Internship Experiences Confirm Career Path for Scholarship Recipient Jonathan Paulo

Community Profile
Jonathan Paulo

Jonathan Paulo, recipient of the 2009 San José State University School of Information H.W. Wilson Scholarship, dreamed of being a professional musician before setting his sights on a career in reference services at an academic library.

A career in library science was Paulo’s “Plan B,” after deciding that his dreams of rock ‘n roll success weren’t imminent. “In all honesty, the music thing was my dream, and I didn’t have another plan for awhile,” said Paulo, who plays guitar, piano, and drums and sings as a solo artist (

But as the years passed and financial realities set in, Paulo began to consider other careers. He was particularly attracted to working in the academic world as a reference librarian because he thought it would be “creative and intellectually challenging.”

His internship and fellowship experiences confirmed his hunch. In spring 2009, Paulo interned as a reference librarian at Palomar College in San Marcos, CA., where he staffed the reference desk and contributed to various projects. He also had the opportunity to serve as the Information Literacy Program Teaching Fellow at California State University San Marcos, where he designed lesson plans, taught information literacy classes, and assessed instruction. The experience taught him that information literacy classes are a valuable way to establish a rapport with students who might otherwise be reluctant to ask for help.

“If you’re working on the reference desk, you’re dependent on students coming up to you with a question,” he said. “Teaching is a way to reach out to students who may not approach the reference desk, but still have questions about how to use library services.”

Paulo, who earned his undergrad degree in English from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA., also worked as an Elluminate Trainer for four SLIS courses.

The scholarship took some of the financial sting out of Paulo’s decision to give up his job at the Hilton Hotel in San Diego to focus on his internships and academic studies. “I will be a better librarian because of my dedication to the program,” said Paulo, who is hard at work maintaining his 4.0 GPA and expects to graduate in December 2009.

The iSchool H.W. Wilson Scholarship is awarded each year, recognizing MLIS students who show tremendous promise to lead the next generation of librarians. For more information regarding scholarships awarded by iSchool, including application forms and deadlines, see here.