iSchool Poster Session at 2022 CLA Conference Boosts Confidence for Student and Alumni Presenters
After a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, students and alumni at the San José State University School of Information converged in Sacramento to present at the iSchool’s poster session, held during the 2022 California Library Association Conference.
This was the fifth poster session organized by Student Outreach Specialist Sheila Gurtu, who dreamed up the idea as a way for students and alumni to hone their presentation skills and share their projects and programs in a supportive environment. The iSchool provides a design template, prints and sets up the posters at the venue, as well as offers guidance and tips. Gurtu said she is “very happy” with the turnout of presenters.
Emily Espanol and Sabrina Gunn worked together in a group that presented “Visionary Leadership: How the SJSU ALA Student Chapter Creates Opportunities for Future Professionals.” The reason the group chose this topic was to match the CLA conference theme “Together Towards Tomorrow.”
“As a student organization for an online school, ‘togetherness’ is a hard feeling to attain, but through the org, we try our best to make our members’ online experiences feel less lonely,” said Espanol. Gunn echoed this statement, adding that the group selected the topic to “highlight the incredible personal and professional opportunities that have arisen out of our experience as members of the ALASC Executive Board and inspire other MLIS students to get involved with student organizations.”
Camille Hyatt presented the topic “SJSU Student Assistant Experience.” She “split up the presentation into five sections: applying, where to find opportunities, research, benefits, and schedule.” Presenting as an individual allowed her to “share my personal experiences and talk with other students and alumni.” Hyatt also served as a panelist for a few of the main conference sessions.
Edit Vosganians’ presentation focused on bridging the digital divide, specifically in Glendale, where she works. Vosganians chose this topic due to its “relevance to the new post-pandemic world and our reliance on everything ‘online.’” When it came to presenting, Vosganians said it was better to think of it as a conversation. “I studied my topic and talking points well but used them following the conversations that I was having with the folks that stopped by my poster; it resulted in a more natural way of flow.”
After the conference, presenters were able to meet and network at the iSchool reception. The in-person event made it special for many. “Being connected online is great but seeing everyone in person and sharing the same energy is even better,” Vosganians remarked. The reception also created networking opportunities. “CLA definitely did not disappoint when it came to exceeding my expectations for the ability to meet, connect, and chat about books with so many current and future information professionals,” added Gunn.
After having presented their posters, the presenters said they would do it again. “Now that I know that I can design a poster and present it alongside colleagues, I would feel more comfortable doing it on my own,” Espanol mentioned.
There are lessons that presenters, such as Gunn, took away from this poster session that will help them in future presentations. “I would highly recommend any aspiring future poster presenters to go for it even if they’re nervous. It’s a great way to push you outside your comfort zone in a very supportive and engaging environment.”