Connect with Information Scientists and Fellow Students Through the SJSU iSchool ASIS&T Student Chapter

iStudent Blog Student Groups

Published: March 23, 2017

Are you one of those lovely people who enrolled in a graduate program in library and information science because of the information science part? Would you like to get more involved in the SJSU School of Information community? Find your niche in the iSchool’s ASIS&T student chapter!

The Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) is a professional organization for information science professionals (and students like you!) looking to expand their knowledge, networks and professional horizons with webinars, conferences, publications and interest-based chapters of the bigger organization.

A Professional Group and Student Chapter for Information Scientists
Chapter chair Tamarack Hockin who joined the ASIS&T student chapter in the fall of 2015 says, “students who are interested in emerging technology, information research, digital services, curation and DAM may find that ASIS&T best aligns with their interests.” I’m not the digital services type, but I am keenly interested in the dissemination of news and misinformation and where people get their information. An ASIS&T event posted on the organization’s website March 31, 2017 entitled ‘The Role of Information Scholars and Professionals in Responding to Fake News, Misinformation and Propaganda,’ presented by Heidi Julien, looks particularly fascinating. Perhaps even non-digital services types, like me, should apply for membership. In addition to all the great webinars, members receive a subscription to the research journal, JASIS&T. “ASIS&T is quite research-focused, and the organization’s refereed journal, JASIS&T, has published, among many other seminal works, Marcia J. Bates’ ‘The Invisible Substrate of Information Science.’ ”

The SJSU School of Information’s ASIS&T chapter is an award-winner. “We have a tradition of excellence,” says faculty advisor and iSchool Director Dr. Sandra Hirsh. “The ASIS&T student chapter was awarded the Student Chapter of the Year award in both 2012 and 2015.” Hirsh has been involved with the professional organization for years now, starting with her days as a student. “ASIS&T became my professional home throughout my career – culminating in my serving as ASIS&T President in 2015!” Hirsh says. “I highly encourage students to get involved in ASIS&T.  It is a great place to make connections to luminaries in the field, to meet colleagues, and to learn the latest information science research and trends.”

If you’d like to test the waters and see if ASIS&T is right for you, then be sure to check back on the school events page and stayed tuned for the iSchool listserv notice for the end-of-semester gathering in May. The ASIS&T student chapter at the SJSU iSchool will be hosting a panel of alumni and former Executive Committee members who will talk about life after graduation. “Everyone is invited to join us,” says Hockin, “whether or not you hold a current ASIS&T membership, We’ll be raffling off a free ASIS&T student membership.” Oooh! I love door prizes…even if the ‘door’ is a virtual one.

Why You Should Join an iSchool Student Group
Why should you bother with student chapters, membership door prizes and professional associations? Because plain and simple, it will help you get a job. “Having a degree is really not enough if you want to stand out in your career,” says Hockin. “Getting involved (and that may be as little as holding an association membership, or as much as volunteering on a committee) shows that that you have professional interests.” In other words, if you’re going to be a professional, you need to have professional interests.  

“One of the best ways to build close connections with other students and to set yourself apart in the job market is to get actively involved in a student group,” says Hirsh.  ”Our school has many active student groups so you surely will be able to find one that matches your interests and passions.” Being part of a student chapter also means making this vast territory of virtual graduate school a lot more personal by meeting other iSchool students with similar library and information science interests.

How to Get Involved
Have we convinced you? Good. Now you’ll want to go to the ASIS&T student chapter website page about how to join and take a look at the details of membership. If you’d like to take your involvement to the next level, then become an executive board member. “We’ve had three new executive members join us this semester,” says Hockin and they’re recruiting for additional members to join for the current semester and beyond. ASIS&T student chapter events are free for everyone and if you’d like to take a peek at past events, you can go to their YouTube channel. There’s some great stuff there, like presentations by iSchool faculty and discussions by students and alumni about their internship experiences and their graduate studies. 

Student groups are a great way to get to know people beyond your course discussions, and to meet information professionals who can connect you with job opportunities. “Librarianship is a very big tent,” Hockin says, borrowing a perfect analogy from Andy Woodworth,”and joining an association both connects you widely and shows your niche.”