2021 Virtual Graduation Celebration

In May, member of the School of Information Sciences community came together virtually to congratulate the Class of 2021 during a virtual toast and celebration event. 

Dean Jon E. Cawthorne, Associate Dean Tom Walker, faculty, staff and students provided support and well wishes for a class that completed their degrees during unprecedented and challenging circumstances.  

Amber Harrison, a Winter 2021 graduate of the join MLIS/MAPH (Master's of Public History) program spoke at the event and congratulated her fellow graduates. Amber's remarks are below. 

Amber Harrison is a black woman with short cropped hair. She wears a graduate cap with Class of 2021 tasselsTo Winter and Spring/Summer 2021 graduates of Wayne State's School of Information Sciences, congratulations! We successfully completed our graduate programs in the midst of local and national upheaval, and of course a global pandemic. On top of the strenuous work that is graduate school, we were required to make drastic changes to how we went about our daily lives, both professionally and personally. We had to make our online programs even more "virtual," forced to conduct graduate-level research entirely online and complete internships and practicums remotely. Many lost normalcy, structure, jobs, even loved ones. It wasn't easy. It took a lot for us to get to this very moment.

Being a graduate research fellow for a community (and government) based project during a pandemic, one that required stay-at-home orders, was a daunting task, especially given that I was to interact with local organizations to bring their stories to life via historical panel texts. I could not visit state and local archives. I could not meet with community members to listen, accurately translate, and share their stories. But being in the MLIS program really helped me further hone archival and historical research skills. I had to think outside of the box and conduct deep dives on the internet, hunting for primary or verifiable information amongst a sea of unreliable sources.

It was disheartening at times, occasionally reaching dead-ends and having to start the research process all over again. But with the skills I gained throughout this program, I was able to pick myself back up and try again. I was able to eventually locate the information I needed, and then some. My confidence in performing this work, despite the barriers, has only increased. And I'm certain that we've all had experiences like this, having to re-route our research behavior, but look at how far we've come. We've finally arrived.

So be proud. Be proud of the work we accomplished, the opportunities we sought. Be proud of faculty and staff rising to the occasion and beyond to ensure that our learning and experiences remained a top priority, and grateful that they were here for us on our darkest days. Be proud that we pushed through adversity, that we found inventive ways to stay the course. Be proud that we are here, that we got here and, though remotely, can celebrate a life-changing accomplishment.

For many of us, looking to the future might feel daunting, or uncertain. But tonight, I remind you that, when we begin applying for new careers in the information professions, we can confidently tell potential employers that we can work under pressure, and under high stress; that we are more than adept at problem-solving; and that we are creative in finding innovative solutions to get the job done. We are truly Warrior Strong. Congratulations, and thank you!