Student Conferences: Giving New Life to Beloved School Projects

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Does that classmate’s super cool project about cosplaying information communities still live rent-free in your mind? Oh! How about that other student’s proposal for a library escape room to promote information literacy? You loved that one.

It’s just a shame that most of those student projects just get shuffled into an e-Portfolio and forgotten about.

Other student projects, however, are back in the spotlight thanks to student conferences, like the CPGE Online Student Conference which begins its live sessions tomorrow. 

While it can be easy to just finish a research project, take the grade, and forget the whole stressful experience, reimagining much-loved work for a conference can be emotionally rewarding and professionally beneficial. Best of all– conference organizers are on your side!

Your Schoolwork’s Second Life

For the CPGE Online Student Conference, Charlene Brewer dusted off that library escape room project from Fall 2019. “This is a project of which I am particularly proud, especially of how it all came together,” she admits. “The class [INFO 287 Gamifying Information] was a lot of work, demanding exacting attention to detailed learning theory practices, and I think that is reflected in the presentation.”

Meanwhile, Soraya Andriamiarisoa’s professor for INFO 282 Sustainability in Library Management, Dr. Kimberli Buckley, encouraged her to submit her project on The Power of Cosplay as a Sustainability Initiative for Libraries as she was preparing another presentation for her field of study, Space Librarianship at ACRL’s Virtual World Interest Group (Association of College and Research Libraries).

Besides getting a second round of applause in lieu of another A+, showing off your research at a conference is also extremely beneficial, especially if you’re considering academic or law librarianship or even Competency M (to demonstrate professional leadership and communication skills).

Professionally Speaking…

Though research experience is expected of MLIS graduates, proof goes a long way on a resume or CV. According to the iSchool’s MLIS Skills at Work report, employers are seeking candidates with the ability to “gather, appraise, organize, analyze, and disseminate information in a smart, concise, and digestible way.” In the same report, these core research skills are listed as the most in-demand LIS skills, alongside instruction & training and computer & technology skills, all of which are covered in an online conference presentation.

You could even buff up for Competency H, as Andriamiarisoa did. Walking me through her process, she notes, “The presentation itself was created in Powerpoint. The actual prototype is housed in a virtual world platform called Second Life, which wouldn’t be possible without Bethany Winslow (Director of Online Learning), who runs VCARA as well, introducing me to the endless possibilities of VWs!”

Not to mention, it’s easy to do! For her presentation, Brewer attests, “I already designed the Prezi [for class] but I had never actually ‘presented’ it… It seemed like a fairly easy thing to come up with a short video presentation to go with it.”

Conference Organizers Are Your Friends

While calls for submissions often read as impersonal and daunting, the people viewing your submissions are often on your side. Among the organizers for the CPGE Online Student Conference, catch familiar names such as ALASC’s Events Organizer Kelli Roisman and noted alumna Samantha Hamilton, who was in fact my INFO 203 student mentor last spring (Hi, Samantha!). 

The goal for the CPGE Online Student Conference in particular is to connect students across the college and promote student work. For the upcoming SJSU Grad Slam and other student conferences, the same keywords crop up in their mission statements: celebrate, promote, showcase. In other words, conference organizers just want to make you look good.

To fellow students considering their own impact in the LIS community, Andriamiarisoa urges to “try to submit at least 1 proposal or student organization meeting during your stay here at school! Your ideas matter!” 

So, the next time the opportunity lands in your inbox, show up! As Brewer told me, “I have had opportunities for some of the greatest experiences out of those iSchool email blasts.”

And I must say– hard same.

Make sure to follow Charlene on Twitter, @theinfo_ologist, and connect with Soraya on LinkedIn.

See you around the message boards,

~ Emily