New Graduates Reflect on Their Time in the iSchool

iStudent Blog

Published: June 14, 2021 by Leslie Parry

Congratulations to the Class of 2021! A virtual convocation was held to honor the School of Information’s newest graduates. The recorded event, which can be viewed here, featured excellent speeches by Debbie Faires, recipient of the 2021 Distinguished Service Award, Dr. Patricia Franks, recipient of the 2021 Outstanding Professor Award, and Samantha Hamilton, recipient of the 2021 Haycock Award, who spoke eloquently about the intersection of information science and environmental sustainability.

Now that the e-Portfolios are finished, the celebrations concluded and degrees conferred, what are the newly minted graduates looking forward to? And how do they feel now about officially becoming iSchool alumni? I had the chance to hear from Catherine Marie Bass, Kimberley Halen and Chip McAuley, all of whom earned MLIS degrees this spring. They shared their reflections on graduate school and offered advice for new and continuing students.

What have you valued most about your time at the iSchool?

“I really valued the ability to complete most of my course work asynchronously, especially as I worked full time and lived in a different time zone while I was enrolled in the program.” - Catherine Marie Bass

“What I’ve valued most about my time at the iSchool has been the experience of getting to know and working with others who share my passion.” – Chip McAuley

“I really enjoyed getting to know other students.” – Kimberley Halen

What advice would you give to new and continuing students?

“Make a plan for your course work early on, and don’t be afraid to reach out to professors for advice, even if you haven’t yet taken a course with them.” – Catherine Marie Bass

“My first piece of advice would be to, literally, keep every assignment for your ePort. My second piece of advice would be to get as involved in student groups – like SLASC!” – Chip McAuley

“Get involved in something! Join one of the student groups and check out one of the open meetings. It might be scary at first, but you’ll definitely meet some great people!” – Kimberley Halen

Was there any class you found particularly interesting or meaningful?

“My favorite courses in the program were Graphic Novels with Professor Morgan Pershing, Curating Exhibitions from Archival Collections with Dr. Leigh Gleason, and Genealogy with Professor Colleen Greene.” – Catherine Marie Bass

“All of my classes were very engaging and I was continuously surprised at how deeply what I was learning connected to the humanistic aspects of librarianship which are at the heart of why I came to the iSchool – to be a librarian who can spend my time helping people.” – Chip McAuley

“I enjoyed all of the archives and archiving classes more than I thought I would. The most meaningful class I took was Hyperlinked Libraries with Dr. Michael Stephens. I would recommend that class to everyone!” – Kimberley Halen

What are your plans after graduation? 

“This fall, I will continue my work as a teacher librarian. This summer, I am very excited to travel around Montana, South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, and Washington, visiting national parks, and seeing some old friends and family members, now that we are vaccinated!” – Catherine Marie Bass

“Now that I’ve graduated, I’m very much looking forward to my new job as an Adult Reference Librarian and to engaging with the community in this new capacity as a librarian.” – Chip McAuley

“I’ve never worked in a library before, so I’m applying at interesting jobs and looking forward to using my newly learned skills in a special library!” – Kimberley Halen

Congratulations again to the Class of 2021! 

New alumni can stay connected to SJSU in a number of ways, whether it’s through continuing education (like Open Classes or a certificate program), accessing free webinars, or making use of the SJSU Career Center. Check out the Alumni page for more information, and be sure to read the Alumni Community Profiles and Alumni Career Spotlights to learn more about the great work graduates are doing.


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