~ The Ginger Map Geek
Elizabeth McCready graduated from the University of Calgary with a B.A. in Social Anthropology and Geography, and a B.Sc. in Sciences from Lakehead University. Though she did summer work in geospatial and environmental fields (including forest regeneration surveying for the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources), she pursued her passion for helping others and spent almost two decades in special education. This included being a full-time self-employed adaptive technology specialist and academic coach from Fall 2012 until July, 2019.
Elizabeth got her start in IT while working as a computer lab tech support for the Faculty of Education’s computer lab at Lakehead U in the late 1990s – the era of Napster, MSN chat, and Netscape. She’s been creating her own personal and business websites ever since then. Also at Lakehead one year, she was the RezNet manager scheduling 12 techs during the busy back to school season.
In Toronto, in the summer of 1999 she worked as an B2B inside/outside sales rep and database admin for a Microsoft Courseware publisher start up. Her job duties included designing the MS Access database for all the American clients and prospects, and populating it from an MS Excel workbook.. After moving to Hamilton in 2005 she taught computers and upgrading courses using adaptive technology to adults with physical disabilities from workplace injuries. (There will likely be future a post on some of those experiences.)
“Retro” Tech and Geospatial University Studies:
Coursework at Lakehead and U Calgary included:
- ESRI’s ArcInfo on UNIX mainframes (see the screenshot below),
- ESRI’s ArcView on Windows XP
- Doing spatial analysis on an Apple IIe
- Learning Adobe Photoshop 5 and 5.5 in a “brand new” Windows 98 lab
- Learning some Fortran 77 on UNIX workstations
- Doing photogrammetry with stereo aerial photograph pairs and stereoscopes,
- Doing all her written assignments in WordPerfect on a 286 DOS PC (no graphical user interface – just amber text on a small black CRT screen).
Freelance SEO Web Content Writer
In 2010, Elizabeth freelanced part-time for Demand Studios and created SEO web content articles for e.How.com focusing on technology and travel (geography). A quote from her favourite article published on eHow.com – “Cheap Haunted Hotels” is below. She also picked up other freelance writing, SEO, editing, and research projects online. Becoming a part-time freelance non-fiction writer was a natural progression, given that one of her spec ed focuses was teaching students with dyslexia how to write.
If you are looking for something affordable and out of the ordinary for your next vacation and you enjoy history and are fascinated by ghost stories, try staying at a haunted hotel. You can save money by opting for self-catering, staying in a haunted jail cell, having breakfast included or staying in a group of four to 20 people.Elizabeth McCready eHow Contributor circa 2010
Running a Small Business Full-time
In 2012, Elizabeth moved her academic coaching practice to Toronto, expanded to offering adaptive technology services. The increased need by teens and their families for private academic support services, especially for mental health led her to stop freelance writing and editing so she could focus solely on those students
Frustrated at the lack of full-time programs to refer her students to she worked towards opening an alternative day program for girls with giftedness, dyslexia/dysgraphia, ADHD, anxiety and other mental health needs.
Creating and Managing all the Digital Marketing For That Business
Elizabeth designed the website, all the marketing materials, MailChimp newsletters, HootSuite social media management, and grew a professional Twitter account following of over 450 followers in under a year. The program opened and ran with a small class in 2018-2019. However, after almost two decades working independently in private practice with students with mental health needs, she was burnt out and needed a change that includes working as part of a team of adults, and a better work/life balance of not being a business owner.
Elizabeth is a dedicated volunteer with over 14,500 volunteer hours mostly with environmental & education organizations in special events, long-term positions, and serving on two nonprofit board of directors. She had the amazing honour of being a 2010 Olympic Torchbearer for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics for her volunteer and community service. She currently is a volunteer community manager and contributing writer and editor for GoGeomatics Canada. Excerpts of her articles published on GoGeomatics will be posted here on MapGeek.tech, with links to their pages on GoGeomatics.
The Present: Career Change into IT and Geospatial Tech
Elizabeth is currently changing careers into IT and geospatial. As a dual Canadian and New Zealand/Aotearora citizen who lived in NZ in grade school, she has chosen to take two concurrent programs online at Massey University in New Zealand – a postgrad in geospatial sciences, and an undergrad diploma in science and technology focusing on IT, web development, and data science. Elizabeth is looking forward to launching a challenging career in tech positions with a team of awesome people.