Ask Me Anything with Dr. Sandy Hirsh

iStudent Blog

Published: June 18, 2020 by Havilah Joy-Steinman Bakken

Dr. Sandy Hirsh hosted one of her final Ask Me Anything sessions before she transitioned to her new position as associate dean for academics in the SJSU College of Professional and Global Education. Hirsh served in the role of Director of the iSchool for over ten years and you can read more about her excellent service and leadership here. I had the opportunity to attend the session and have chosen a few questions to highlight for you all below (click here to view the recording). As new safety measures with Zoom are implemented, check your email for the recording password. The subject line of the email is “[Event] Recording of Director’s “Ask Me Anything” Session”

I am new to the LIS field and have no experience. How can I prepare for my job search?

Consider doing an internship after you’ve completed 19 units. Because of COVID, a lot of the in-person internships are being shifted into virtual opportunities. But hopefully, by Fall or Spring, they’ll be able to be completed in person again.

Additionally, get involved with a professional association. There are opportunities to be involved in a student chapter of a professional association through the iSchool such as ALASC or ASIS&T student chapter by volunteering for a leadership role, or be involved at the national level. It’s important to note that all the national associations offer discounted membership rates for students.

Finally, keep in mind that you should be looking in areas where jobs are recruiting. The MLIS Skills Report is a great resource for that. Don’t be shy to reach out to Jill Klees, iSchool student and alumni career consultant.

Also, check out the Career Blog!

Can you share about the e-Portfolio requirement? Specifically, best practices for creating one especially if you are getting started halfway through the program. 

The e-Portfolio is completed in your last semester. Throughout the program, you should be saving all your assignments. You will use Canvas, a blog or a website to host the content on the e-Portfolio. You will use your assignments as evidence to address all of the competencies. You can look under electives, and find the e-Portfolio handbook. There’s also a student success planner which will help you lay out your classes.

Also, check out Dr. Linda Main’s e-Portfolio Blog

How can I find an internship related to the Informatics degree?

The Master of Science in Informatics has a capstone, but not an internship component. I suggest taking advantage of the complementary professional association membership the program provides to you to network and build connections with people in the area you’re interested in. You may also meet people that may have internship opportunities you’re interested in. I know this is difficult, but there’s still value in joining the local and national professional associations. You could also see if you can volunteer somewhere, and be proactive to see if an organization will offer you an internship.

Also, check out the projects featured on the Center for Information and Research Blog!

How do you see the jobs of LIS professionals changing? What skills do you believe we need to concentrate on to make ourselves more marketable as the industry changes?

It’s really hard to know how things will change. None of us have a crystal ball. Do continue to work hard at your studies and get actively involved in a professional association. You can distinguish yourself from other applicants by taking on a leadership role in a professional association. 

The leadership skills and soft skills LIS professionals and need won’t be changing at all because of a pandemic. I don’t necessarily think jobs will change, but perhaps the way those services are delivered will change. So the skills from the 100% online program enable you to be well versed in how to succeed in a remote, virtual environment! 

Check out iSchool Community Profiles to see what life is like for those in the field right now!


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