswick's Future GNB / Avenir GNB program and launched a new partnership with Ignite to host students working on government and industry research projects. Now that the 2023 program has ended, we are excited to share our students’ projects and their findings.