“Reflecting on my testing experience, I recognized that the courses I had taken during the MARA program at the iSchool had prepared me with broad AND specific knowledge - keys to success on the [CRM] exam but also in working in the records and information management field in general.”
Lauren Aiko Kelly
MARA Graduate 2016
Multnomah County, OR
Despite a tendency to shy away from spotlights, MARA program alumna Lauren Aiko Kelly (MARA,’16) wanted to take this opportunity to share the benefits of her iSchool experience with a wider audience. Laughs Kelly, “I might normally say no to doing something like this because I’m attention-shy, but I’m happy to support the program and show the positive outcomes I’ve seen.” One of the most positive outcomes she’s seen, in addition to securing work as a records management analyst for Multnomah County, was her ability to quickly attain certification as a records manager using the work she had already completed for her extensive course work at the School of Information.
Fast-Track to Certification
Like Certified Records Analyst Ossie Thomas (MARA, '16) before her, Kelly took advantage of an agreement between the iSchool and the Institute of Certified Records Managers that allows MARA graduates to apply completed course work towards examination credit for parts of the exam, offering them a direct path to certification. As per SJSU’s official statement on the partnership’s intention:
"The purpose of the partnership agreement between SJSU's iSchool and the ICRM is to build a bridge between Records and Information Management (RIM) education provided by the MARA program in order to fast track graduates for ICRM certification. The joint strategic goal of both partners is to enhance the overall RIM profession by supplying educated and credentialed professionals to fill demand for jobs and to advance related careers." ("CRA and CRM Certifications," 2017)
The process to receive credit for these is a simple one you can learn more about right here. Recalls Kelly, “This opportunity was brought to my attention by Dr. Patricia Franks. She directly contacted recent graduates to let them know the new partnership would function retroactively for us.” This kind of care and attention paid toward graduated students is a large part of what endeared Kelly to SJSU’s School of Information. From there, Kelly went full-speed ahead into preparation mode. Although a mentor is recommended for practice and guidance, Kelly made the decision to forgo one and take the test early. “I made this decision,” Kelly notes, “after realizing that my entire three years in the MARA program had prepared me for business case analysis and professional writing. From this perspective, I already had three of the best mentors in iSchool faculty members Dr. Pat Franks, Dr. Lisa Daulby and Jason Kaltenbacher.”
Kelly’s decision paid off, of course, and she is now—ecstatically—a certified records manager.
Fast-Track to a Bright Future
Today, Kelly works for Multnomah County as a records management analyst, where her responsibilities are varied. “As a records management analyst,” explains Kelly, “I mostly manage records center operations and policy, provide records management and information governance consultation and training, and onboard customers to our Electronic Records and Document Management Systems (ERDMS).” The work is as rewarding as it is challenging and she sees herself working with the county for years to come. She is currently hard at work with fellow iSchool alumna Jenny Mundy (MLIS ’09) to help employ Multnomah County’s Record Management Program’s current strategic plan by developing county policy and frameworks for what information governance (IG) would look like at their organization.
While things are certainly moving quicker than ever in her professional life, Kelly couldn’t be more happy with the decisions she’s made that led her here. “After taking the test,” she reflects, “I was and am happy that I relied on my instincts to take the test right away. Reflecting on my testing experience I recognized that the courses I had taken during the MARA program at the iSchool had prepared me with broad AND specific knowledge - keys to success [not only] on the exam but also in working in the records and information management field in general.”
To learn more about the MARA program and CRA/CRM certification, you might want to read through some of our recent profiles on MARA graduates, especially that of Ossie Thomas, who took advantage of the same agreement Lauren Kelly did. And, coincidentally, who Kelly worked with during her and Thomas's first semester together here at the iSchool.