SILS welcomes new grad students at annual fall orientation

August 19, 2019

The UNC School of Information and Library Science (SILS) welcomed incoming master’s and doctoral students on Aug. 19 in Manning Hall. Students gathered in Manning 209, the building’s largest classroom, in the morning to hear from SILS Dean Gary Marchionini, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ron Bergquist, and Career Services Coordinator Lori Haight.

Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS) Program Coordinator Brian Sturm helped students learn more about SILS and each other. He shared facts about the incoming class, which includes students from the continental United States and Alaska, Cuba, India, China, Singapore, Malaysia, and Ireland.

He asked students to share what they felt passionate about, eliciting answers such as art and creativity, open access, intellectual freedom, self-guided learning, transparency and accountability in government, and correcting racial disparities in historical archives.

Sturm then had the students divide into small groups to choose an animal that embodied their personalities and professional goals. One group chose the otter because it was curious and independent, but maintained strong bonds with its community. Another group picked the owl, because grad school meant they’d probably be more nocturnal, and because the animal was reserved, resourceful, and observant. Crow (careful collector), mountain lion (adaptable and independent), and elephant (strong memory and community bonds) were among the other animals selected.

After the icebreakers, Sturm cautioned students to be careful with their time as they encountered the many opportunities available at SILS and Carolina, but encouraged them to connect with their classmates.

“The beauty of a residential degree is that you have the opportunity to sit next to each other in the classroom, to have conversations, and to cultivate friendships that will last throughout your career,” he said.

The first morning session concluded with recognition for three returning master’s students. Michael Millner (MSLS ’09), President of the Beta Phi Mu Epsilon Chapter, presented scholarships to the top performing student in the previous year’s Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS) program, Paul Khawaja, and the top student in last year’s MSLS program, Alexander Chisum.

Doug Diesenhaus (MSLS '12) told the new students about the events and opportunities organized by the SILS Alumni Association (SILSAA) and announced the recipient of the Elfreda Chatman Research Award for the best research proposal submitted in the spring of 2019. MSLS student Jordan Wrigley received the honor for her proposal, titled “A bibliometric analysis and mapping of maternal health publications associated with Millennium Development Goal 5.”

In the hour before lunch, students split into different groups for tours of the SILS Library and Lab, a student-led panel for international students, and an information session on obtaining North Carolina residency for tuition purposes. After lunch sponsored by SILS and SILSAA, tours continued and students had the chance to connect with student organizations during an ice cream social.  

Look for more photos on the SILS Facebook page.

Students talk in small groups in auditorium classroom.
Incoming SILS students broke into small groups to choose an animal
that best represetned their personalities and goals.