Today we had a chat with Sienna Stock, ONTransfer Service Manager
What’s your role at ONCAT?
ONTransfer Service Manager – in an ever-growing nutshell, I manage all the ONTransfer.ca related content, data, and services, collaborating with operational sector partners for transfer developments, assist students in navigating their transfer journeys, and providing supportive services representing our organization at applicable fairs, events, and conferences both virtually and in-person – does anyone remember those old things of the past?
What did you do before joining the organization? And what experience did you have with postsecondary transfer prior to working here?
Before joining ONCAT, I worked for 6 years at York University in varying transfer credit/admission related roles and supports. My transfer rap sheet includes every transfer related role that the York Transfer Credit office has to offer. from work study student, transitions assistant, transitions coordinator, to transfer credit assessor. My professional experience and personal transfer experience gives me an advantage to understand the postsecondary environment from both an institution and student perspective. In my current role, this advantage helps in bridging the gap while providing sector services that are transparent and collaborative for all stakeholders.
How does your work advance ONCAT’s mission to improve transfer students’ experiences in Ontario? And why does ONCAT’s mission resonate with you?
My work helps our organization's mission because we offer a service that is primarily focused on providing students with timely and transparent data that will directly impact their transfer applications. Our work provides students with the ability to self-identify which transfer credits they may be eligible for, educate themselves on the various transfer policies/requirements, and self-advocate during their transfer applications. Going through a transfer journey blind is overwhelming, so we give them the tools to feel confident in their decisions.
Additionally, our ONTransfer tool can assist sector partners across Ontario, allowing administrative staff to use our tools and services to support transfer students. Our work is focused on collaboration amongst the sector and breaking down the knowledge silos for all to benefit from.
Transfer students make up a relatively small amount of the Ontario postsecondary student population—approximately 6-9%. Why do you think postsecondary institutions should still focus on improving transfer student experiences?
I truly believe that institutions should focus on improving transfer student experiences because while small, the transfer student demographic can flourish! With each roadblock that exists for a transfer student, it keeps the 6-9% at a standstill. But if we open the transfer doors by creating pathways, aligning curriculum, sharing course syllabi, and enhancing course equivalencies, that percentage will no longer be described and a “relatively small amount”. I look forward to that time.
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned about postsecondary education—or student transfer—since starting your work at ONCAT?
The most interesting thing that I continue to learn about at ONCAT is that institutions are not alone. Coming from an operational and advising background, I am continually surprised that my previous wants and dreams within a transfer office are aligned with many of ONCAT’s transfer partners. I find comfort in knowing that we all are working towards the same goal for the betterment of the student and their transfer experience.
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
The most challenging part of my role is taking things slow. ONCAT has the advantage of seeing the sector from a birds-eye view, so we can see the peaks and valleys that make up our transfer landscape. I am passionate about raising up those valleys to make for a smooth terrain for students to travel across. This change takes time and patience, and while these two attributes sometimes don’t mix well with my passion for improving the student experience, but I am confident that the Ontario sector will make it happen working together.
If you could give any advice to yourself as a student, what would you say?
Grind it out, finish the diploma you started and streamline through a degree later. You may find a new passion along the way but focus on the underlying message from the teaching, as you will find in your life that they will stick with you and be more relevant in situations that you may realize right now.
Just for fun …
What’s your go-to restaurant or recipe?
Go-to-restaurant: Villa Medina (does mall food count as a restaurant?)
Recipe: I am attempting to perfect my macaron recipe. Any tips & tricks are always welcome!
What’s the first place you would want to travel to in a post-pandemic world?
Easy! THAILAND. But not like beaches of Thailand. Take me back to the streets to Bangkok, where the Pad-Thai is $1.25 and a foot massage kiosk on every corner.
Cats or dogs?
Neither. Can fish be an option? Or plants! Plants are the new pets, so I think we need to modify the question 😊
Any great books or movies you’ve enjoyed recently and want to recommend?
Any Simon Sinek books, TedTalks, interviews, podcasts, are always amazing. Here is the video that kick started my obsession, but his continued messaging is something that I truly try to replicate in my life and career. I think I even referenced this exact video in an interview once: https://youtu.be/R0xYCy2eft8
Our house is weirdly into Encanto at the moment. We follow a TikToker that shows us hidden imagery in certain scenes, and another who breaks down the psychology of each character. Also, who else could listen to Lin-Manual Miranda speak/sing all day?