August 28, 2023

A New Chapter: Reflections on 12 Years With the DML Hub and Connected Learning Lab

Categories: Connected Learning, Featured

From the moment I joined the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub over 12 years ago, I knew I had found a special place that perfectly melded my education, professional experience, and values. The camaraderie, shared passion for our work, and unwavering support from each and every one of you that I have met along the way have made my journey here truly remarkable. It’s never easy to bid farewell to a team that has become like a second family, but I am reminded that life’s journey is a series of chapters, and it’s time for me to turn the page to the next one.

Today, I am sitting down to write a blog post that is both exciting and tinged with sadness. After much contemplation and consideration, I will be leaving my position as Senior Research Manager with the Connected Learning Lab at UC Irvine at the end of the month. This decision has not been an easy one, as I have truly loved my time here and the experiences I have been a part of.

Throughout my time at the DML Hub/Connected Learning Lab, I have had the privilege of working alongside some of the most dedicated and talented individuals in academia. There were moments where I had to pinch myself because I was sitting in the same room as some of the scholars I studied in undergrad and grad school! From the regular meetings of the Connected Learning Research Network in varied locales, to the Leveling Up/Affinity Online research team, to the CLRN Junior Scholars, to the Connected Courses and DML Commons organizers, to the many, many of you that I have met at the DML Conference and the Connected Learning Summit, to the local Orange County informal STEM learning organizations, to the far flung library staff I have worked with, my life has been forever enriched by knowing and learning from you all. The list would be too long (and undoubtedly would make me cry) to name all the wonderful people I’ve worked with over the past 12 years, but I will make a special call out to Mimi Ito, our fearless leader, who has put so much trust and faith in me and mentored me through so many experiences. The memories we’ve created, the challenges we’ve overcome, and the victories we’ve celebrated will forever hold a special place in my heart.

I am happy to share that I will be joining Digital Promise as their new Research and Evaluation Manager of Educator Community Partnerships, and I am excited to join such a wonderful organization and team that shares the same values as the Connected Learning Lab. As I take this next step, I want to express my sincere gratitude to each of you. Your guidance, mentorship, and collaboration have been instrumental in shaping me both professionally and personally. The knowledge and skills I’ve gained during my time here will undoubtedly be carried forward as I embark on this new chapter.

Though I am leaving my role at the Connected Learning Lab, this is not goodbye, but more like, “See you soon, in another capacity.” I look forward to staying in touch and continuing to be involved in the wider Connected Learning Alliance community. You can find me on LinkedIn, and soon, on the Digital Promise webpage! Wishing all of you continued success, growth, and happiness. Here’s to embracing change and welcoming new beginnings.

Blog post by Amanda Wortman