Today we begin an exciting series of posts highlighting some of our amazing December graduates. They’ll share some insights about their time at the iSchool, advice for current and future students, and also some fun facts about themselves.
First up is Melissa McDonald, who completed the School Library and Information and Diverse Populations specializations.
What made you decide to get an MLS?
I love to read and to learn something new every day. As with many other MLS students, I spent a lot of time in the library as a child and have fond memories. I wanted to be able to share my love for reading and to teach children. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of children, but not be a classroom teacher. When I had the opportunity to volunteer (and then later substitute teach) in my children’s media center, I realized that was what I wanted to do. School library media was a great combination of instilling love of reading and learning, and using various technologies to help prepare students for the 21st Century learning environment.
What was the most useful thing you learned or useful course you took while studying at the iSchool?
It is difficult to pick just one as I think LBSC 640, 741,742, and 744 were incredibly important to the school library media program. I believe the combination of theoretical and practical experiences were in perfect balance – we were able to take the big ideas and turn them into something tangible. My favorite courses were LBSC 645 and 646 because I loved reading and discussing all the books, and LBSC 745 because I was able to really stretch and grow. Since my goal was to work and serve students in a school with an underprivileged population, I am incredibly glad I had the opportunity to add the IDP specialization to my experience here at Maryland’s iSchool.
What advice do you have for current or future iSchool students?
Get involved! We have several active student groups and student professional organizations. The University of Maryland also has a wonderful summer leadership program that should not be missed! It not only looks good on your resume to be actively involved, but it helps you to network, and to have a more well-rounded experience while here at Maryland’s iSchool.
What are your plans after graduation?
I was fortunate enough to secure two half-time school library media specialist positions with Montgomery County Public Schools.
Fun facts about Melissa:
Favorite musician – Josh Groban
Favorite place to visit – Maine, where I grew up. However, I would love to travel, and someday would like to take a tour around the world, with camera in hand so that I don’t miss anything!
Pets – a Black Lab (Shadow), a Boxer (Rae), a cat (Tiger), 2 parakeets (Tiny and BlueGrass), and one gerbil
Currently reading – Smile, a children’s graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier
Favorite quote – “The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt within the heart.” – Helen Keller
Interesting fact – When I was a child, my parents had a kennel of Siberian Huskies. I once raced my 3-dog sled team when I was 13.