Stephanie Reyna – Fellowship Reflections

My name is Stephanie Reyna (she/her/hers) and I graduated from UC Berkeley in the Spring of
2020. I double majored in English and Anthropology and one of my most cherished experiences
as an undergrad was being a Library Fellow.

I applied to be a Library Fellow my Junior year in hopes that as a Senior, I would be able to
make a difference in the undergraduate community. When I read through the fellowship
description, I knew that it would be the perfect opportunity for me to carry out my research
project. I knew that I wanted to make a resourceful guide that would be available to the English
Undergraduate community; a guide that could be used not only by English majors but by
anyone writing a paper and needing guidance with citations.

The first semester of my fellowship consisted of further developing my research skills and
navigating the wealth of information the library has to offer. My relationship with the library and
my understanding of what a library does completely changed. I learned about the various
databases that are accessible and how much information is actually available to students.
Learning about databases such as Kanopy, OED, and having access to the full Chicago Style
Manual would have been extremely useful in the beginning of my undergraduate career. I know
many students do not know the types of resources that are available and as a fellow, students’
have a unique opportunity to learn about librarianship and help bring awareness to the
undergraduate community.

With the help of my mentor, Gisele Tanasse, the Film and Media Services Librarian, I created a
survey that was sent out by the English Department Advisor, Katie Schramm, to all the declared
English majors. From this survey, I learned that the majority of students preferred a Library
Guide on MLA format, footnotes, works cited, Chicago Style, and APA. As an English major, I
knew that the majority of students write their papers in MLA format, therefore, the main focus
was kept on MLA but I included links to Chicago style and APA.

The second semester of the fellowship, I focused on collecting the best resources possible and
designing the guide. I wanted to make the guide as visually appealing and digestible as possible.
I created examples drawing from my own academic papers and used images from Unsplash. I
created this guide in the hopes of bridging a gap I saw within the English undergraduate
community.

Moreover, the fellowship had team building exercises and I was surrounded by brilliant students
and librarians who mentored and supported our ideas until they were realized. By the end of my
fellowship, I was completely inspired by librarianship, so much so that I plan to pursue a career
as a librarian. This fellowship not only helped me make a difference but it has inspired me to
continue on the path of public service. I hope that the next cohort of Library Fellows have as an
enriching experience as I did.


Andy Chen – Fellowship Reflections

Hi! My name is Andy Chen (he/him)—welcome to the blog! I am a rising bioengineering and mathematics junior that is excited to reflect upon my experience serving as a Library Fellow as the new cohort is welcomed to the community. 

As a future STEM educator that has always been impassioned about teaching, educational policy, and outreach, I arrived at UC Berkeley determined to make a difference in the learning community. From volunteering as a health educator with Peer Health Exchange to working for the Department of Mathematics as an undergraduate student instructor, I was thrilled to engage in the learning process directly. Working face-to-face with students and delivering course content to my classes reinforced my interest in teaching and mentorship. 

When I first learned about the Undergraduate Library Fellows program, I immediately knew that I wanted to apply. The program aims to promote peer-to-peer learning and foster the connection between the UC Berkeley library system and the undergraduate student body—initiatives that I was interested in learning more about and how I could make a difference in the Berkeley community. 

Under the mentorship of Kristina Bush, the Digital Literacies Librarian here at Cal, I undertook a project constructing a Library Guide for History C184D: Human Contexts and Ethics of Data Science. This is a course intended for data science majors and aims to give students training in making ethical decisions when working with big data by studying the complexity of human choices and social structures. As a student that has taken the course before and is interested in education, the project was a great opportunity for me to promote data science education in an increasingly datafied society. 

During the year, I met with the instructors and course designers to learn more about the resources that they wanted to provide to their students. Particularly, a core element of the C184D course is a final vignette project, where students are allowed to research and expand on an ethical dilemma in data science. For example, recent controversies over Facebook’s use of personal data, self-driving cars, and smart homes were the kinds of topics that students could potentially look into. As a Library Fellow, my goal for the Library Guide was to organize and consolidate the resources that were already contained in the course—research journals, papers, and news articles—and create a new hub on the site for students in various stages of the research process. 

Titled “Research Tutorial,” we focused on creating content for four stages of the research process: planning, discovery, analysis, and writing. With Kristina’s help, I was able to pose guiding questions to students looking for a topic, link out to library databases, offer systematic advice to evaluate credibility of sources, and direct students to writing resources. 

Creating and developing this Library Guide really changed my relationship with the Berkeley Library as I helped to engage students with the wealth of resources that the university has to offer. In many cases, undergraduate students may be unaware of some of the services that the library has; students can seek help from the librarian staff, navigate visual and aural resource databases, and learn how to effectively navigate scholarly information. My time as a Library Fellow gave me the opportunity to learn more about librarianship and how to disseminate copious amounts of information in a comprehensible way. If all goes well, the History C184D Library Guide will be a unique resource this fall for students to begin their work in data science ethics research—a special experience that is a bit different from the typical analytical work done in their major courses. 

My time as a Library Fellow came to a close last May, and I am so happy with all of the experiences that I have had and the people that I worked with along the way. The program helped me expand my passion for teaching and education to the broader Berkeley community. I hope that the connections that I have helped to strengthen between the Berkeley Library and the student body continues to grow and inspire the next group of Library Fellows!


Introducing the Undergraduate Library Fellows Blog

The Undergraduate Library Fellowship is a cohort driven program that promotes peer-to-peer learning and mentorship opportunities for Berkeley undergraduates with the shared goal of improving Library services and spaces. Established in the Spring of 2018, the Fellowship program has evolved and grown with each Fellows cohort. The Fellowship initially took shape as a one-on-one mentorship model in which students focused on individual projects within a particular area of librarianship. Fellows were paired with mentors who specialized in fields ranging from GIS to making and encouraged to explore their interests while developing a peer-to-peer teaching service. One impressive examples of a Fellow’s work is the Design Fundamentals research guide by 2018-2019 Fellow Melissa Cheyenne Foote.

Of course, the 2019-2020 Fellowship was interrupted by COVID-19, forcing our Fellows to redirect their projects to a digital setting. Each of the 2019-2020 Fellows created diverse and compelling research guides with topics that included citations, philosophy, and wellness. The mentors were inspired by the Fellows’ flexibility, watching as they readily adapted to the rapid changes 2020 kept throwing at them. At the end of the semester, every Fellow described flexibility as a key takeaway of their experience. With uncertainty about the coming year, the mentors decided to harness undergraduate students’ adaptability, positivity, and problem solving skills to develop peer-to-peer digital learning content including tutorials and handouts for the Library. Motivated by the collaborative and creative vision for the Center for Connected Learning and the unique energy of Berkeley Undergraduates, the Undergraduate Library Fellowship will undergo some new and exciting changes for the 2020-2021 year — this includes the creation of the Fellows Blog!

The new vision for the Undergraduate Library Fellowship is to empower undergraduates to become library champions and contribute to the vision for the Center for Connected Learning through inclusive design and critical frameworks. In the Fall semester, Fellows will receive training in different aspects of librarianship, from user experience and design thinking to research and instruction. In the Spring semester, fellows will foster connections between the Library’s ecosystem and undergraduate communities by prototyping peer-to-peer services developed in teams. In affinity groups (media and making | research and instruction), the Fellows will work to develop peer-to-peer digital learning objects based on their research into their peers’ needs with an eye to critical and inclusive design frameworks. We hope to espouse the values of experimentation, reflection, empathy, and flexibility. 

This blog will be a space for the Fellows to reflect on their processes and experiences. Design thinking is a highly reflective exercise and we hope to capture the Fellows’ ideas, experiments, prototypes, and improvements in this blog. We will be publishing posts from each of this year’s Fellows. 

Without further ado, allow me to introduce the 2020-2021 Undergraduate Library Fellowship cohort:

Keziah Aurin ‘22 – Social Welfare major, Creative Writing minor

Katherine Y. Chen ‘23 – Rhetorics and intended Linguistics major, Public Policy minor

Chloe Chu ‘22 – Public Health major, Data Science minor

Natalie Chu ‘23 – Architecture major, Global Poverty and Practice minor

Zhané Garlington ‘21 – Film and Media Studies major

Tara Madhav ‘21 – Political Science and History major

Joseph Rodriguez ‘21 – Political Science and Philosophy major