Student Assistants Work in Marketing and Communications at the iSchool Using Their Voices, Passions and Writing Skills
Published: May 6, 2015
The iSchool employs student assistants to work in a variety of jobs while they take classes, study and earn their degrees. Last week, we talked to a few iSchool students who are getting ready to graduate and asked them about their jobs and the skills they learned as student assistants.
The iSchool employs about 30 student assistants every year, and while the jobs are both fun and interesting, they are also competitive. If you are interested in working as a student assistant, keep your resume up-to-date and look for the job postings in your email. Student assistantships are posted during the academic year, though most frequently in the spring and late fall as graduating students are vacating their positions. When jobs become available, postings are sent out using the iSchool Alert system. Just another reason to read those emails—it could get you a job!
I used to work as the health and fitness expert for a moms’ blog, writing posts about my post-pregnancy exercise regimen, the best yoga studios in the area, and local art and wine festivals. It was fun, but it didn’t do much in terms of paying the bills—in fact, it could barely cover the price of a medium cheese pizza once a month, not including tipping the delivery person. But it gave me the experience of writing regularly, interviewing people and meeting deadlines.
At the iSchool, I get to stretch my intellectual capacity rather than my hamstrings, and I’m meeting people who will be invaluable to my network of library and information professionals as I venture further into my next career. Since starting work as the writer of the iStudent Blog, I have interviewed iSchool instructors and alum, listened to a wonderful variety of webinars about career development and course studies, and gotten to know the iSchool website inside and out and upside down. I’ve learned almost as much from this job as I have from my courses, and the benefit to my studies is invaluable.
Celebrating the iSchool community
Student assistant Alison Peters writes the Community Profiles for the iSchool, interviewing faculty, alum, students and iSchool partners. “The best part of my job is getting to know how alumni got their fantastic job—as academic library director or special library employee,” says Peters. “I love hearing about students taking multiple internships with these great companies that the iSchool partners with, and how scholarship and award winners got their awards and are putting them to excellent use.”
Peters, who has an MFA in creative writing from Mills College and does occasional freelance writing assignments, uses her passion and skill for writing, as well as her desire to dig deep and learn more—valuable traits both for being a writer and an information professional. The student assistantship has given her tips and insights for her upcoming career. “It’s shown me how wide the field is for writing about LIS topics, and how people really do enjoy hearing the student point of view.”
Social media marketing
Another student assistant who has enjoyed sharing her point of view, only through tweets, posts and pins, is Taylor Terrill, who runs the iSchool’s social media pages as the social media student assistant. She’s the person to thank for all those helpful Facebook posts, fascinating Pinterest boards and handy Twitter feeds. She is also responsible for generating reports to find out the effectiveness of each platform. Not only has Terrill had fun and gotten paid for it, but she’s learned the importance of social media as a marketing tool and learned how to work these sites on an organizational level rather than just for personal use.
“Many libraries are already utilizing social media,” says Terrill, “and someone who has experience using social media as a way to promote an organization will be a huge asset. My job has given me some ideas on how to best utilize social media in libraries that either aren’t using it at all or aren’t using it to its full potential.”
Another way to learn
The work experience, as well as the extra income to cover my graduate school expenses, have been invaluable to me. I get the experience and practice writing daily and submitting posts once a week. Deadlines and writing naturally fit in with both my passions and my coursework at the iSchool, and like the online school environment I can work from home or the local café whenever I can fit it in with the rest of my life. The job has also helped pave my way for the future, connecting me with all kinds of interesting people for my professional network.
Terrill echoes some of my feelings about my job as well: “The best part of these positions are that they are a part of the learning culture that is prevalent throughout the iSchool,” she says. “You are encouraged to create your own strategy and ideas to execute the job with your own personal flair.”
photo courtesy of Stuart Miles