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SLIS student to go behind the scenes at the ALA Annual Conference

Posted November 27, 2018
By Ashley Busnuk, graduate assistant, and Rebekah Friedman, communications manager

When MLIS student Sarah Hodierne travels to Washington, D.C., next summer, it won’t just be to see the nation’s capital — she’ll also be working at the American Library Association’s annual conference as part of an exclusive student program.

Hodierne, who serves as president of USC’s Library and Information Science Student Association, is one of only 40 students chosen to participate in the Student to Staff program. She’ll have the opportunity to work behind the scenes with ALA staff at the annual conference and attend meetings and other conference events during her spare time.

“I am honored to be able to attend the conference and represent USC through the Student to Staff program,” Hodierne said.

The program will have her work 16 hours over the course of the four days at the conference. Her assignment will depend on her career interests. S2S aims to pair students in areas that meet what they would like to get out of the program. After those hours each day, she will be free to attend the conference and go to the sessions and speakers. 

“I am hoping to take what I learn from the conference and apply this to wherever I end up working after graduation,” Hodierne said. “Information professionals are lifelong learners, and so professional development like attending the ALA conference is something that I know will impact my future career in ways I can’t even imagine yet.”

In order to qualify for the program, each student must be a current ALA member and a student chapter member. Participants must also be nominated, and Hodierne credits Dr. Gavigan and Dr. Kitzie for doing so.

“As the LISSA advisors for SLIS, Vanessa Kitzie and I were pleased to nominate Sarah for the ALA Student to Staff program. We have observed Sarah’s great leadership skills as President of LISSA, as well as her commitment to the profession, and we thought she was an excellent nominee for the award," Gavigan said. "This is a great opportunity for Sarah to attend the 2019 American Library Association Conference, and to network with ALA student members and other members at the conference.”

Originally from Summerville, South Carolina, Hodierne will will graduate in May with her master’s in library and information science.

This year, she became president of LISSA. She has enjoyed being able to connect with fellow classmates through the club, allowing her to feel a part of the program in a way she wouldn’t have otherwise since her classes are predominantly online.

“I think that being able to organize professional development events for my peers has been the most rewarding so far,” Hodierne said. “This semester we have had two speakers come and talk about the realities of working in the field as well as how to job hunt.”

For her future career, she wants to be in an environment that is people-focused. She also believes knowledge is power, and that access to information should be universal, regardless of background or physical location in the world.

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Ashley Busnuk

Ashley Busnuk is a first-year graduate M.M.C. student in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications. She is a graduate assistant in the communications office and a journalism teaching assistant. Busnuk is working towards a career in marketing and creative advertising in the tourism industry. 

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