iSchool Student Michelle Reeder Says Mentorship Was “Turning Point”

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“It was heady to realize how much we really do know as students and be able to pass that knowledge along,” Reeder said.

Soon after wrapping up her mentorship, she was accepted for an internship at the Ethnic Studies Library at the University of California, Berkeley, where she is working with the Native American Studies collection. Reeder had known for some time that she wanted an internship experience, but she didn’t muster the courage to apply until she served as a peer mentor.

Reeder, who earned her undergraduate degree in business from the University of Michigan, worked with computer mainframes as a systems engineer in her previous career. However, the INFO 203 mentorship and her iSchool courses have taught her entirely new technology skills, and one of the pleasant surprises has been how eager her colleagues have been to share their knowledge. For example, a member of the California Library Association spent two hours on Skype with Reeder giving her a tour of Second Life. Her fellow 203 mentors were always happy to help each other out, and they had iSchool faculty on hand as well to answer questions.

“All of the mentors had their own Blackboard space where we could ask each other questions. Instructor Debbie Faires monitored the site and was always there to help,” she said. “If we had a Second Life question, we could ask faculty member Jeremy Kemp. If we had a media question, we could ask Dale David. We had terrific support.”

Reeder and her fellow peer mentors each worked with 40 students in the 203 course. She “really had fun” working with the students, who not only sought out her advice regarding technical issues, but also had questions about what classes to take and how to adjust to the school’s distance learning environment.

“I really enjoyed feeling that I’d helped someone, or made them laugh,” she said.