Jordan Gabriel Gorzalski
Over the course of the semester I have been working with some amazing colleagues in a very ambiguous space. I am part of the Design Thinking for Library Services lab, and a lot of what we are doing involves designing in a gray area without a clear direction. I have been lucky enough to be working with two amazing peers, Sophia McFadden-Keesling and Caroline Schuitema, who have helped to keep me grounded as we design. We all work so well together and really play on each other’s strengths. Through the whole process, from designing to testing, I have learned so much from both of them. They both bring unique perspectives and skills that I do not possess which helps when assessing our progress and the weight of the changes we make.
In addition to working with my peer research fellows I have also had the pleasure of working with three University of Michigan librarians on our team. Having Laurie Alexander, Meghan Sitar, and Justin Schell on our team has been very helpful. They all have a much larger font of knowledge and breadth of experiences than my peers and I have and all of that has attributed to the success of our team. These librarians have been our guides, especially in the first few weeks of joining this lab. They have given us the resources and tools to be successful. Without their guidance it would have taken us a much longer time to get started and moving on our research.
Throughout the semester we have also been lucky enough to collaborate with two other librarians from the University of Michigan. Denise Leyton and Emily Petty Puckett Rodgers come from the Library Lifecycle team that initiated the project we are currently working on. Like Meghan, Justin and Laurie, Emily and Denise have a wealth of experience behind them. They bring a depth of knowledge about the core of our project and they have helped to shape how our project has transformed. Emily and Denise have helped to keep our designs grounded in the initial scope, the founding reason for the project, to help librarians identify gaps in knowledge.
All of these people have helped me to find a solid footing in an ambiguous space. When I started on this project at the beginning of the semester, I was so nervous. I have never done academic research before, I have never really done any research other than for papers and Chemistry in high school. I took a Research Methods course my first semester in graduate school, but I did not feel like I learned enough to perform solid research. I applied for this fellowship so that I could enhance my research skills. I was not expecting to learn so much about the many different aspects of librarianship from so many incredibly people. The mentors we have all excel in their fields and have given great advice. I am nervous about job hunting when all of this has ended, and all of the mentors have been supportive, offered advice, and shared stories about their experiences. When we have gotten stuck somewhere, or something did not go as planned, our mentors have been there for us offering advice and sharing anecdotes.
This semester has been incredible. I have enjoyed working on a unique project with a talented group of individuals. I am excited for what next semester brings for our team. Getting to know all of these people on a deeper level has been one of the best and most unexpected pieces of this fellowship.
Jordan obtained his BS in Management with an IT Specialization from Michigan State University in 2013. Currently he is pursuing his Master’s degree in Information with a focus on Libraries at the University of Michigan.