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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Capturing the Ontario Tech Ambassador Experience

March 22, 2024

By: Angela Karimzad

As a part of my Ambassador Level 4 Reflection Project, I wanted to share the experience of Tommy Michailidi, a newly trained Ambassador. In the following interview, Tommy shares why he joined the Ambassador Program and how he’s feeling so far. Let’s see what he has to say!

Tell me a little bit about yourself (name, year, program, hobbies, Ambassador level)

Tommy: My name is Tommy Dimitrois Michalidis. I’m in my first year of Computer Science and I am a level 1 Ambassador.

Why did you decide to join the Ambassador program? What inspired you?

Tommy: I was looking for opportunities to get involved, build peer-to-peer relationships, get to know faculty members and embrace the University culture. I read about the Ambassador program and how you can make new friends, and colleagues and add it to your Student Experience Record. I applied, trained, and from there I started working on volunteering. I’ve met new people and friends and I continue to look for more in the Ambassador program.

What have you been enjoying so far?

Tommy: Volunteering is a big part of my extracurriculars. I like helping in the community and talking. So, having all those things together was great for me in the Ambassador program. I’ve been to the Open House and  Ontario Universities Fair where I was able to talk to people about our school. I like that it gives me something to do besides constantly studying. Yasmin is pretty cool too!

What are you looking forward to?

Tommy: I’m a level one Ambassador now. I’m looking forward to moving onto higher levels, continuing the volunteer work, having the position on my Student Experience Record and making connections. It has already opened doors for me, as I was asked to join the Registrar’s Office as a paid tour guide and I’ve been enjoying the position.

Has the Ambassador Program been easy to manage on top of your school work?

Tommy: I think so. The Ambassador portal shows you events [you can get involved in] and gives you flexibility. The 15-point requirement isn’t too much. I’ve noticed many events give you 5-7 points. Plus you can spread out the events you volunteer for throughout the school year. But I got them all done immediately by volunteering for the Ontario Universities’ Fair and Open House a week later.

Do you have any future goals in the Ambassador program?

Tommy: Potentially working towards level 4. I at least want to get to level 3 for sure. Within the school community, I’m looking for what other opportunities will open up.

How do you plan to implement what you’ve learned so far during your time at Ontario Tech?

Tommy: I’ve made social connections and learned how to make new friends. I’ve definitely learned a lot of social skills but I look forward to demonstrating and using them in the real world and again to enhance my time here.

Has anything surprised you about the Ambassador program? Is it what you thought it would be like?

Tommy: I think it’s what I thought it’d be like. Even more actually. Like when I went to the  Ontario Universities Fair, I knew this was voluntary but didn’t expect to get an honorarium for going down to Toronto. So it was a bonus. But it’s nothing out of the blue. It’s been relatively clear what I signed up for.

What do you hope to learn from being an Ambassador?

Tommy: Since I’m in Level 1, I’m relatively new. I’d like to continue developing my networking and social skills, making connections that I can use during my years here and also to enhance my time here so I have people to lean on.

So far, would you recommend the program to other students and who would it be most beneficial to?

Tommy: I would recommend it to all first-year students. But even to 2nd, 3rd and 4th year students get your foot in the door when you can. I was on a webinar to help recruit Grade 12 students so they can meet current students. When I offer a piece of advice to them, it’s to get involved. You can get bogged down a lot by studying and need something to look forward to. This can allow you to help with events, meet people and embrace school culture.

Thank you so much for sitting down to do this interview with me, Tommy! I learned a lot and wish you all the best!

While interviewing Tommy, it reminded me of when I was in his position. I wanted to find ways to network and make friends as well and I think the Ambassador program is perfect for that. I strongly believe that joining the Ambassador program during my first semester at Ontario Tech was a smart move. It helped me learn how to build those connections early and start developing my leadership skills. It also helped me learn more about what Ontario Tech has to offer and helped me build that connection with the University. If you are considering joining the Ambassador program, I highly recommend it. Trust me, you won’t regret it!