Since joining the program, I found the most important thing that I have learned about the information profession is the need to remember that I am providing a service to people that can alter the lives of others in some way.
What's your name? What degree are you seeking? What semester/year do you expect to graduate?
My name is LaTeesa James. I am seeking the MLIS. I expect to graduate in December of 2017.
Where are you from originally? How long you've been in the area. Did you move here to go to school?
I live in Novi, MI. I have been in Michigan all of my life but I have been in Novi for a little over a year. No, I did not move here to go to school.
What other degrees do you have and where are they from?
I have a Bachelor of Arts degree from Central Michigan University. I also have a Master of Arts degree in Communication Pedagogy from Wayne State University.
Why did you choose Wayne State School of Information Sciences?
I chose Wayne State's School of Information Sciences because I am very familiar with Wayne State and the program has a focus on and reputation for producing leaders in library and information sciences.
What area are you specializing in? Why?
I am specializing in academic health sciences librarianship because it is a growing field. I also like the idea of making an impact on the health and well-being of patients, by assisting clinicians, faculty and health sciences students with the necessary information to help them to make the best evidence-based decisions for patient's care.
Where/What format do you take most of your classes? Why?
I take all of my classes online. As a nontraditional student, with a family and many other obligations, having the ability to take my courses online gives me the flexibility I need in order to maintain my family life, as well as be successful academically.
Are you active in any student organizations?
I am not active in any student organizations, but I am active as a student member in professional organizations, such as Metropolitan Detroit Medical Library Group (MDMLG) and Michigan Health Sciences Libraries Association (MHSLA).
How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SLIS experience?
My involvement in professional organizations has provided me with many opportunities to participate on committees, help plan events, assist with the start-up of a mentor program, and participate in conferences, along with a plethora of networking opportunities.
What are you most proud of in your time as a student at SIS?
During my time as a SIS student, I have had the pleasure of serving as the Diversity Graduate Student Assistant. This allowed me to assist students who were looking for and applying for scholarships. I think my happiest experience as a SIS student was when I assisted a student with a personal statement for the Graduate Professional Scholarship. I also provided her with information about the process. She emailed me over this past summer, to tell me that she was awarded the scholarship and she thanked me for my help. I know she did not get the scholarship because of me, but knowing that I was able to assist her throughout that process was very rewarding.
Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into becoming a librarian or information professional?
All of the faculty played an integral part in helping me to develop as an information professional. I've learned so much about the profession from each one that I had taken a course with, along with some that I had not taken a course with. They all provided me with encouragement and the knowledge to be successful. However, Dr. Deborah Charbonneau was my advisor and I can say that she has made a major impact on my academic journey. She advised me on what courses would be best for me to take, in order to accomplish my career goals. She advised me on interviewing for and accepting my first position after graduation and how to use that as an entrance into what I want to do in the future. But the biggest impact she has had on my development as an information professional was when she extended the invitation to me, to write a review for a scholarly publication with her. Giving me the opportunity to learn from her and to graduate with a publication pending, has taught me more than how to write for a scholarly publication. Besides being an inspiration through all of her professional accomplishments, she has been a great example of what it really means to mentor and bring out the best in students.I will emulate her behavior whenever I get the chance as an information professional.
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?
Since joining the program, I found the most important thing that I have learned about the information profession is the need to remember that I am providing a service to people that can alter the lives of others in some way. From providing sources to health sciences faculty for research, to helping a student understand the most efficient ways to us a particular database, I could be contributing to something that could make a great impact on someone's life.
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 in the information profession. Besides what I have learned through coursework, I completed a practicum, which helped me to see the actual environment I would be practicing in. That experience also gave me the opportunity to do work that I would be doing on a daily basis, as an academic health sciences librarian. My long term professional goals include contributing to the profession by producing publications for LIS scholarly journals, mentoring students interested in medical librarianship, and helping to increase diversity within the field.
What advice would you give to someone considering SIS as their LIS school?
I would advise anyone considering Wayne State's School of Information Sciences as their LIS school to retain as much as possible from each course that they decide to take. Now, that I am at the end of my program, I realize that the "things" and concepts that I was exposed to during the coursework, were actual skills that I was developing and accumulating to use in the field. It's not just about passing the test and getting the good grade for transcripts. Its all about making sure that I understand and can apply the concepts, since that is what I am expected to do once I begin my career in the information profession.
LaTeesa James is a Health Sciences Informationist at University of Michigan Libraries.