The Arts Co-op Program is thrilled to recognize Kristina McGuirk as our iSchool (SLAIS) Master of Library and Information Studies (MLIS) 2017 Student of the Year. Each year, the Arts Co-op Program recognizes an MLIS or dual MAS/MLIS co-op student for outstanding achievement in all aspects of student performance, including academics, the workplace, and community involvement. Beyond her excellent grades, Kristina has won distinction based on her tremendous performance at BGC Engineering – her former supervisor, Jana Purmalis, writes that “Kristina’s work ethic and output demonstrated an unwavering commitment to our values of teamwork, excellence, curiosity, common sense, and clarity.” Kristina has also demonstrated an impressive dedication to the values of Arts Co-op, including professional development and student learning. The Arts Co-op Program has awarded Kristina in recognition of the efforts she invested in making the most of her co-op experience, resulting in remarkable success.

In her co-op term at BGC, Kristina achieved impressive accomplishments while demonstrating a commitment to professional improvement. Kristina approached her term with a strategic mindset, as the position combined traditional library work with an independent project that would allow her to establish a unique experience. This project involved updating the entire BGC internal citation guide, a task she pursued with admirable drive and commitment. Indeed, Jana affirms that she was “thoroughly impressed with the manner in which Kristina took ownership of this project, swiftly establishing herself as an enterprising self-starter.” Through dedication and resourcefulness, Jana notes that “Kristina quickly established herself into BGC’s resident citation style expert.” Over the next months, Kristina developed a comprehensive, tailored, user-friendly citation guide with an expansive array of illustrative examples and explanations. This guide will help BGC staff manage their reference lists with ease and efficiency, thereby “enhancing the quality of BGC’s client deliverables,” as Jana writes. Through her co-op experience, Kristina has made a significant and lasting impact on BGC Engineering.

From her studies at iSchool, Kristina felt she could improve her reference services and information retrieval skills. She even reached out to a professor for guidance on these subjects, who told her “of course, there’s no substitute for experience.” Enter co-op! Kristina was able to gain valuable experience in these subjects at BGC, but she also seized the opportunity to learn from Jana’s expertise. Kristina writes that Jana “was incredibly thorough and thoughtful with her guidance, giving me more adept search skills and resulting in better work as well as personal confidence.” For her part, Jana commends Kristina as “always pleasant, helpful, and receptive to new ideas and feedback.” At BGC, Kristina also demonstrated an impressive enthusiasm for learning and development. Kristina made the most of her experience by seizing opportunities for professional growth, the hallmark of an exemplary co-op student.

Along with helping her develop professional skills, Kristina also believes co-op complements her academic experience. Kristina feels her term at BGC helped exercise her referencing skills in particular, “providing the perfect foil to my experience in class.” For Kristina, “co-op amplifies what I am learning in the classroom, and this cycle of work experience and coursework makes me more invested in my career, prouder of what I have accomplished so far, and more confident in what I can do in the future.” Kristina exemplifies the “student” in “Student of the Year,” providing an inspiring example of how co-op students can combine their studies and work experience to develop a unique foundation for pursuing a fulfilling career.

Due to the skills and experience she received, Kristina believes “joining co-op is one of the smartest decisions I have made at UBC.” However, the Arts Co-op Program recognizes that the benefits Kristina received from co-op are a result of the tremendous effort she invested in making the most of her experience, and for this reason we are thrilled to award Kristina as 2017 MLIS Student of the Year. Kristina’s professional success and dedication are an inspiration for all co-op students, and the Arts Co-op Program concurs with Jana Purmalis that we are “confident she will excel wherever her career path takes her.” Congratulations to Kristina McGuirk, 2017 MLIS Student of the Year!