MARA Student Vida Barone Shares Her Insight

iStudent Blog

Published: March 24, 2020 by Havilah Steinman

Wondering what current students of the Masters of Archives and Records Administration at San José State University’s iSchool are up to? Vida Barone has worked in local government for 25 years, and shared that she still learns something new every week. Barone founded her own company 13 years ago, City Clerk Management Services, Inc. She started at the MARA program in summer 2018, and made the decision to enroll so she could show her credibility in information governance.

What are some of your favorite classes at the iSchool so far?

“They’ve all been my favorite! The whole program has been my favorite. Really, it’s been certain aspects of each class. Specifically, Enterprise Content Management and Digital Preservation with Dr. Pat Franks. In that class, I had the opportunity to get behind-the-scene with the content management software Sharepoint and Preservica. Also, in Health Information Management with Dr. Lisa Daulby, I learned about how [health] information [is] authenticated from beginning to end. I encourage students to explore the one unit seminars, I learned so much more than I anticipated learning!”

What aspects of student life at the iSchool are you involved in?

“I got involved in the commencement video team! With this project, I had the opportunity to participate in a team with students in different pathways programs, and collegiately to get involved with everyone made me feel involved in the school. It was a great experience, even though I’m not graduating quite yet. Also, in 2018, I went to the ARMA conference, a big information governance annual conference for ARMA members. I worked with Dr. Franks at the iSchool booth and helped put materials out. [As a result], I was introduced to a lot of professors from other schools. I was essentially representing the iSchool and the MARA program. This brought unanticipated value to my academic experience because I felt embraced by the program.”

When do you expect to graduate, and how has your experience at the iSchool been overall? Looking back, is there anything you’d have done differently?

“Originally, I wanted to finish as quickly as possible. I now see this as a mistake, for two reasons. One, life always gets in the way. I’m an elections official, and I’m an in-house city clerk representing my city. Right now, we’re converting into a new electronic voting process, and that’s consuming all my time. I actually made the decision to take a semester off, and so appreciate that program leadership takes into account that we’re working professionals. The second reason is that there’s so much content in each class, that you really need time to absorb it. Think about what you’re learning, how to apply it and how to translate that academic into your day to day responsibilities. If you try to rush through the program, you’re not going to get that value. Had I known then, what I know now, I would have only taken one class at a time.”

“I’ll graduate in three to four years, but that’s because I want to take that long. I enrolled in the program at the upper end of my career. I’ve already been in this industry for 25 years. I’m looking at this program with the opportunity doing formal consulting, and having a separate career after retirement. I would encourage people who have been in the workforce for a while, or at a later stage in their career, to get into the MARA program.”

The MARA program is full of fantastic students, faculty and alumni. To read more about them, check out the MARA blog, Community Profiles, and Life After MARA. We also invite you to watch our video series highlighting MARA alumni at work.  

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