Photo of Natalia Aguillon

Natalia Aguillon certainly made the most of her time studying at Fanshawe. A native of Colombia, Aguillon moved to London in 2008 before enrolling in Fanshawe's Interactive Media Design and Production program a few years later.

She showed promise early in her studies, demonstrating excellent graphic design and creative skills in developing a mobile application to help her fellow students, giving them an overview of all online services offered by the College as well as a map to guide them around campus. In 2012, she presented the app at Fanshawe's first annual Student Research and Innovation Day and at Canada 3.0, a gathering of industry leaders, researchers and students to discuss digital media in Canada.

It was an impressive start that brought her to the attention of Rob Haaf, coordinator of Fanshawe's Interactive Media Design and Production program. Haaf recognized Aguillon's potential and hired her for what would be the first of two summer placements working on program-related web-based projects.

Buoyed by her early successes, Aguillon enjoyed an even more impressive second year of study. That's when she began working on applied research projects undertaken by Reactr, a team of faculty, staff and students from Fanshawe's interactive media cluster working on real-world industry projects.

Aguillon says the project that brings her the most satisfaction is RezGuide, a suite of web- and mobile-based tools designed to help staff and students at the College's residences. She started developing RezGuide during her second year, intending it to be her capstone thesis project as a student in the Interactive Media Design program, but plans changed when the College posted a full-time job as the Interactive Media Technician and Project Manager for Reactr. “She was the obvious choice for the role,” says Haaf.

Aguillon assumed the role in the fall of 2014 after graduation, electing to pursue further education on a part-time basis. Her responsibilities include overseeing all active projects within Reactr and working directly with student teams on projects ranging from Web portals to smartphone and tablet applications.

One of those projects is RezGuide. Under Aguillon's leadership, a team of designers and developers have made rapid progress on the complex project, presenting it at both internal and external conferences including the 2014 World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare and Higher Education held in New Orleans. The Reactr team is expecting to launch a beta version during the upcoming fall semester.

Haaf says Aguillon is vital to Reactr's ongoing success. “Her creative ideas and talents, her ability to coordinate projects of any size, her desire and willingness to take on new challenges and opportunities have very rapidly made her indispensable to the future growth of the Reactr initiative at Fanshawe.”

Aguillon enjoys her job because she appreciates the incredible value of having students work on real client projects. “I know from my experience of working as a student, and now working with students, that doing research projects with real clients not only enhances our programs and the performance of students, but it also gives them the opportunity to make connections and in many cases get a job in the industry before even graduating from school,” she says.