"My involvement in student organizations has been very beneficial to my SIS experience. I’ve been able to meet like-minded students and work on some really interesting projects."
Laura Kennedy was the first SIS student to complete the Joint MLIS and MA in Public History Degree Program, receiving two diplomas on May 3, 2019 along with her Graduate Certificate in Archival Administration.
Q: What’s your name? What degree you are seeking? What semester/year do you expect to graduate?
My name is Laura Kennedy. I’m seeking a joint degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS) and a master’s of public history (MAPH). I will graduate in May 2019.
Q: Where are you from originally? How long have you been in the area? Did you move here to go to school?
I was born in Detroit, but grew up in Sterling Heights. I did my undergraduate at Grand Valley and lived in Grand Rapids, MI for many years before moving back to Detroit to go to school.
Q: What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
I have a BA in English with a history minor from Grand Valley State University.
Q: Why did you choose Wayne State School of Information Sciences?
I liked the fact that the dual degree with history was offered. My family lives in this area so it was an easy choice to come to Wayne State.
Q: What area are you specializing in? Why?
My concentration was in archival administration.
Q: Where/What format do you take most of your classes? Why?
In person classes are my first choice, but given that SIS offers a smaller number of those I did most of my MLIS classes online and all of my history classes in person.
Q: Are you active in any student organizations?
Q: How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SIS experience?
My involvement in student organizations has been very beneficial to my SIS experience. I’ve been able to meet like-minded students and work on some really interesting projects. The NDSA group also presented at several conferences, including two national conferences. Those were great experiences because it provided opportunities to see what other professionals are doing and to network with people working in the jobs we as students hope to one day have.
Q: Are you currently doing any library, DCM, Archives or Information Management related work? If so, how has the program prepared you for it?
I volunteer at the Burton Historical Collection at the Detroit Public Library. My coursework as part of SIS was a deciding factor in getting that opportunity. I did my practicum at the Collection Resource Center that’s part of the Detroit Historical Society and, again, my coursework related to SIS was crucial in my ability to complete the project I worked on.
Q: What are you most proud of in your time as a student at SIS?
Probably the work I’ve done with NDSA, especially presenting at the two national conferences.
Q: Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into becoming an information professional?
Dr. Louis Jones’s archival administration class (INF 7710) is course that provided the most important information needed for doing the job I hope to get. The structure of the class and having the opportunity to do hands on work was super beneficial. Because Dr. Jones is a professional working in the field, the information he imparted was truly valuable.
Q: Since joining the program, what do you feel is the most important or surprising thing you’ve learned about the library and information science profession?
The fact that there are still a lot of misconceptions about what librarians do and especially what archivists do. It amazes me that people don’t know what I’m talking about when I tell someone I want to be an archivist. Hopefully that will change as more people are exposed to the archives either by visiting them or via an online experience.
Q: Do you feel well prepared for a career in the information profession? Any long-term professional goals?
I do feel well prepared for a career. Right now my goal is to get a job so I can consider what my long-term professional goals might be.
Q: What advice would you give to someone considering SIS for their master(s) degrees?
Take as many in person classes as you can, reach out to local organizations where you can get hands-on experience, join and actively participate in student groups – they all provide opportunities for on-campus or online participation, find a support system because sometimes you need friends who know your journey.
Laura Kennedy is currently an Assistant Archivist at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas.