A Unique Opportunity in Two Fields

Entering her freshman year at Kent State, Masters of Library Science student Kreigh Barnette knew she wanted to study library and information science, but struggled to find a major that fit her desired career path. That was until she discovered the Communications Studies major. 

Barnette became interested in the major upon reading its mission and diversity statements, in addition to the combined Masters of Library Science program. 

“I learned about the combined program from my academic advisor, Ellie Hanson,” Barnette said. “She was instrumental in my academic career and guided me every step of the way.” 

Barnette credits Hanson with reaching out to faculty and instructors in the iSchool, as well as continued student advocacy.

Reflecting on her undergraduate coursework, Barnette said the communication studies program allowed her to explore the significance of constructing shared meanings. 

“Communication is more than just transferring information,” Barnette said. “This instilled in me the importance of listening, adapting, and appreciating diverse perspectives for more meaningful interactions.”

During her application process for the combined program, Barnette was able to learn more about the iSchool’s stellar reputation and impact in the library science field. 

“The flexibility of the program appealed to me the most,” Barnette said. “The virtual nature of the program is unique in that my instructor and peers are not local, so I get to work with people all over the country.”

When narrowing down a specialization, Barnette was fortunate to connect with the University Library’s Special Collection and Archives, leading to a position as an undergraduate assistant in the department. 

“The practical experience was invaluable and gave me insight I would not have otherwise had,” Barnette said. “I was able to apply the skills and experience gained in my job to class discussions in my graduate level courses.” 

In addition, Barnette was able to talk with her professors and build strong academic relationships to give her the confidence she needed to apply for the combined program. 

“My instructors allowed me to tailor assignments and projects to incorporate both fields,” Barnette said. “Having the autonomy to do so gave me confidence in my personal academic journey.”

These professors ultimately served as Barnette’s biggest mentors and instructors who shaped her undergraduate career. 

“I’m glad I had a support network that showed me grace and patience to help me navigate the process and smoothly transition from one degree to the other,” Barnette said. 

Although she is early on in her master’s program, Barnette highly recommends this combined program for those beginning courses for their communication studies concentration.

“Both programs hone critical thinking skills, research methods, information literacy and how to dynamically disseminate information to different audiences,” Barnette said. “The program offers a unique opportunity to build a strong foundation in two complementary fields.”

Leaving a few words of advice to those interested in the program, Barnette urged students to take advantage of opportunities to connect with professors and professionals in both fields. 

“Building a strong network can help you gain valuable insights and mentorship,” Barnette said. “Being open to exploring new concepts and adapting to changes and emerging trends in both areas is also so important.” 

POSTED: Wednesday, October 11, 2023 04:32 PM
Updated: Tuesday, October 17, 2023 03:17 PM
Blake Serrano