Here at The Niche Movement, we provide a core group of contributing editors with a platform to inspire people with words, tips and real-world advice. These editors are the people who create new content for us to share with you. So that you can get to know them better and have context behind the content they are sharing, we've decided to introduce new editors with a Q&A post.
How does one go from studying art history and fashion to excelling at web design and social media for higher education? Meet one of our newest contributing editors, Alexandra Thelin Blackowski. In addition to her current role as a web content manager, Alexandra is also juggling being a mom and getting a PhD in History and Culture. Alexandra is all about finding the connection between one's degree, job and passions. Learn more about Alexandra in the Q&A below.
Alexandra is currently a PhD student in History and Culture at Drew University in Madison, New Jersey and has previously received an MA in Fashion and Textile Studies: History, Theory, Museum Practice from the Fashion Institute of Technology and an MA in Theatre with a concentration in Arts Management from Montclair State University. Her undergraduate degree is a BA in Fine Arts with a concentration in Art History.
As a fashion historian, she applies a multidisciplinary approach to her work. By applying theories from other disciplines, one is able to view material culture in a new light. As the Web Content Manager for the College of Education and Human Services at Montclair State University in Montclair, New Jersey, she creates content for both their web pages and social media platforms, closely following their mission to build a healthier, better educated and more just society.
Q: How did you end up where you are today?
My sister took a web design course the spring semester her senior year of college. She did well in it, and the professor asked if she was interested in a job working on the university’s website. My sister replied that she had a job after college, but that her younger sister (me!) was going to be a freshman in September. I ended up as a student assistant in that position, then per diem and then full-time. Now, I am the Web Content Manager in the College of Education and Human Services at the same university. That original job introduced me to the web for higher education.
Q: How different was your life one year ago?
Academically and professionally, things were the same. I was working on the same degree (a PhD in History & Culture) and held the same position one year ago. However, my husband David and I welcomed our son Matthew in July 2017. This past year has been filled with experiences as a new mom!
Q: What are you absolutely determined to do?
I’m absolutely determined to earn a PhD. I’m on the right track and doing well, but it’s something I have wanted to do for a long time. Working full-time and becoming a mother while enrolled in coursework is difficult, but I will succeed.
Q: Who inspires you to be better?
My family. I want to be a good role model for my son. I would like my husband to recognize the importance of my field, and I want my parents and sister to be proud of the work I am doing. And, I believe I have hit all of those markers.
Q: What would you tell your 18-year-old self?
“Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t." — Mark Twain.
No matter how much you plan for something, life can take you on some weird journeys. Just go with it. Each day is a new day, and everything will eventually sort itself out.
Q: Do you do anything outside of your “9-5” that you love? If so, why is that important?
In my free time, I love to knit. My mother has been knitting things for me my entire life, but I didn’t learn to knit from her until I was 20. I love finding a pattern, choosing the yarn, working on it and the feeling of satisfaction when it is completed. I believe working with your hands to create beautiful things is very important.
Q: Why are you becoming part of The Niche Movement community?
I’m becoming a member of The Niche Movement community since I love my job, my work, and want to share with others who may or may not be feeling the same way. By sharing life advice, we can cheer each other on and become a support system for personal growth. Although it may not seem as if certain fields are related, there are ways to make connections that fulfill both personal and professional interests,
Alexandra is no stranger to connecting the dots between what she loves and what she does. Stay tuned for more of what Alexandra has to say in upcoming posts on The Niche Movement blog.