After graduating from college in China, in August 2008 I came to SILS with the dream of becoming a user experience professional. I was fortunate enough to receive the CALA scholarship which supported me financially during my first year of education in the United States. More importantly, it granted me the opportunity to work in the East Asian Collection Department in the University Library. I had the chance to work closely with librarians, study valuable Chinese materials and receive a good understanding of what librarianship is from the perspective of being in the field. My first year of SILS life was also my first year of life in the United States. I still remember my advisor, Dr. Barbara Wildemuth, telling me to take time to adjust to life when I first met her. She is a warm, insightful, and knowledgeable advisor.
During my second year at SILS, I joined the research projects group advised by Dr. Javed Mostafa and Dr. Jane Greenberg. I found my passion of implementing ideas while working on the HIVE and SPIROMICS projects, though I still was especially passionate about user experience. By becoming a research assistant, I also found and appreciated a better understanding of subject matters such as information retrieval, metadata, information organization, and medical informatics. I also figured out that I needed more hands-on experiences before I could assess research from a practical yet comprehensive point of view (although I think I am still seeking). Thanks to Dr. Greenberg, who told me when I was trying to decide my path, "Lina, you should trust your instinct," I decided to become a practitioner in the hi-tech industry for my post SILS life. I also must thank Dr. Javed Mostafa, who always helped me when I needed assistance. The picture of him sitting under the sun in front of Manning Hall contemplating big ideas is one of the most impressive moments of my life at SILS.
Reflecting on my past SILS life, I think the best things SILS gave me are: supportive and knowledgeable faculty who truly cares about students, a diverse student group, a network of friends who share the same thoughts, the opportunities and freedom to find out what you truly want when you are searching, and the right attitude to approach the unknowns.
I joined Research In Motion (RIM) as a Software Developer right after I finished my internship at IBM. Right now, I am working on improving the quality of an in-market Blackberry product. I can conclude that my daily activities at RIM are solving puzzles. I am enjoying my first professional job, and I believe the education I received at SILS well prepared me for this job, as well as any future endeavor I may have.