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CAEL Pathways Blog

Q&A With CAEL Staff: Lori Babyak

Lori Babyak is CAEL's digital marketing specialist. Her many duties include managing email marketing strategies, website content management, building and optimizing digital advertising campaigns, creating and editing marketing copy, planning and overseeing social media initiatives, organizing webinars, and evaluating the effectiveness of digital engagement. Babyak's more than 20 years of marketing and nonprofit experience include previous roles with Parkinson Place, CAN Community Health, and the Glasser Schoenbaum Human Services Center. 

lori headshot

Whats your favorite example of CAELs impact?
I think the research CAEL is doing right now to better understand the needs and challenges of adult learners is making a huge impact. Our most recent report, How They Pay, takes a deep dive into the experiences of adult learners as they try and finance their education. It gives a voice to adult learners and how their previous experiences with postsecondary financing help shape decisions on their current and future studies. The recommendations in the report for institutions and policymakers are helping to provide better support for adult learners in their pursuit of postsecondary education.

What drew you to CAEL?

My interest in CAEL stems from CAELs dedication to serving adult learners and the efforts we are making to create pathways for individuals to access and succeed in education and their careers. It took me six years to complete my degree while working two jobs. I had to stop out several times because I couldnt afford tuition fees. The work CAEL is doing through research and advocating for the recognition of prior learning makes me proud to be a part of this dedicated team!

If theres one piece of advice you could give adult learners and one piece of advice you could give to institutions/organizations committed to better serving them, what would it be?
My biggest advice for adult learners would be to stay flexible and adapt. Life can be unpredictable, so be open to adjusting your schedule and plans as needed. 

What gives you the most hope about the future of the adult learner ecosystem?
Im looking forward to seeing new tools developed for personalized learning. We all have different learning styles and as adaptive learning technologies are becoming more sophisticated, I hope that adult learners can receive a customized learning experience allowing education to be tailored to their individual needs and learning styles.

What is the last book/movie you read/watched?
The Midnight Library, by Matt Haig. One of the key lessons from the book is the importance of embracing the present moment and finding contentment with the choices we have made throughout our lives. There is no one perfect path in life, and every choice we make has its own set of consequences and opportunities.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?  
I love to go to second-hand stores and search for unique, vintage items. I worked for eight years at an antique store when I was younger, and I like to use my experience to hunt for hidden gems that may have been overlooked by others. 

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