MLIS Graduate Finds Success Through a Network Cultivated at the iSchool

“There was such a large selection of courses available, and I would have taken more classes if I could have, for sure. I remember graduating and thinking, ‘Man, there are still so many classes I wish I could take.”

Laurentia “Lauren” Romaniuk
2014 MLIS Graduate
San Francisco, CA

iSchool graduate Lauren Romaniuk (’14 MLIS) knows it takes dedication, motivation and a little bit of being in the right place at the right time to succeed in the LIS field. For her, that meant being in the San Francisco area, right in the epicenter of Silicon Valley. “I’m actually Canadian,” Romaniuk says, “and part of the reason I wanted to go to San José State University was because I could make connections right here in Silicon Valley.” Since the North American Free Trade Agreement allows those with an MLIS to travel for work between Canada, the United States and Mexico, Romaniuk knew she had an opportunity to seize. “I had this great opportunity to work internationally,” she says, “and the place I wanted to be internationally was the Bay Area.” Throughout the program, Romaniuk could connect with students and faculty in the area, giving her a leg-up once she made her way down from the north.

After graduating from the School of Information, Romaniuk found work as a digital asset manager for Restoration Hardware, a luxury home furnishings company, then at the growing on-demand grocery delivery service company Instacart as a digital asset librarian for their data and catalogs. Her academic focuses on data and digital environments at SJSU helped prepare her for these roles. Says Romaniuk, “We’re taught as librarians to think very critically about data: how does it affect the user, who is going to access it, how do you retrieve it and how do you protect yourself so that you’re using content in a way that is ultimately positive?” This critical thinking is a skill that Romaniuk could bring to the table after her time at the iSchool. “I was able to sit down and look at our current strategy,” she says, “and make recommendations to improve how we leverage our assets.” 

As part of the School of Information’s video series MLIS Alumni at Work, which highlights iSchool graduates in their workplaces, Romaniuk shared with the community her experiences and responsibilities in her role at Instacart.

Since the recording of this video, Romaniuk has risen in her role at the Instacart organization, becoming the manager for their data and catalogs. “My goal now,” she says, “is to ensure that Instacart’s catalog content and product data is in ship-shape and leading in the grocery industry.” For Romaniuk, the professors at SJSU were invaluable to her comprehension and absorption of the skills she uses in her day to day. “They have lots of depth in industry,” she says, “and in public and academic settings. Conversations on the discussion boards and through emails focused on what it’s like to be out there in the field, which prepared us for that experience.” The network of students and alumni built into the program also factored heavily in Romaniuk’s fruitful gains from the program. “I genuinely think the biggest benefit is the alumni network,” she enthuses. “I have met people that went to SJSU and there’s just that connection right away.” The MLIS program being completely online only changes the way students connect. It doesn’t diminish the connection in the slightest. 

Prospective students, current students working towards their MLIS or alumni who have just graduated, Romaniuk urges you to seize that opportunity for connection that the school’s program affords you. “I have friends all over the globe of various talents thanks to SJSU,” she says. “Engage yourself with other students, say hello, make friends in those out-of-classroom hours over Skype or social media or whatever it is you’re using to communicate with peers. Cultivate those relationships. If you can do that, and if you can really get to know your professors, you are going to have a great experience.”

For more about life after the MLIS, check out recent community profiles and videos featuring Beth Atlas, Erin Berman, Elizabeth Borghi and Christopher Brown. Also visit the dedicated Life After the MLIS page to read about other alumni and what they’re doing in the LIS field.