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Emily Holland

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’14 English | Student Success Librarian, Mount St. Mary’s University | New Oxford, PA
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Emily Holland

Liberal Arts Major: English

Current Location: New Oxford, PA

What enrichment activities did you participate in as a student?

I was able to intern briefly with Dr. Sabra Statham on The People’s Contest project, a cooperative effort of University Libraries and the Richards Center. It was my first exposure to archives management-style work. We traveled to a number of sites throughout the Commonwealth to collect data for the project. I also transcribed Philip K. Dicks journals as part of a senior project with Dr. Richard Doyle. That was wild!

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

My first job after graduating from Penn State was working for the Center for Performing Arts at Penn State while I waited to begin graduate school in fall 2015. It was a great job with awesome people, and I was sad to leave it when I moved out of the area.

Who was your favorite faculty member?

The late Dr. John Bardi was the most important professor of my college career. Dr. Bardi had a particular knack for making his students feel seen and validated. I was thrilled to have him attend my wedding, and now that he has passed, the photos we took with him at that time have even greater meaning.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for life after graduation?

I went to grad school nervous for the big leagues, but upon arrival, I felt entirely prepared to undertake graduate-level coursework. I credit my Penn State education for preparing me for both the demands of a master’s curriculum and for my first professional positions.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

My advice to those who are uncomfortable with the concept of networking is to try to find ways to network that are within your realm of comfort. Maybe cocktail hours sound miserable. That's okay—you don't have to start there. Start by getting matched one-on-one with a mentor perhaps or making connections with colleagues within your organization who have lots of connections in your field. Attend those dreaded cocktail hours with that mentor or that well-networked colleague, and ask that person to make some introductions. Eventually, you will meet some people and begin to become comfortable navigating that previously uncomfortable networking terrain on your own.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

While I was still an undergrad, I expected that I would go into special librarianship—perhaps archives management or conservation—but my Penn State alumni mentor was an academic librarian. Even so, we had great discussions about what I should focus on and the opportunities I should search for as I went off to grad school. Ultimately, I ended up in academic libraries, and this is right where I am meant to be. I credit my mentor for exposing me to the ins and outs of the various types of librarianship during my “formative years.” I thought I knew where I wanted my career to take me, but instead, I've gotten to run a trajectory. It’s been great!

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