Special Library Association Joint Student/Chapter Night

by Jessica Lucas, MLIS Day

Every year in February, the Special Libraries Association holds a joint student/chapter night, where the UW and Pacific Northwest chapters rub elbows. It is a chance for students to meet professionals, network and get tips on becoming professionals themselves. On February 15th, all of the hard work of students Joanna Burgess, Jessica Lucas (SLA-UW Co-Chairs) and professional Barbara Wetzel (SLA-PNW President-elect) paid off in a successful poster session and panel discussion.

Students and professionals gathered at the doors of the Portage Bay Room at South Campus Center at 7pm, where they took up their nametags, said hello to friends and colleagues and perused the wonderful posters that 10 University of Washington LIS students had created detailing their recent Master’s related experiences. All of the poster’s were well done, with many forms of media represented. Some were completely formatted on a computer and printed out; others were in the style of an organized collage, with printing and pictures pasted onto posterboard. All of the posters looked very professional and most included photos or other images to accentuate the poster’s message. Professionals were very impressed with the posters and I know that fellow students were amazed with what their cohort have accomplished both in school and out.

Dinner was buffet style and featured a lovely chicken entrée (amazing in itself), vegetable medley, salad and real mashed potatoes. Jan Lawrence said it best when she received her thank you gift for participating in the panel discussion: “The real mashed potatoes were really thanks enough.” Seating was mixed up by placing numbers on attendee’s nametags and corresponding numbers on the tables, so that students and professionals would have a greater opportunity to interact. There was a definite buzz of conversation in the air during the meal.

Shortly after dinner, the panel discussion began with some opening comments and SLA business by PNW Chapter President, Julia Parker. Katy Dichter did a wonderful job of introducing the panel participants; keeping things light and touching on each participant’s school or career highlights. The panel was divided into two sections; bio/medical and legal and was made up of Gail Kouame, Consumer Health Coordinator of NN/Libraries of Medicine PNR, UW, Mark Bardsley, a student bio-informatics, Jan Lawrence, Information Resource Manager of Dorsey and Whitney, LLP, librarianship and Jeanne Doherty held an internship with ICJ at the Hague. Each panelist gave information about their background and how they came to be where they are in their career goals. The focus of the panel was “Past, Present and Future” so both of the students talked about how their schooling experiences have helped form their hopes for the future and what they are doing now, while the professionals talked about how they got from graduation to where their careers are today—the future that many students hope to attain

Panelists from left to right: Gail Kouame of NN/Libraries of Medicine PNR, Mark Bardsley - MLIS Student , Jan Lawrence of Dorsey and Whitney, LLP, and Jeanne Doherty - MLIS student.

The question and answer portion of the panel went on until time constraints cut it short. Many good questions were asked and answered. For example, one student in the audience asked how medical librarians feel they fit into the international medical scene. Gail pointed out several groups that librarians could get involved with to help with international medical issues, including the one that she and her husband were involved with.

The entire evening went off without a hitch, thanks largely to John Otto, SLA-UW Treasurer, who set up the PA systems single handed and made sure that each of the panelists sounded their best. A large applause is owed to the panelist and the poster session contributors for all their hard work and participation.


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Page last updated: April 17, 2006