Unpacking an Interdisciplinary Experience: Reflections from a Data Science Student

Elizabeth Hanley Not too long ago, we had project-wide midpoint check-ins where lab members came together in small groups to discuss our experiences so far in the Library as Research Lab project. Many of the topics had to do with how the skills learned in this project differ from - or augment - our experiences in the classroom at the School of Information. Being a project member who hails from the School of Information Data Science track, I had a lot of thoughts about the value of being an interdisciplinary student that I wanted to continue unpacking after the focus group. Not only has this program been deeply influential in shaping my academic trajectory at UMSI, but it has influenced how I think about my future career as well. More than just a research project, the Library as Research Lab program has helped me better articulate who I want to be as a data scientist.

Library as Research Lab’s Lessons Reach Beyond the Classroom

Elizabeth Hanley As one of the fortunate students who has been able to participate in the Library as Research Lab project since it began in Winter 2018, this program has deeply shaped my time at the School of Information. In returning to this program for a second year, I’ve discovered that staying with a project long-term teaches a set of valuable professional skills that can’t always be covered in a semester-long class. Being a member of the Library Assessment of Student Learning Lab throughout the course of my time at UMSI has taught me to take ownership of the research process in a way that, to me, feels meaningful and fulfilling. Participating in this program has pushed me to grapple with ambiguity, think deeply about how to ask meaningful questions, and draw real-world conclusions from our findings. I’ve had the chance to watch our research evolve from the very beginning stages until now, when we’re starting to see our work accepted at conferences and shared more broadly in the community.