MY BACKGROUND & PATH TO UCLA
During my undergraduate studies at UC Berkeley, I double majored in Film Studies and Rhetoric. Upon graduating from UC Berkeley, I had the great fortune of getting hired in the mailroom at DreamWorks Animation. Over the course of my five years working at DreamWorks, I quickly moved out of the mailroom and into multiple roles in production management on feature animated films and television shows. Much of my job involved tracking assets and work productivity, creating systems to track these assets, presenting reports of my findings to leadership, and facilitating pitch presentations. I also had the opportunity to create curriculum, teach classes, plan educational field-trips and speaker series. While I loved certain aspects of my job, particularly those involving teaching, presenting, and designing and managing information, I eventually decided to leave the company as I was no longer as passionate about filmmaking, and I desired a job with more work-life balance and a focus on service.
I decided to pivot my career towards academia. I tried my hand at teaching as a substitute teacher and librarian at a local high school and as the teacher of my own class at an adult class about using social media platforms safely. I also began to volunteer at my local library as a computer class assistant. Through my experiences, I saw that there was a need for more computer classes geared towards less tech-savvy people. Moreover, I found that while I enjoyed the teaching profession, I liked the idea of being a librarian more as it would allow me to be a life-long learner and researcher, to help others of all ages and backgrounds by providing them with relevant resources for their goals, by teaching and creating outreach events possibly about how to use computer programs, and by designing information systems that would help users find the information they needed. So, I applied and was accepted into UCLA’s MLIS program, which I have been loving ever since. Moreover, I have been focusing my studies on digital librarianship with the end goal of working in an academic (or possibly public) library in the digital sphere, so that I can design easy-to-use information systems for patrons’ use and teach classes about how to safely navigate computers and technology while maintaining one’s privacy.
To gain the skills and theory needed to pursue my digital librarianship career aspirations, I have been taking coursework from the library studies, archival studies, and informatics tracks. In the library studies and archives studies tracks, I have taken coursework that has provided me with experience in children’s library services and programs, library reference, descriptive and subject cataloging, current issues in librarianship, archival studies, and in the history of books. In the informatics track, I have taken coursework that has provided me with experience learning about privacy in information technology, digital methods for research and scholarship, metadata, content management systems, and public health informatics. By taking an interdisciplinary approach to my coursework, I have been able to learn a wide range of curriculum that has exposed me to theories of the different disciplines and that has enabled me to learn software skills essential to the fields, such as CONTENTdm, Protégé, HTML, Voyant, WordPress, Google Sites and Maps. I hope to continue fostering these skills and learning more tools as I continue pursuing my Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities.
MY WORK EXPERIENCE
While in school, I have also been gaining practical experience in the library and information field through my work experience. During my first year in the program, I was a Graduate Student Researcher (GSR) for Professor Shawn VanCour. In this role, I searched archives and online databases for records supporting Professor VanCour’s research on television history, created digital files of the records, stored the digital files in an online database I created, developed reports of my findings, and suggested areas for further research. Through this experience, I learned how to search for and use archival records and got an up-close look into scholarly research. While my experience with Professor VanCour was great, when my 2017-2018 academic year GSR appointment ended I decided to pursue different work opportunities that would provide me with new experiences in the library and information science field.
One such job was working for the UCLA Digital Archivist, Shira Peltzman, in the role of Digital Archives Program Scholar in the UCLA Library’s Center for Primary Research and Training. I have been in this role from June 2018 to the present, and during this time I have been processing born-digital materials for the Eiko Ishioka Collection. This experience has been amazing as it’s allowed me to get hands-on experience processing digital materials and learning all the interesting software and hardware that is required for the task, such as BitCurator, KryoFlux, Forensic Toolkit, Archivematica, ArchivesSpace, and Google Spreadsheets. Moreover, in this role, I have been allowed to sit in on archival staff meetings, workshops and hiring presentations, which has provided me with a look into the real-life of a UCLA Digital Archivist. This experience has also further inspired my interest in working in libraries and archives in the digital space.
Another job that I took on during the 2018-2019 academic year was the role of a College Academic Mentor for the College of Letters and Science’s College Academic Counseling division. In this role, I am an academic mentor to undergraduate students in the College of Letters and Science. My tasks involve advising students one-on-one about academic school policies, program planning, and career resources, as well as creating and teaching workshops about these topics. This position has been wonderful as it has allowed me to work with the undergraduate population (which is a population I have thought about serving possibly as an academic librarian in the future), and to act as a reference for students by providing them with information and resources, which is experience that I believe translates into reference librarianship work.
In addition to my current 2018-2019 academic year positions at UCLA, I was also able to intern at NBCUniversal’s Archives during the Winter 2019 Quarter (which was great as I have considered working in a film library or archive due to my background in and passion for film and television). During my internship, I assisted archival staff with various tasks, including performing inventory checks for items in the collection and updating their database records accordingly, creating catalog records and condition reports for costumes and props, and displaying costumes for various exhibits. This experience helped me to develop the knowledge and real-life skills necessary to work in a corporate studio archive. Additionally, during this Spring 2019 Quarter, I will be a library volunteer at El Camino College in Torrance, CA, where I will be assisting library staff with instruction, reference, and taking an inventory of items in their collection. As I have been very interested in working in a community college library environment, I am very excited about this opportunity and what I will learn this quarter.
MY EXPERIENCE IN PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
While my jobs and coursework have provided me with knowledge of and experience in the library and information science field, I have also taken on active roles in organizations related to the field, including my role as the President of UCLA’s Student Chapter of Special Libraries Association (SLA) and my role as the Co-Chair of the Information Studies Department’s Student Governing Board. For these organizations, I have planned numerous networking happy hours and library tours, budgeted funds, updated websites, and acted as a student representative and organizational point-person. This experience has allowed me to meet other students and professionals in the field and to gain experience in program planning and management, which I believe is critical for any position in the library and information science field.
MY FUTURE DEVELOPMENT
As I mentioned earlier, my goal is to work in a digital library role at an academic university. Thus, I plan to continue to learn more about digital methods and visualization tools through my future classes for the Graduate Certificate in Digital Humanities. Additionally, many of the professional organizations that I am involved with offer online and in-person workshops and classes that I would like to take to further my library and information science skills. I also plan to get more involved in these professional organizations in order to network, to research, and to hopefully collaborate with others on projects related to Digital Humanities Librarianship.