Alumni Spotlight: Dawn Sedor
M.S. Knowledge Management '19
Science Librarian, NASA Glenn Research Center
Dawn is a Science Librarian at NASA Glenn Research Center. After transitioning to a virtual work environment due to the pandemic, a significant part of her job involves figuring out how to support her patrons’ research needs remotely, including implementing a content management system to support learning and development. Without access to their physical collection, her team is focused on establishing a 21st century special library, providing traditional library services while expanding into a hub for the Agency’s data and a center for collaboration, learning, and knowledge dissemination.
“As NASA looks to define its post-pandemic workplace, some of that research has centered on the future of work, a fascinating subject that sometimes seems like a mashup of a Ready Player One and The Office,” Dawn says. “The emphasis on digital transformation is also giving me a chance to exercise my data visualization skills, and in particular, the disruption of COVID-19 has knowledge management and business intelligence services in greater demand.”
"A somewhat ironic development resulting from the pandemic is that although so many of us are working in isolation, there’s a premium on those who work well together with others. Grace is the new soft skill, and I think that is one of the most wonderful things to emerge from this dark time."
COURSEWORK & SKILLS
Dawn took Intro to Data Science and Enterprise Architecture, both part of the Digital Sciences program. The skills she learned in these electives helped make her a valuable hire in a forward-thinking, 21st century library. One of the courses that Dawn uses the most in her work is Knowledge Organization Systems and Structures, a required course for both the KM and UXD programs. “It’s worthwhile to observe the different approaches KM, UXD, and LIS students took to class projects,” Dawn says. She also suggests taking Semantic Analysis, Methods, and Technologies because it introduces the increasingly important topics of Artificial Intelligence, cloud computing, and machine learning.
While at the iSchool, Dawn interned as an Engineering Knowledge Manager at Safran Electrical and Power, an international aerospace company. During her internship, she designed a wiki from scratch featuring information for engineers, like best practices and lessons learned. To start, she met with centers of excellence (COEs) to create mind maps which pinpointed high-level categories like tools, materials, and architecture. From there, she built a taxonomy, designed wireframes and data models to develop a standard layout for the pages, and wrote a content and style guide for users. She then crafted training materials and led training sessions for users in the U.S., England, and France. One of her favorite projects involved creating user surveys and producing a final report of her findings and recommendations. Dawn was invited back for a second rotation during which she created a dashboard for analytics.
In 2019, Dawn received a full student scholarship to the Special Library Association’s (SLA) Annual Conference in Cleveland. At the conference, she networked with local information professionals and connected with others across the nation that have helped her in her career. In 2020, Dawn received the Thomas B. Froehlich Award for academic excellence and promise in the knowledge management field.
CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT & PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZATIONS
Dawn was one of the founding members of the iSchool Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) and served as its President. The organization’s goal is to provide a platform for online students to connect and network. “I wanted to find ways to bring people together, to help one another with coursework, recommend classes or simply to commiserate, and to create the foundations of a professional network,” she says. “To have even a small group of fellow students to share insights and encouragement made such a difference in my graduate experience.” Now, she is a member of the SLA and a member of the SLA’s Knowledge Management and Competitive Intelligence divisions. As part of the Kent State’s Knowledge Management Master’s Degree Program Board of Advisors, she also is helping to develop a world-class program alongside industry thought leaders.
LANDING THE JOB
Dawn spent 12 years raising three children and working in her community, which made finding a job challenging due to the gap in her resume. HR often viewed her as having too much education for entry level positions, but not enough recent experience for senior positions. She focused her job search on larger organizations and companies that would give her space to develop professionally; however, she discovered that mid-level positions often are posted publicly, but filled internally. “Ultimately it was another Kent State iSchool alum who took a chance on me,” Dawn says. “Never underestimate the power of your network!”
ADVICE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS
Dawn encourages students to take electives outside of their program to broaden their perspectives and skillsets. She also recommends taking advantage of the Career & Exploration Development Department’s free virtual services, which include resume reviews, cover letter assistance, and mock interviews. Dawn suggests joining the LinkedIn groups for the iSchool, the UXD program, and the KM program to network with fellow students and alumni. As far as skills that companies are looking for in new hires, she highlights the need for understanding virtual collaboration tools, as well as soft skills like grace and empathy.
Dawn is open to connecting with iSchool students via LinkedIn.
Learn about other successful iSchool graduates in our Alumni Spotlights.
POSTED: FRIDAY, APRIL 9, 2021 - 1:46PM | WRITTEN BY: JULIA STONE