For senior journalism student Victor Topouria, shying away from opportunities isn’t an option. When he saw the call for the University Libraries Undergraduate Research Contest, he immediately submitted his research for consideration. His instincts were correct because his paper, The fabric road to power: geography of the textiles trade along the new Silk Road and China’s path to geopolitical dominance through the textiles supply chain, won first place and a $500 scholarship.
His paper was originally written for Dr. Hobb’s geopolitics class, but it ended up more interdisciplinary than he anticipated. This interdisciplinary approach required Topouria to investigate multiple resources for his research; resources with which he was not at all familiar. ” The library is one of the most underappreciated places on campus. Sure, everyone loves it as a study space, but I think if all of us took advantage of its resources just once, we would find it difficult to be satisfied with Google.The librarians I met were perhaps the most helpful people I’ve worked with during my time at Mizzou. I could not have completed my research without them.”
Born in Columbia, Missouri, and spending most of his childhood in Tibilsi, Georgia, Topouria says his degree will give him the versatility to pursue different passions. He wants current and future Tigers to be open to different perspectives. “Be willing to have your mind changed. Mizzou is full of interesting humans with totally different perspectives and worldviews. If your ideas, opinions, and goals remain exactly the same as when you arrived, you’re doing college wrong. Everything is a learning opportunity, and Mizzou is a place that grants you the freedom to learn, in and out of the classroom. You just have to want it!”
There’s still time to check out the Day of the Dead and the Ancient Artifacts exhibits on display in the Ellis Library Colonnade through the end of the month.
The Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) exhibit is sponsored by the Latin@ Graduate Professional Network. The Day of the Dead altar incorporates skulls colored by Mizzou students and pictures, blurbs, and trinkets of loved ones shared by the community.
The Museum of Art and Archaeology brings us the Antiquities from the Ancient Mediterranean exhibit. A dozen glass and pottery vessels are on display, including cups, bowls, bottles, jars, and lamps.
Michelle Kraft, director of libraries at the Cleveland Clinic Health System Libraries, chose to attend Mizzou for her graduate degree in library science because she wanted the opportunity to work in several different campus libraries and put what she was being taught in the classroom into practice.
During her time at Mizzou, Kraft worked at Ellis Library as an electronic resources assistant, helping students with online resources. She also completed her practicum at the J. Otto Lottes Health Sciences Library. She sums up her experience, “Training I got from staff at both libraries was indispensable. Their mentoring and guidance gave me real world knowledge and skills not only to work in libraries but also to thrive in my career.”
Her passion for providing library resources to medical caregivers and researchers led Kraft to her role as the president of the Medical Library Association in 2015-2016. During that year of service, she advocated for unrestricted, affordable, and quality health information on behalf of the National Institutes of Health and the National Library of Medicine to members of Congress.
If there was one piece of advice that she could give to future Tigers, Kraft said, “find your passion and get involved. You grow and learn through your involvement with others at Mizzou and that learning, energy, and knowledge can carry forward to your life after college.”
Meagan Hicks, from St. Charles, MO, was used to her small private school, but that changed when she went to Mizzou. “I was the only person from my class to go to Mizzou, and the only person I knew at Mizzou, was my sister. It was a big adjustment.” A good adjustment it would seem.
“Mizzou really helped shape me into a more well-rounded person. While I was still able to stay in my comfort zone, I was also able to explore different aspects of campus I would not normally go for,” Hicks said.
After graduating in 2014, Hicks enrolled in the Master of Library and Information Science program, which led to her working as a graduate assistant at the Health Sciences Library. “Working for an academic library was an amazing experience, especially a specialized one. It was awesome helping students and faculty with their research, and their dedication is something I will always remember.” Hicks currently uses the skills she learned on the job to offer a rich variety of services to the Moberly, Missouri community. “As a public librarian now, I want to offer programs that inspire the next generation of Mizzou students to work hard in anything they want to do.”
Hicks says she made the right decision coming to Mizzou, and wants those considering Mizzou to know that they should “try out new things, things you may not have known you would like may become your new passion. Explore and have fun!”
Last year, Cindy Cotner served as the Interim Head of Instructional Services at Ellis Library and oversaw a pilot program where new teaching assistants in the English department were each matched to an individual librarian for library instruction and research assistance for their sections of English 1000, the first-year writing course required of Mizzou students. Due to the success of the program, it has been expanded this year, with every English 1000 instructor matched to a librarian for their courses.
In April, Cindy and Anne Barker presented “Bringing the Library into the Classroom: Rethinking Library Resources” with Deanna Benjamin and Bailey Boyd, the English 1000 instructors they worked with, at the MU Composition Program’s Celebration of Writing and Teaching.
Collaboration with librarians is nothing new for Deanna Benjamin, a PhD candidate who, in addition to teaching a variety of courses here at Mizzou, has taught in St. Louis since 2008. Cindy co-taught two sessions regarding the research process with Deanna in her classroom. During the first class session, the class worked on “an exercise that connected Cindy’s introduction to the library and research with the semester research project.” They opened the second class session with a Q&A and then “visited with students individually while they all conducted research online.” Deanna says, “Our collaboration in class helped the students ask a variety of research questions that at least one of us was able to answer.”
When the students presented their research later in the semester, Cindy reinforced the library’s commitment to undergraduate research by attending the presentations.
During her master’s program here at Mizzou, Bailey Boyd first taught English 1000 and began collaborating with the library for research instruction. Now a first-year PhD student in creative nonfiction writing, her personal research interests include “uncovering new bits of information that have been hidden away, such as archival research and new sides to a well-known story.”
Last year, Bailey met with Anne early in the fall semester to discuss how the library could help her students with their projects. Bailey requires her to students to “select a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph, analyze that photograph, and then use research to fit that photograph within its original historical and cultural moment.” In conjunction with that assignment, Anne “put together an amazing course guide where the students could explore different research on eras, all collected in one place!” For this semester’s library visit for the same assignment, Anne went a step further. Bailey says she “had pulled out old Time magazine archives and Harper’s Bazaar archives so that students could see–in real, tangible form–what people in different decades would be seeing. Students were able to surround themselves and immerse themselves in that world for a short while.”
Bailey saw the effect of library instruction very clearly in her students’ final essays for this project. She says, “The research I saw in their papers was quite extraordinary–some students relayed background stories of famous photos that had changed their minds about the photographs. In my opinion, this research led to richer and more in-depth analysis of their photographs–every essay was interesting and thought-provoking.”
When Bailey wanted to assign her students the Ellis Library scavenger hunt, which can be completed by students on their cell phones, she worked with Anne to customize call numbers to the food research and cookbook area “so that they were led to the stacks that had the information they would need further in the semester.”
Inspired by this collaboration, Bailey has incorporated some changes into her curriculum. She says, “I’ve already increased our class library visits from one visit to three and now require my students to consult with a librarian at least once on their own time throughout the semester. These past semesters of library collaboration have really shown me how important early incorporation of the library truly is.”
Anne says that “the collaboration has allowed us to be more proactive and engaged with the TAs, so that the library portions dovetail more with their objectives for the class. We’ve also been able to experiment more with providing handouts, online lessons, guides, and brief videos that can be used outside of the classroom time, so that the time we have together with students can be a bit more interactive.” Because the level of collaboration between librarians and English 1000 instructors is still evolving, she finds being able to work with the same teaching assistants for multiple semesters helpful.
Deanna and Bailey shared some advice on how to take advantage of library services. Deanna advises teaching assistants and faculty to meet “with a librarian before the semester begins to talk about the topic and goals of the course and ways in which the librarian might use some of the instructional time to get to know students (and for students to get to know their librarian).” Bailey recommends a library tour for everyone new to Mizzou. She advises her fellow graduate students to form a relationship with their subject librarian “because we’re more likely to ask questions if we’ve established that relationship.” In her case, that was also Anne, whom she also visited for research help on her master’s thesis. She says, “I can’t really express how much Anne has helped me these past two years. I don’t think I could have accomplished many of the things I wanted to accomplish in my classroom or as a student if I hadn’t had that relationship.”
Cycle of Success is the idea that libraries, faculty, and students are linked; for one to truly succeed, we must all succeed. The path to success is formed by the connections between University of Missouri Libraries and faculty members, between faculty members and students, and between students and the libraries that serve them. More than just success, this is also a connection of mutual respect, support, and commitment to forward-thinking research.
If you would like tosubmityour own success story about how the libraries have helped your research and/or work, please use the Cycle of Success form.
The student showcase for Seeing Material Culture at Mizzou is now on display in the Ellis Library Colonnade. This semester’s Honors Tutorial, “Get Real, Go Places! Let Objects Take You There,” focused on the study of material culture, specifically the opportunities for research that objects and artifacts make possible.
Students interpreted, inspected, and wrote about objects through sketchbook journals, weekly syntheses, and a culminating analysis. The course is taught by Dr. Sarah Buchanan of the iSchool and by campus gallery, library, archive, and museum professionals who belong to the Material Culture Studies Group.
This exhibit features 22 objects created by eight undergraduate students, each based on a class visit to a particular collection.