Immersed in the Realm of Possibility

By Shannon Crooks 

Shannon Crooks is a student in the Master of Science in Library and Information Science online program. Currently a supervisor at a public library in a Maryland suburb of Washington, D.C., Crooks traveled to the School of Information Studies (iSchool) for the annual seminar, You and the Internet of Things (IoT), which took place from September 29 through October 1 on the campus of Syracuse University. In the post below, Crooks shares her experience from the seminar.

The theme of this year’s seminar was You and the Internet of Things (IoT) and it introduced iSchool students to the possibilities of success after graduation. There were several speakers from different professional arenas in the information profession that delivered presentations about how they have used the Internet of Things to transform businesses, people and the world.

So much of what we learn and discuss in class on a weekly basis was brought to life during the seminar. The speakers explained how the Internet of Things has been a tool for digital transformation in the companies they own or the companies they work for. But what stood out the most was the invitation we got from the speakers to use what we learn in class to transform the future of how the internet is used to innovate and create new ways of conducting business.

We learned that we could take what we learn, apply it to real world situations and create solutions to solve complex problems to transform businesses. We learned that we could be leaders in the information profession. The iSchool trains students in the graduate school program to be leaders, game-changers and innovators. Faculty at the iSchool want students to utilize what they learn in class, textbooks, journal articles and lectures as tools; to use it to think outside of the box to push the limits of information technology to new heights. That’s what I love most about the iSchool. I love that they want us to think beyond the realm of possibility and they want us to transform the world. This seminar brought the realm of possibility to the forefront and opened our minds to challenge ourselves to use what we learn in class to transform information through the use of technology.

During the event, there was also an opportunity to visit the iSchool on campus and attend sessions inside the building. Several of us were able to meet our professors, on-campus iSchool graduate students and student support staff. The professors that we see online during class were able to have small group discussions with us and talk to us about hot topics that were emerging within the profession. 

The online librarian students and I were able to meet with Dr. Barbara Stripling and have an impromptu discussion about information privacy and strategies librarians can use to ensure that library patrons’ information is secure and protected while they access information in the library. This impromptu session gave us a chance to interact with each other and discuss how we are transforming the librarianship profession. We are all professionals in the librarianship profession and we are all contributing unique things to the profession. The iSchool seminar gave us the chance to share our ideas and experiences within the profession. It also gave us a chance to develop new ideas of how we want to have a positive influence on the profession after we earn our degrees. 

Dr. Scott Bernard coordinated the seminar this year and he said something that resonated with me and the rest of the students. He said, “Over your lifetime, you will reinvent yourself at least 10 times.” I thought, wow, how am I going to do that? What he meant was that we will be seekers of opportunity for growth and development in our professional careers. He wanted us to never lose sight of our ability to reinvent ourselves and the information profession. Essentially, he wanted us to always keep seeking new ways of bringing new insight and creative ways of influencing the profession.

The seminar weekend was also a chance for graduate school students in the iSchool to get to know each other, the faculty and immerse themselves in the Syracuse University campus. It was a meeting of the minds. All of us were from different graduate programs within the iSchool.

It was a great experience for students who attend graduate school online because the online students got a chance to meet each other in person for the first time outside of the virtual classroom. We were able to have lunch and dinner together which gave us a chance to really get to know each other. Now when I go to class I feel like I know my classmates and that they are my colleagues.

The seminar was an amazing event and it allowed me, and I hope the students who attended the seminar, to seek the realm of endless possibilities to be leaders to transcend the information world.

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