After growing up in – and loving – Cranbrook, Joel Robison was keen to attend college in his hometown.
It helped that “the tuition at College of the Rockies was reasonable and I was able to work and pay for my education rather than relying on student loans,” he says.
Joel always had an interest in working with other people and wanted to turn his passion for helping others into a career. In 2003 he enrolled in the Human Service Worker program at the College. Upon graduation, he found employment in residential and community programs with individuals with developmental disabilities. Though he really enjoyed the work, he eventually began looking for career options that provided him with more regular hours.
Soon he found work as an unqualified Education Assistant and enjoyed the work so much he returned to College of the Rockies in 2008 for the Education Assistant program. As the program was available entirely online, Joel was able to continue working full-time while he completed the program. After graduating he found work in middle and high schools assisting students with learning disabilities.
During this time, Joel also started taking photos as a hobby. Eventually, the hobby led to taking on professional jobs as a photographer. For some time, Joel balanced his work as an Education Assistant with doing photography for magazines, musicians and others.
Before too long, Joel’s creative and unique photography style was noticed by some very important people at Coca-Cola. He was hired to moderate the soft drink maker’s Flickr community and then – about a year and a half later – he was offered the opportunity to travel with the FIFA World Cup Trophy around the world. Though it meant leaving his career in education, Joel took the opportunity and visited 90 different countries as photographer and the voice of social media.
Joel has thrived as a full-time freelance photographer ever since, working with international brands and artists, but he hasn’t forgotten what he learned at College of the Rockies. “The programs I took at the College taught me how to relate to other people and work with them no matter their background,” he states. “I’ve been teaching photography classes as well and my education background has definitely helped me find ways to teach and connect with people and their individual learning styles.”