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Happenstance and winding roads

By Heidi Wicks

From private practice to Student Affairs and Services to Human Resources, Amy Butt's relationship with Memorial has been wavy. But growth, evolution, twists and turns often form very strong bonds.

Her graduation from the master of employment relations (MER) program this May marks somewhat of a full circle experience.

After graduating with a B.Sc. from Memorial in 2001, she continued on to the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College (CMCC), where she earned her doctor of chiropractic in 2005, joining a practice in Newmarket, Ont., shortly after.

But two years later she caught the classic Newfoundland and Labrador bug – homesickness. Her practice earned a "sold" sign and she earned a plane ticket home.

Coincidentally, the position of co-ordinator of Allied Health Services in Human Kinetics and Recreation (HKR) became available. In the role, she saw administration and management in a new light.

"I was thrilled to be working at MUN," said Ms. Butt. "I wanted to continue working here, so decided to pursue a master's degree to enhance my management and administrative skills. I was accepted into the MER program in January 2009, which seemed to be the perfect blend of arts and business courses, and completed it in December 2011."

As fate would have it, another position happened to become available around the same time. Ms. Butt received a contractual position with Human Resources (HR) as an HR adviser.

"It presented a great opportunity to utilize and enhance the employment and labour relations skills and knowledge acquired through the MER program," she said.

But while completing her degree, she was working in a contractual position with Student Success Programs as manager of Answers. A role that has now become permanent, and which Ms. Butt will return to on May 14.

"Even though my time with HR was short, I believe I've learned a lot about various units and departments at Memorial and about employment relations and organizational development that will serve me well at Answers."

While she loved every course in the program, one that stands out is her work with Dr. Kate Dupre.

"She was my supervisor for my major research project, which focused on employee socialization, feelings of love and passion for one's job and how it is related to turnover, engagement and well-being," she said. "Dr. Dupre was a great mentor and encouraged me to push myself with that project. It was challenging, but it's something I'm extremely proud of. It wouldn't have been possible without her guidance and support."

Ms. Butt feels that her winding path is one of the amazing things about working at Memorial.

"There are lots of great opportunities for employees to broaden their skill sets and develop organizational knowledge. I love working with the amazingly talented folks here at Memorial."