"It's work that keeps me learning new skills and builds on what I learned in school."
Q: What is your job title? Who do you work for?
A: I’m the Associate Director of Development Research Services in the division of Development and Alumni Affairs at Wayne State University. I’m also a substitute librarian at Southfield Public Library.
Q: How did you get the job?
A: I was a research analyst at Wayne State’s division of development for about 7 months when my boss accepted another position and left. By that time I gained a good reputation and took every opportunity to grow relationships with my clients within the division. I got the promotion in August 2009 and have held that position since. As far as the Southfield position, I first started as an intern in 2007 and have continued to work part time.
Q: What does your typical day look like?
A: Every single day is different in development. Our goal is to provide information that will support the fundraising efforts of development and university leadership and staff. To that end, I assign research requests on behalf of 14 different units on campus to find individuals and organizations that are inclined to be engaged and give to the university. My team and I use a variety of software, databases, and various publications. We analyze and manage this information and currently we are beginning a significant database conversion in April. I work closely with the division’s alumni affairs team to support their information needs. I also serve as a leader for the School of Library and Information Science and Wayne State University alumni boards. Research requests are as quick as verifying employment to analyzing tens of thousands of records at a time.
Q: What is your favorite part of your job?
A: It’s all for the good of a great university with all kinds of great students and faculty. It’s work that keeps me learning new skills and builds on what I learned in school. And, frankly, I just love being in Detroit all the time. Midtown is a fun place.
Q: What are you most proud of in terms of accomplishments related to your career?
A: Going from intern to manager in the same year was quite a leap, but totally worth it.
Q: How do specific classes and coursework in LIS relate to your job?
A: First, I use what I learned in Dr. Heinrichs’ Productivity Tools every day and sometimes on weekends. Ellen Marks taught my library management course and I was grateful for the type of assignments she had us do as far as organizing goals and objectives. Dr. Anghelescu’s Advanced Online Research was really good. That’s the one snuggled between New Years and the first day of the winter semester and you took on 2-3 clients on campus for the semester. I learned and enjoyed working with DIALOG and got really good instruction on using Lexis Nexis products in that week, too.
All the Microsoft certification classes and all the research courses really prepared me for the magnitude of data floating around us. I also loved my archival courses, which helped me pinpoint excellent resources for legal clients while I was in graduate school. I can still work a microfilm machine. With this database conversion coming on, I’ve focused on the division’s new information architecture. We are changing how we do business.
Q: What extracurricular groups did you participate in while you were a WSU MLIS student? Did you join any student groups, or do any volunteer work or internships?
A: Yes, I did a few different things. Even before I took a class at SLIS (LISP then), I was volunteering at the Henry Ford Benson Research Center in Dearborn and working at UM-Dearborn's Mardigian Library in the research/reference center and in the archive. I worked in Henry Ford's Estate while it was still being run by UM-D and helped with a fine arts inventory, which was totally awesome. When I started grad school, I immediately became the President of the Society of American Archivists student chapter for the two years I was a student. Thinking back on it - I made some awesome friends and we actually fundraised and made enough to send 3 officers (including myself) to the SAA conference in Chicago. It was glorious. We had a great time in the city. Finally, I was a GSA and GRA at the Adamany Undergraduate Library and at the Reuther Library, respectively. I juggled a lot of jobs.
Q: Who were your mentors or had an effect on you as an MLIS student?
A: Dr. Joseph Mika was my adviser from the beginning and he always led me in the right direction and was genuinely interested in what the SAA was doing. He allowed me to get the absolute most out of my Plan of Work and has been a reference for me for a long time. Dr. Phil Mason's Oral History class was when I interviewed a veteran of the Iraq War. It was one of my favorite projects ever. And of course, as I mentioned, what I learned in Dr. Heinrichs' Productivity Tools has been invaluable to me, as well as the others I mentioned in my prior response.
Q: Lastly, what's your favorite website related to the LIS field?
A: As far as my favorite library websites, I adore Awful Library Books for a bunch of reasons, but mostly because it reminds me of the weeding and collection development I was doing at Southfield as an intern. I must admit that I don't do the library websites nearly as much as philanthropy websites and blogs. My google reader, though, is packed tight with everything under the sun - business, higher ed, libraries, archives, etc.