ESOPI-21 fellowship paves the way for dual degree

April 27, 2011

photo of Emily RoscoeStudent Emily Roscoe has been interested in the intersection of librarianship and government since her undergraduate years, when she was a Political Science and History major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  Currently seeking dual degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science (MSLS) and School of Government (MPA), Roscoe is in the second year of a three-year program that will credential her both as an information professional and public administrator.    

The recipient of a fellowship from the Educating Stewards of Public Information in the 21st Century Project (ESOPI-21), Roscoe has benefited from the professional opportunities this IMLS-funded project provides for students like her.  Since its inception in 2009, ESOPI-21 has sought to prepare the next generation of public information stewards by building on the dual degree program offered jointly by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Information and Library Science and School of Government.

As an ESOPI-21 fellow and student in this dual-degree program, Roscoe has had the opportunity to work in the Government Records Branch of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (Archives and History division), where she gained valuable experience under the professional guidance of Kelly Eubank, electronic records archivist; Becky McGee-Lankford, assistant state records administrator; and Jennifer Ricker, digital collections manager at the State Library.

"The knowledge I have gained and the opportunities I have been offered as a result of deciding to pursue a dual M.S.L.S and M.P.A. degree are priceless," Roscoe said.  "It is among what I consider to be the best decisions of my life.  Through the ESOPI-21 fellowship I have seen the strong interrelatedness of government (most specifically with public officials like the register of deeds) and the library science field.  It has been extremely valuable for me to see all sides of North Carolina State and local public offices -- the functions of government, the roles of both record-keeping and policy-making, and the value of professional advisors at the School of Government."

As part of her ESOPI-21 fellowship, Roscoe has produced a significant amount of work linked to the project, including the following publications:

In addition to producing these documents, Roscoe drafted other documents on digital permanence and preservation, updated the retention and disposition schedule for registers of deeds, co-published a School of Government Land Records Bulletin, and taught classes at the School of Government dealing with topics that ranged from the registers of deeds' public records to basic information literacy.

When asked how SILS has helped her accomplish her professional and educational goals, Roscoe focused on the knowledge and skill-set she has gained while a student. 

"SILS emphasizes the mastery of a specialized field of knowledge and skills, as well as emerging technologies," she says. "The school also encourages student initiative - especially with regard to professional pursuits and gaining job experience during school.  Investigating and sharing knowledge are the unifying themes of my studies and experience at SILS."

After graduation, Roscoe plans to continue research and teaching. 

"I plan to execute my advisory, reference and teaching skills in a professional setting," she says.  "I believe in becoming as well-versed in a subject as possible when asked to speak about the related issues and offer recommendations.  I like the idea of helping real people solve real problems.  It is clear that government has a need for dedicated, hard-working employees and I believe I have the traits that will benefit a public organization. I am interested in the system of democratic government and in its role in citizens’ lives.  I ultimately chose to pursue a public sector career because I believe I can help government organizations tackle the difficult and undesirable issues in order to provide services more efficiently."