28 June 2023 | Story Kate Poen | Photo Supplied
Kate Poen
Kate Poen is an Academic Adviser in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

The University of the Free State (UFS) is celebrating Youth Month by showcasing the positive influence of the institution on career development. As part of this initiative, we are sharing the stories of UFS alumni who are now working at the university.

Kate Poen, Academic Adviser in the Centre for Teaching and Learning, shares her UFS journey:


Q: Year of graduation from the UFS:

A: April 2018 and 2023.

Q: Qualification obtained from the UFS:

A: BSocSci Honours in Psychology and PGDip in Higher Education.

Q: Date of joining the UFS as a staff member:

A: I joined the UFS as a staff member in 2017.

Q: Initial job title and current job title:

A: My initial job was as a Teaching Assistant for UFS101 (now UFSS) under Transition Development and Success (TDS) and I am currently an Academic Adviser under Advising, Access, and Success (AAS) in the Centre for Teaching and Learning.

Q: How did the UFS prepare you for the professional world?

A: The UFS has taught me responsibility and accountability as a professional. It instilled in me the competence of lifelong learning, to consistently develop myself personally and professionally, as well as the ability to always innovate my skills, and not only be an individual able to compete on a national level, but globally in the higher education space as well.

Q: What are your thoughts on transitioning from a UFS alumnus to a staff member?

A: Transitioning from a UFS alumnus to a staff member has been interesting. Being a UFS alumnus in my experience opens the door to opportunities for growth and development, even with the challenges it does bring. It is a personal choice as to whether one sees and uses the opportunities. What it does provide one with is definitely an informed perspective of the staff experiences, especially support staff.

Q: Any additional comments about your experience?

A: I am grateful for the opportunities I’ve been afforded at the institution to not only grow as an individual, but also to make a difference and a little impact in the work that I do daily. Grateful for the relationships I was also able to establish with colleagues in different spaces on all three of our campuses.

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