Alumna and Former Student Assistant Values Connections Forged at the San José State University School of Information
“I use many of the skills that I learned during my time working with Dr. Bernier and my fellow student assistants in my current position. Including, running virtual meetings online and using project management tools to managing various projects through the committee work that I do. I also learned a lot about working collaboratively with people in different geographic areas.”
MLIS Graduate 2012
During her last year in law school, San José State University School of Information alumna Joy Rodriguez, MLIS ’12, worked as a student assistant in her school’s law library, where she fanned the flames of her interests in the organization of information and information accessibility. “Many of the librarians,” Rodriguez recalls, “were former practicing attorneys and told me that academic law librarianship was a solid alternative career to practicing law.” Although Rodriguez ultimately decided against law librarianship—opting to focus on information management instead at SJSU—this position was the first step on Rodriguez’s path toward getting her MLIS and making her mark in the LIS field.
After graduating in 2012, Rodriguez found work for Kaiser Permanente Libraries as a medical librarian. “I hadn’t considered a career in medical librarianship while I was in school,” says Rodriguez, “but while job hunting I came across a posting for temporary help at Kaiser Permanente.” Eventually Rodriguez was hired as a permanent employee and has been in this position for almost five years now. The skills she learned in SJSU’s MLIS program, in courses like INFO 204: Information Professions and INFO 210: Reference and Information Services, were crucial in securing this position for Rodriguez.
From Student Assistant to Medical Librarian
Working as a student assistant during her time here at the School of Information has also proven immensely helpful to Rodriguez in her career. Along with previous community profile subjects Jonathan P. Bell and Julie Whitehead, Rodriguez worked closely with Dr. Anthony Bernier and Dr. Jeremy Kemp on their IMLS grant-funded research project Making Space for Young Adults in Public Libraries: Establishing a Research Foundation. Says Rodriguez, “I was primarily responsible for managing the project including scheduling and facilitating virtual monthly group meetings, tracking our deadlines, and training and integrating new team members. I also assisted Dr. Bernier by performing word level editing of manuscripts for publication.” As if that weren’t enough, Rodriguez also helped coordinate three presentations that her and her fellow student assistants gave regarding their work on the project.
Today, Rodriguez still uses many of the skills she learned during her time working with Dr. Bernier and co. at the iSchool. She runs virtual meetings, uses project management tools and—due to the nature of her work with Kaiser Permanente—her abilities to work collaboratively with people from different geographic areas.
A Tight-Knit Group and an Expansive Future
One of the lasting positives Rodriguez received from the iSchool and her student assistantship is a close network of colleagues that she knew she could count on for support and camaraderie out in the field. “I developed close friendships with the other student assistants and Dr. Bernier,” Rodriguez says. “I still stay in contact with most of them and we get together in person when we happen to be in the same city for a conference or work meeting.” She continues, “It can be challenging to develop close connections in a completely online environment but working closely with others on a research project or getting involved in one of the student groups is a great way to network and develop long lasting friendships.”
For current students looking forward to their graduation in May, Rodriguez has some advice that she heeded herself. “I always say to be open to new things and pursue opportunities that come up, even if it’s not an area that you have considered in the past.” As for the future of her career, Rodriguez is looking to expand her knowledge of the medical librarianship field. “I’m interested in combining my legal background with my MLIS,” she says, “focusing around the issues of copyright and digital licensing.” Wherever her future in this field takes her, Rodriguez—with her network of friends and colleagues, as well as her vast array of skills accrued right here at the iSchool—feels prepared.