2011 SLAIS Student of the Year (Master of Library and Information Studies)

 

Each year, the Arts Co-op Program recognizes two SLAIS co-op students for outstanding achievement in all aspects of student performance, including academics, the workplace, and professional and/or community involvement.

Naomi Schemm is this year’s Master of Library and Information Studies winner. As a Records Management Co-op Student with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC), Naomi’s performance and contributions towards improving her unit’s information file management “exceeded expectations,” her manager Heather Leong says.

In addition to her workplace achievements, Naomi continued to take part-time MLIS classes while on her work term, and developed herself professionally in activities such as co-founding the SLAIS chapter of the American Library Association (ALA), volunteering for two years as a member of the BC Library Association (BCLA) at their annual conference, and acting as the SLAIS student representative for the BLCA interest group Academic Librarians in Public Service.

Excellence in the Workplace

Following an introductory SLAIS course to the field of records management, Naomi was keen to gain work experience in the area; her eight-month co-op term with the Community Infrastructure Directorate of AANDC gave her exactly that.

In her position as the Records Management Co-op Student, Naomi was responsible for analyzing existing gaps in the Directorate’s information file management, and developing strategies and procedures for electronic file management. She gained significant hands-on experience through this position, implementing skills such as gathering information on an organization’s records, interviewing employees to understand workflows and information needs, and researching and consulting with other professionals to familiarize herself with current practices and recommended standards.

As the sole records manager in her unit, Naomi’s contributions created more efficient processes and improved the Directorate’s consistency of file management. Naomi’s colleagues also particularly commend her interpersonal skills, as demonstrated through the instructional workshops she developed and delivered to colleagues on best practices and procedures, and which garnered very positive feedback. To excel in her co-op job, Naomi built strong working relationships with fellow employees in order to successfully interview and understand their information needs. Her early and continual efforts to build these positive connections impressed her work supervisor.

As the Directorate’s first UBC SLAIS Co-op student, Naomi exemplified the high quality of the Co-op Program’s students through her workplace achievements and professional conduct. In turn, this position gave Naomi great insight into the challenges and rewards of records management, allowing her to put into practice theories she had only heard about in the classroom. Co-op was, Naomi asserts, “one of the best decisions I made while at SLAIS.”