Alumna and Former Peer Mentor Megan Berru Lands Job in Medical Librarianship

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Berru was one of eight peer mentors for the fall 2008 term. Each mentor worked with 40 new students, helping their mentees adjust to a distance learning environment.

“The course helps new students become socialized to online life,” Berru said. “In person, there are non-verbal cues that help you communicate. You have to think a bit differently when communicating online.”

The required one-unit course covers the basics of Web 2.0 technology, from RSS feeds to Second Life to creating a blog. Berru was familiar with most of the applications discussed in the class, but as a peer mentor, she expanded her knowledge – including how to use Yahoo Pipes to consolidate RSS feeds into one stream.

While the technology discussions were helpful for Berru, even more valuable was the experience of designing instructional material, which included crafting flow charts and documents. Her fellow mentors and course instructor Debbie Faires worked closely together to help each other out, keeping up a “lively discussion” on their own course site and sharing ideas as they rolled out the inaugural 203 course.

Berru’s interest in librarianship was sparked while she earned her undergraduate degree in geography at the University of California, Los Angeles, working part-time in the school’s special collections department handling rare books and manuscripts. She graduated from iSchool in December 2008 and immediately landed a job as a librarian at Doctor Evidence, a Venice, Calif.-based company that prepares data-driven reports on medical treatment options.

Medical librarianship allows Berru to integrate her love of science into her career. She enjoys the intellectual challenge of her job, helping prepare research reports for consumers, physicians, and pharmaceutical companies. She also started a blog to share some of the gems she comes across in little-read medical journals like Leprosy Review.

“It all started when I saw this incredible picture of a necrotized pancreas – it looked like it had been burnt,” Berru said. “It was just so fascinating, and I thought other people in the world might want to see it…”