Workplace opportunity opens doors for Advertising and Digital Marketing student

Date 29.11.2022

One University of Northampton (UON) student has been making her voice heard in a mission to make the world a better place for diversity and inclusion – starting with her workplace whilst on placement.

After securing a one-year work placement at Oracle as a Creative Campaign Support intern for their Strategic Sales Communications Team, Advertising and Digital Marketing student, Chelsea Smart, has been using her personal experiences to steer the company’s diversity and inclusion towards a brighter future.

With a hearing impairment herself, Chelsea has jumped onboard Oracle’s Diverse Abilities Network to advocate for deaf awareness by attending Diversity and Inclusive events to suggest better ways of improving inclusion, leading interactive lessons in British Sign Language (BSL) to teams across the company, as well as designing infographics aimed at raising awareness of how to support those who have hearing impairments.

Chelsea explains: “In 2019, I was diagnosed with a rare disease known as Cholesteatoma. This condition caused my eardrum and inner ear structure to erode, which was resolved after having surgery to reconstruct the area affected with cartilage. As a result of this, I am hard of hearing, and I wear a hearing aid on a daily basis to support me.

“At first, this was something that I found really difficult to accept as I feared I would be judged and restricted with opportunities. There were times when I avoided wearing my hearing aid as I was reluctant to accept it, however I have learned the more I accept my disability and talk openly about it, the more others are able to support me and help to make me feel more included.”

Instead of restricting her opportunities, Chelsea’s hearing impairment has opened the doors at Oracle to reflect on her personal experiences and knowledge to make a valuable impact within the workplace for current and future team members.

On her placement, Chelsea said: “Throughout my time so far at Oracle, I’ve managed to run several BSL teaching sessions with team members from across the organisation – and I’m looking forward growing these.

“In each, we each took the time to learn the basic BSL such as the alphabet, and gave each other sign names, colours, and a few other random words that we were curious about! These have been so much fun, and as someone who has hearing difficulties myself and wears a hearing aid, it was lovely to see the effort that others are willing to through in order to help ensure that others in the deaf community feel included.

“Presenting in person and in front of a crowd is something I struggle with and yet I am so proud of myself for managing to overcome my fears with the support of my inclusive and supportive team.”

Screenshot of Skype Video members using British Sign Language

Chelsea’s internship and undergraduate studies at the University of Northampton (UON) are just the latest of steps she’s taken to achieve her dream career: “There have been many times in my life where my health and personal circumstances have been barriers to me, stopping me from achieving what I want to achieve, and I never thought that I would ever be the women I am today.

“From studying business for three years to successfully joining university and landing myself a year in industry placement – I am finally happy with where my life is heading, and I am incredibly grateful to both UON and Oracle for the endless opportunities and experiences I will take part in during my time here.”

Chelsea continues her internship as she prepares for her third year of study at the University of Northampton, working to graduate in November 2024.

Find out more about studying Advertising and Digital Marketing at the University of Northampton.