Trevor U. Watkins, M.L.I.S., 14, M.S., '16
Alumnus Trevor U. Watkins ’16 was working as a systems engineer at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County, and he wanted to better understand how the library functioned as an organization. The librarians he worked with spoke highly of Kent State University’s School of Information (iSchool), especially faculty member, Dr. Marcia Zeng. This further sparked Trevor’s interest – so he decided to visit the campus and learn more about the program.
The very first person he met when he arrived was Dr. Zeng herself. “She had an important meeting to go to,” Trevor recalled, “but she decided to cancel that meeting to answer all of my questions.” Based on the reputation of our faculty and that first meeting, Trevor decided to pursue a dual master’s in library & information science and knowledge management.
He found right away that the work he was doing professionally meshed well with what he was learning in the iSchool and those skills continue to influence his professional life today. “It would be difficult to single out one thing,” Trevor said. “I use so many on a daily basis -- UX design, metadata, taxonomies, data mining, visualization and aggregation and ontologies to name a few.”
"I love the library (as corny as it may sound), and have a passion for teaching, and working with students and faculty. I have an eclectic set of STEM skills and am fortunate enough to work at an institution that recognizes and supports my endeavors."
Trevor’s degrees from the iSchool gave him the opportunity to add technological skills and librarianship to his professional abilities. “My parents always expressed the importance of being flexible and multidimensional when it came to my career,” he said. “Never put all your eggs in one basket and never let anyone control your professional fate. People of color often have to deal with working in hostile environments, and I have been exposed to that many times. Going through the iSchool builds on my ability to work anywhere and in almost any capacity in the field.” Now he works as a Teaching and Outreach Librarian at George Mason University, University Libraries.
For those who might be considering one of the many graduate programs available at the iSchool, Trevor has this advice: “Come into the program with an idea of what kind of librarian you wish to be and where you would like to work. Do you wish to be an archivist? Systems librarian? Children’s librarian? Reference Librarian? Do you wish to work in a museum? Academic library? Public Library? It may change after you take a few courses, but it doesn’t hurt to have an idea of what you think you may want.”
If you or someone you know is currently looking to advance their career in library and information science related fields, visit our website today and find your dream job through the iSchool.
*In the photo, Trevor U. Watkins is presenting a poster (co-developed by Trevor Watkins, Cameron Hughes, Tracey Hughes, Lae'l-Hughes Watkins and Marcia Zeng) at The 2019 International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) conference in Greece.