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Graduate Students

SIM’s diverse student body comprises a variety of geographic, academic and professional backgrounds. SIM is a collegial environment where long-lasting friendships are formed; your classmates become your colleagues as you move from the classroom into the work world.

Be generous and bold (Alison Brown)

What advice would you give to someone just starting the MLIS program?

Be generous and bold. Sharing your insights and experiences with your colleagues will be rewarding. Everyone is very generous with their time; they are eager to both share their expertise but also to collaborate. Don't be shy, show up, and ask good questions.

Be strategic. This program offers a tremendous breadth of courses and learning opportunities that will provide you with a great overview of the various ways you can apply your emerging skills. If you discover a particular area of interest, you can shape your course experience to complement and strengthen that.

Why did you choose Dalhousie and SIM?

I believe the need for librarians is more urgent today than ever. The role of librarian is not necessarily traditional; they have to remove barriers to information needs, build relationships, and provide spaces where people can gather, connect, learn, and create. I wanted to go to a school that recognized and celebrated this, and prepared students to fulfill that role well.

I also had the sense that, as a smaller school, SIM would be a more authentic and warm place to build close relationships within the IM community. And my family wanted to live around the corner from one of the country’s best public libraries, up the street from the sea, and steps away from coastal hikes. 

What has been your favourite course so far?

INFO 5530: Information Sources, Services & Retrieval" was a fantastic course. The content itself was important, practical, and directly applicable to the role of information professional. I appreciated the hands-on exercises in class and the relevant, authentic assignments. A diverse range of speakers were invited into the classroom to discuss their experiences and the instructor encouraged us to think broadly and critically.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?

Following graduation, I would be most happy if I was doing community-led librarianship within an urban public library system. I also hope to be participating in international library projects, recognizing that a global network of dedicated librarians is a very powerful force for social justice.

ALISON BROWN

Master of Library & Information Studies Candidate

Hometown

Petitcodiac, NB

Education

BA (Hons), Queen's University, 1997

My internship at the Killam Memorial Library (Jacob Ericson)

What opportunities have you been introduced to since starting at SIM?

The greatest opportunities I have had so far are my internship at the Killam Memorial Library and the opportunity to serve on the Information Without Borders Conference Committee. Both have allowed me to gain a lot of first-hand professional experience and create valueable connections. 

Why did you decide to pursue an MLIS degree?

While attending the University of Virginia for my undergraduate degree I worked in a special collections archive digitizing the rare manuscript collection there. This exposed me to many aspects of records management as well as cataloging and metadata creation. All of the best jobs in a library setting require an MLIS, so here I am!

What attracted you to Dalhousie and SIM?

Many members of my family have lived in and studied in Halifax and had wonderful experiences doing so. I had also heard many great things about Dalhousie University from friends and colleagues. What sealed the deal, however, is the fact that Dalhousie’s MLIS guarantees a Practicum option for real on-the-job experience.  

JACOB ERICSON

Master of Library & Information Studies Candidate

Hometown

Fredericton, NB

Education

BA (Medieval Studies), University of Virginia, 2012

Unique practical skills to bring to future employment (Deborah Hemming)

How does your experience at SIM compare with previous education you have received at other institutions?

The many opportunities for student involvement closely related to this degree make it truly unique. In the past year, I’ve served as an Editor for the Dalhousie Journal of Interdisciplinary Management and a Student Representative on the SIM Curriculum Committee. Opportunities like these expand learning outside of the classroom and foster meaningful engagement with faculty and staff. They also look great on a resume and provide students with unique practical skills to bring to future employment.

Why did you decide to pursue an MLIS degree?

While my academic background is in English literature, I’ve always been drawn to more multi-disciplinary ways of looking at the world. An MLIS degree will equip me with the skills and knowledge I need to serve a variety of library patrons from diverse fields and disciplines.

What is your dream job and why?

My dream job is to work as a humanities subject librarian in an academic library. Academic research has always been more fun than daunting for me and I’m excited by the prospect of helping students and faculty research subjects I deeply care about.  

What has been your most memorable moment at SIM?

When I was applying for research funding in fall 2015, a number of faculty members very generously took the time to give feedback on my research proposal. This was invaluable and their willingness to support me through the funding application process remains very memorable. It is very welcoming and close-knit here; very much a community. Students, faculty and staff all know each other by name and there’s a real sense of congeniality and support.

DEBORAH HEMMING

Master of Library & Information Studies Candidate

Hometown

Port Williams, NS

Education

BA (English), University of King's College, 2011 / MA (English), McGill University, 2013

To be part of one of the smaller "big" institutions (Brian Lesser)

How does your experience at SIM compare with previous education you have received at other institutions?

It’s great to be part of one of the smaller “big” institutions because we have the breadth of academic fields and research interests of the biggest schools, without the feeling of getting lost in the crowd. I like being part of a smaller group of students in the MLIS – it’s great seeing many of the same faces in different classes and it also helps connect content from one class to the next. I also enjoy being able to establish working relationships with faculty members.

Why did you decide to pursue an MLIS degree?

I have been working in an information setting for quite a few years now (I am currently an Instructional Systems Architect with Dalhousie Libraries), but want to formalize and refine my skills so that I can move into leadership roles in the future. I’m also taking this opportunity to discover other areas of interest and possible alternate career paths where I can apply my experience.

What has been your most memorable moment at SIM?

A memorable moment was a recent all-students meeting where possible changes to the program and curriculum were being discussed. It was great to feel that our voices and opinions were an important part of the conversation, and also that we were being trusted to help shape the future of the school.

If you could describe SIM in one word, what would it be?

Welcoming.

BRIAN LESSER

Master of Library & Information Studies Candidate

Hometown

Annapolis Valley, NS

Education

BA (Political Science), Dalhousie University, 2007

I was bored in my career and needed a change (Nicholas Manuel)

Why did you decide to pursue an MLIS degree?

I was bored in my career and needed a change. After some serious consideration, I realized there was a significant amount of overlap between my job at the time and the curriculum of the MLIS. The field of Library and Information Studies was a great way of combining what I enjoy in a job with my existing education in the liberal arts.

What attracted you to Dalhousie and SIM?

After reviewing the programs at several Canadian schools, I found that the Dal MLIS paid the right amount of attention to professional development, academic pursuit, and offered flexibility with its interdisciplinary degrees. Halifax has always interested me as a city, and seemed like it would offer a good balance of small community with a lot of the services and amenities of a larger city.

What opportunities have you been introduced to since starting at SIM?

I was part of the planning committee for the Information Without Borders conference. I am looking forward to starting my practicum placement at the end of this term, as well as starting an internship this summer at the Kellogg Health Sciences library. I also travelled to Ottawa for a Management Career Services Tour during winter break which provided a lot of valuable insight into job prospects and advice from working professionals in various LIS fields. There are so many opportunities to get great experience outside of your classes and I would stress to any incoming student to take advantage of as many as possible.  

What are your career goals?

I am open to any field of work in the field of library or information management. At the moment I have a preference for health science IM but I am also interested in IM in a business setting. I hope to work up to a management role in an organization, as I previously enjoyed the challenge that comes with management positions.

NICHOLAS MANUEL

Master of Library & Information Studies Candidate

Hometown

Harrow, Ontario

Education

BA (English Literature and Language), University of Windsor, 2010

Impressed with Dal alumni and faculty recognition both locally and globally (Zara Palevani)

Why did you choose Dalhousie and SIM?

I was looking for a university with global rankings and I was impressed with DAL alumni and faculty recognition both locally and globally. I already had a solid understanding of the business environment as a result of working in the field, and I was looking for a program to help me build on this. I chose SIM because it allows me to design a program that is in line with my career goals. After graduation I want to help organizations to democratize data, create data literacy, and nurture analytics knowledge and talent in Canada. 

What has been your favourite course so far?

"INFO 5570: Organizational Management and Strategy". This course introduced me to the best in strategic planning and management tools. Class discussions, readings, guest visitors, and the on-site visit taught me about management tools and strategic execution of strategies in the most practical way possible. 

What opportunities have you been introduced to since starting at SIM?

I have served and continue to participate in various committees, events and programs on campus, including the Information Without Borders conference, SIMSA, DALConnect (a leadership certificate program), the IBM Blue Mix Hackathon, the NS Health Hackathon, and the NSCAD IDEA boot camp stipend program. I am looking forward to completing my Practicum at the NS Department of Internal Services in June. 

What advice would you give someone just starting the MLIS program?

Keep the lines of communication open and learn from faculty and students in all programs. Be open to change, don't be shy to ask questions, join associations and societies to make connections, and give back to your community by sharing what you learn at SIM (people who can advocate for, socialize and evangelize data and information are in high demand). 

ZARA PALEVANI

Master of Library & Information Studies Candidate

Hometown

Tehran, Iran

Education

BComm (Marketing/Psychology), Dubai Campus-Southern New Hampshire University/Saint Mary's University, 2008