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Paula Montgomery

I liked the way the courses overlapped and one related to another.  I frequently referred to a reading from one class for a paper for a different class or was able to draw on a course discussion from one course for another course.

What’s your name?  What degree you are seeking?  What semester/year do you expect to graduate? 

Paula Montgomery, MSIM, May 2019.

What other degrees do you have?

  • BA – Major History, Minor English (WSU)
  • MA – History (WSU)
  • Post Graduate Certification – Archival Administration (WSU)

Why did you choose Wayne State School of Information Sciences?

I chose SIS because I had taken a few classes toward an MLIS degree in the late 1990s.  It always felt like I had unfinished business.  The bigger reason is that it is convenient.  Even though all of the classes are virtual, I like being able to come to campus for events, student groups, and advising. 

What area are you specializing in? Why?

I specialized in MSIM, data analytics because I wanted to use my archival background but work in a growing field that would have more career opportunities.  As an archivist, I worked with historic records.  I wanted to shift my focus to current and future trends in information management. 

Where/What format do you take most of your classes?  Why?

My classes are only taught virtually.  I enjoy the in person interaction but it is a challenge to get to campus due to family responsibilities.  Fortunately, I work at SIS which provides me with opportunities for faculty and student interaction. 

Are you active in any student organizations?

For two semesters, I was active in ASIS&T.  I am a member of the WSU chapter of ACM via the College of Engineering.  It would be a wonderful opportunity for SIS to use the student ACM chapter to form a closer relationship with computer science students.

How has your involvement in student organizations impacted your SIS experience?

In addition to belonging to ASIS&T, I did attend a couple of NDSA meetings.  It was a great way to get to know other students.  

Are you currently doing any Information Management-related work?  If so, how has the program prepared you for it?

I am currently working as a tech assistant and research assistant at SIS.  I am using MySQL and assisting in the writing of the methods section of an academic paper.  I’ve just accepted a job as a researcher.  I expect to be using skills taught in data analytics, data visualization, Python, and Research for the Profession.  

What are you most proud of in your time as a student at SIS?

I am most proud of learning Python particularly that I can import data from a website or API, store it in a text, json, or database, and manipulate it to create meaningful insights.

Is there a professor who has really impacted your journey into becoming an information professional?

Since I already was an information professional when I started the program, it is difficult to respond.  Many professors such as Peter Hook, Kafi Kumasi, and Bin Li have been supportive and expanded my knowledge of the profession.  Tim Bowman had the greatest impact on my MSIM experience partial due to our close contact.  He also encouraged student discussions regarding developments in the profession, made himself available to help me resolve problems with assignments, and pushed me to do my best.

What advice would you give to someone considering an MLIS or MSIM degree?

  1. Once they decide what they want to do with their degree, they need to look at the job postings and take electives that will provide the necessary skills plus look for supplementary instruction for skills not taught in courses. 
  2. Keep a bibliography of all readings for classes because you may want to refer to a reading in another course or use a reading as a starting point for further research. 
  3. Create a LinkedIn account and carefully curate your network.  Get to meet as many people as you can both at SIS and in the profession.  Your in real life network is just as important as your social media network.  Remember that every classmate is not only your future colleague but may also be your next boss. 
  4. Your professors are your job references, make certain they know you as a conscientious worker as well as a good student.

The addition of servers for all students which included a MySQL server was very useful for students to work on projects for other classes in the program as well as for independent learning.  It was a wonderful addition to the program. 

I liked the way the courses overlapped and one related to another.  I frequently referred to a reading from one class for a paper for a different class or was able to draw on a course discussion from one course for another course.  Most of the time, it was the right balance of overlapping topics without repetition.