Student Tina Jagerson says a new SJSU iSchool elective focused on technology forecasting introduced her to a range of new career opportunities in the information field.
Jagerson enrolled in LIBR 281 The Emerging Future: Technology Issues and Trends in spring 2014 – the first semester it was offered. Taught by Dr. Sue Alman, the course covers emerging technologies as well as methods for forecasting or futuring.
“Library futurists take the information they gather and apply it to emerging technologies and see what they can foresee for the future of the profession,” Jagerson said. “Then we can adjust things and hopefully have positive outcomes.”
One of the most eye-opening assignments for Jagerson involved researching job postings for futurists. “I had almost two pages of a spreadsheet filled with jobs that had futuring aspects,” she said. “While we were taking the class, Hershey advertised for a chocolate futurist. Google, Yahoo, all those companies employ futurists as well. But it can be anyone from the mom-and-pop stores to big corporations.”
Jagerson found several library positions that involved forecasting, or with qualifications that included being able to think strategically about the future. In fact, she said the Denver Public Library, where she volunteers, posted a futurist-type position that had forecasting in the qualifications and job duties.
Another influential assignment involved a list Alman provided of online resources about futuring, forecasting, and emerging technologies. Each week, students had to monitor some of those sites and then report on new developments they learned about. According to Jagerson, the assignment helped her learn about many resources and technologies. “I’m still following many of the sites just because they’re so interesting,” she said.
Through the Emerging Future course, Jagerson got involved with the iSchool’s new Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) titled “The Emerging Future: Technology Issues and Trends MOOC” that Alman and lecturer Jen Jumba taught in fall 2014. The iSchool’s MOOCs offer not-for-credit, free professional development opportunities for working information professionals.
Jagerson was part of a team of iSchool students who helped develop the MOOC over summer 2014. Her efforts included writing a best practices guide for the MOOC volunteers and participants. She also developed content for Module 3: Think Like a Futurist and Module 5: Cybersecurity and Big Data. Then Jagerson managed the social media for the MOOC while it was in progress. “So the Emerging Future course has been a stepping stone and helped me go in directions I’d never even imagined before,” she said.
After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications with an English minor from the University of California-Los Angeles, Jagerson went on to earn her law degree from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas Boyd School of Law. Just out of law school and studying for the bar exam, she took a part-time job at the San Diego Law Library. After about six months, she was hired on full time.
“I liked it so much because it was kind of a combination of the legal side without the stress of billing hours and all that, and it just seemed the perfect fit,” Jagerson said. “Everything about it really appealed to me, so I ended up not pursuing being an attorney anymore and stayed there.”
Jagerson worked at the San Diego Law Library for four years, managing a branch for the last two years. While there, she learned about SJSU’s fully online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program through other librarians. She expects to graduate in May 2015.
Because of her experience as a branch manager, Jagerson started out choosing many of her electives from the school’s Leadership and Management career pathway. As she’s moved through the MLIS program, she’s also selected electives from the school’s Emerging Technologies pathway.
Jagerson and her husband will move in December 2014 to Washington, D.C., where she will start an internship at either FBI headquarters or its training center in Quantico, Virginia. She hopes to parlay that experience into an intelligence analyst position with the Bureau.
But if that doesn’t happen, “there are lots of libraries out there,” she said. “I would love to work for a federal government library. I’ve always been drawn to public service positions and organizations, and would love to be a part of the federal government so I could have the opportunity to contribute on a national level.”
Favorite Things about the MLIS Program
“I love the fact that it’s such a highly respected school. And they have such a great diversity of highly qualified professors. You get a lot of benefit out of the classes. I like the fact that they try to make it the best experience they can for you.”
“Alman continues to be a big influence/mentor for me; she’s amazing. I’m taking a class right now with Dr. Michelle Chen – LIBR 246 Big Data Analytics and Management. I got interested in big data in Sue’s class, and this goes way beyond that. Chen presents the information in a way you can understand even when you’re not a computer scientist.
“And Dr. Marc Lampson, who taught the LIBR 220 Legal Resources course, helped me out a lot in getting the internship with the FBI. Without him, I never would have gotten it. He wrote me a letter of recommendation, which I’m sure put me over the top.”
“Volunteering is extremely important, because it says you’re out there and you get real-world experience. And an internship, even a virtual internship, is always good to have on your resume. Virtual internships are global and open you up to a much broader experience, network, and interactions, as you’re exposed to new and different opportunities beyond your immediate circle.”
“What’s so great about online classes is that you get experience with online presentations and communications. With technology, you just have to try to stay on top of things, even if you don’t use it hands-on but just know about it and try to understand it so you can talk about it with others and learn from it.”