Albert Salatka said he has pushed himself hard throughout his time in the MSIS program, yet was still pleasantly surprised to learn he was the recipient of the 2020 SIS Academic Achievement Award.
He’s been working full-time at the University of Tennessee, Chattanooga library while getting his master’s, and there were times where it almost felt like too much. But Salatka said he felt lucky to get the job at UTC, and also that he got to go back to school to be a librarian.
Salatka had previously entered a different program right after he earned his bachelor’s, but had to leave it due to finances and to be closer to his family. He moved back home to Chattanooga, and got a part-time job doing collection services and interlibrary loans at the UTC library.
“I love working at UTC. I’ve stayed there this long and being there has really supplemented everything that I’ve learned and there’s have been so many aha moments where I’m like, ‘Oh, I understand what Dr. Fleming-May was talking about.’ Going to class is one thing and actually being in the environment is another,” Salatka said.
Salatka would like to continue working in academic libraries, or potentially a government or federal library, but said he didn’t always pick the typical classes for that pathway. He said he worked with his advisor, Associate Professor Awa Zhu, to find the right classes for him.
“I feel comfortable like I can jump in anywhere with the classes I’ve taken, and make things happen. I couldn’t thank all the faculty and professors enough for the time I have had in the program,” he said.