This is the sixth and final blog post in a series authored by individuals who received scholarships to attend the 2017 Science Boot Camp held at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst on June 14-16, 2017. Read the first post here, second post here, third post here, forth post here, and fifth post here.
New England Science Boot Camp: Rebooting Ambitions!
I wanted to be a librarian from the age of five or six, which is when I realized that the people lucky enough to spend all day in a giant building full of books also got paid. My understanding of librarianship and my own professional goals have greatly refined since that realization twenty-some years ago, and upon starting my first semester of my MLIS program at Simmons I knew I wanted to work in an academic setting. Beyond that, I wasn’t really sure.
My full-time job influenced my studies right from the beginning. I am an administrative assistant at the University of New Hampshire, shared between the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and Shoals Marine Laboratory. As I delved into the basics of librarianship, I began applying what I learned to my administrative position, and grew more and more curious about the role librarians played in science. When I heard about the scholarship opportunity at the New England Science Boot Camp, I knew I had to apply! I was thrilled to be selected as one of the recipients, and made the drive down to Amherst with great anticipation.
The presentations themselves focused on three main topics: mathematics and statistics, earth sciences, and biomedical sciences. The presenters were all eloquent and clear-spoken. I was impressed by how understandable they made their fields’ subjects and research to laypeople, especially given how difficult it can be to distill a complex scientific topic into a few simple sentences. They were also charming, engaging, and funny—the mathematics and statistics presenters especially! We also had a special presentation about sustainability in UMass Amherst’s dining services, as well as copyright issues and how librarians may be involved in assisting with copyright and open source questions. In the past few weeks since boot camp, I have told many of my friends and family members stories about what I learned, and the incredible research going on in the aforementioned fields.
Rather than a play-by-play of what the presenters had to say, though, I’d rather place a special emphasis on what made this experience truly wonderful for me: the people. Every single person I spoke to there was truly lovely: intelligent, curious, and passionate about education and librarianship. Everyone shared stories about their lives and their adventures over meals, and swapped book recommendations at every opportunity. Upon learning that I was a student, just about everyone had wonderful professional advice to share, and words of encouragement and support for considering science librarianship. To top it off, I played the best game of Trivial Pursuit I have ever experienced in my life with those wonderful librarians! I have never felt so at home so quickly with a group of strangers.
This experience has changed the course of my future, and that is not an exaggeration. I was curious about becoming a science librarian before, and now I know it’s the path for me. I returned to my administrative assistant position the following Monday with a fresh perspective, even more excited now to be working in a field where I am surrounded by scientists and fascinating research. When friends, family, or coworkers ask how grad school is going, rather than talking about class, I tell them about what I learned at boot camp, the people I met and their passions, and the sheer delight I have now when I consider my future. I know what I want to do with my MLIS degree now, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.
—– Samantha Claussen, Graduate Student, Simmons College; Administrative Assistant at the School of Marine Science and Ocean Engineering and Shoals Marine Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire —–
For more about this Science Bootcamp or upcoming events, please visit this year’s website, or contact anyone in the NNLM NER office.