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24 MSIS Students Attend TLA Conference via the Annual SIS School Trip

Twenty-four MSIS students attended the second annual SIS School Trip, which this year took place at the 2019 Tennessee Library Association Conference in Chattanooga. While students were given tours of information organizations in Nashville at the inaugural trip in 2018, the SIS Director’s Student Advisory Council suggested that this year’s trip be combined with the conference. The school covered the cost of transportation, conference registration and board for the students who participated in the trip.

“I would highly recommend students attend future SIS trips because they’re enriching in a multitude of ways. The knowledge gleaned from attending conference sessions, roundtables, site visits, behind-the-scenes tours, and even receptions, is invaluable,” said Heather Doncaster, an MSIS student who attended the trip.

SIS Director Diane Kelly said the purpose of providing these trip opportunities to students is to connect them with working professionals in various environments of the information sciences field. Many students said they came away from this trip with a broadened network of Tennessee professionals, including alumni.

“By spending time with various library professionals at these events, I was able to widen my grasp of the impact that libraries have on their communities,” said MSIS student Jacob Bilek. “It was also a great opportunity to form lasting connections with people all across Tennessee in varying positions of authority. This was perhaps even more important of an event than the individual sessions were.”

On a more basic level, students also stated they enjoyed the opportunity to get to know each other.

“It is important to network with your fellow grad students in the program. And this trip was the perfect opportunity. We compared notes on our experiences in the program, and it helped me decide on my final course schedule,” said MSIS student Sarah Gonzalez.

Because many SIS students are distance education, they don’t always get to meet their peers in person.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to meet classmates in real life. It was immensely rewarding to put a face with a name and to spend quality time with fellow students talking at length about what’s happening in our field, their own research, life plans, and library advocacy,” Doncaster said.

Besides attending conference sessions, students attended the SIS Alumni Reception, which this year had a turnout of 75 attendees.

“We knew students would have a tremendous opportunity at the conference to connect with many of our fabulous alumni, and learn about some of the creative solutions and programming they are developing to serve their communities and users,” Kelly said.