Kayanne Klipka, a 2017 graduate from the LIS program, is a featured student on DU’s special Commencement website. The following story, written by Jeremy Jones from DU’s Marketing and Communication Office, appears below.

As students across the country prepare for commencement, many will be faced with the important question of “now what?” Whether it’s continuing with their education, entertaining job offers or taking time to see the world, many are relying on a firm plan to guide their next steps.

For Kayanne Klipka, however, there is an excitement in not knowing exactly where the future will take her. Instead, she’ll let her own curiosity guide the way.

“My plans after graduation are to hold plans loosely,” says Klipka, who is earning her master’s in library information science (LIS) from the University of Denver’s Morgridge College of Education. “I’ve got an insatiable sense of curiosity and a pretty adaptable attitude. Hopefully with [my degree], my laptop and connections made at DU, I’ll be off on some pretty interesting adventures.”

The only adventure Klipka has planned at this point is a summer trip to Medellin, Colombia, where she plans to learn Ruby (a computer programming language), salsa and Spanish. After that, your guess is as good as hers — and that’s the way she likes it.

Spending time to experience another culture is well-deserved for someone who has spent the last two years working hard to earn her master’s while at the same time proving her theory that “all librarians are actually mad scientists,” a humorous statement she takes somewhat seriously.

Klipka has learned a lot as a graduate student, and having basically lived out of Ruffatto Hall during that time, she jokingly admits that she now knows which microwave heats soup most effectively and what corners are best for squeezing in a quick power nap between work and class.

“But seriously, my tenure at DU has been unique,” says Klipka, who worked as a graduate research assistant at the Marsico Institute for Early Learning and Literacy. “While most of my library school colleagues are graduating with a couple years of traditional library experience —which no doubt will serve them incredibly well in their careers — I’ve been practicing research data management on a true academic research team. I really think it has expanded my thinking about research and where else my library school skills can be applied.”

At Marsico, Klipka worked on a project referred to as LT Studies, or “learning trajectories.” Over the course of two years, she and other DU students spent time in preschool classrooms conducting math instruction with small groups of children using two different methods: traditional and learning trajectories — a more conscientious and tailored approach based on a child’s development, Klipka says.

In addition to her studies, the people Klipka has met, worked with and learned from have made her DU experience a memorable one.
“There have been so many people helping me through these last two years. I have felt wholeheartedly supported by my advisor Mary Stansbury, Professor Krystyna Matusiak and Kate Crowe, curator of special collections and archives,” Klipka says. “These women have helped me find my research interests, encouraged me to build collections around student activism and racial and ethnic minority students, and write and present research at conferences.”

Klipka also praised Stansbury for her receptiveness to the feedback she provided about the LIS program.

“I urged the LIS faculty to center more curriculum around serving diverse populations and recognizing our own biases. In response, Dr. Stansbury fought for funding to integrate the Intercultural Development Inventory into part of LIS student requirements,” Klipka says, adding that the integration enables students to recognize their own perspectives while becoming more interculturally competent.

With just a few days remaining until commencement, Klipka is preparing for her summer and is looking forward to seeing where her curiosity takes her. For those preparing to enter graduate school, Klipka encourages them to explore all the possibilities.

“Grad school is exactly what you make of it,” she says. “If you know what you want to do when you’re coming into a grad program, work like crazy at it but always leave yourself open to new opportunities.”

If I had it to do all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Like many twenty-somethings fresh out of undergrad, I landed in a position that felt more like a career than not, but certainly didn’t fulfill an all-encompassing life purpose. I was simply happy to be working in a position I enjoyed, not thinking too much about the next steps in my career path. I was fortunate to develop experience as a sales manager with a large and reputable company, which would later prove to be invaluable in my career change. But, as I eventually realized that particular job was not going to lead to a place of lasting interest to me, I had to decide how I was going to use the skills I had gained to work my way toward something more fulfilling.

A part time position at a public library lead me to discover something about myself. Whether it would be in libraries or another type of organization, I knew that I needed to pursue something that felt purposeful to me.

I decided it was important to obtain a Library Information Science degree, which would provide me with a basis of knowledge for a library position. I didn’t have a great deal of experience working in libraries, and felt that this would help prepare me for the type of work I was excited to begin doing.

I applied to a handful of LIS programs, and at the top of my list was the University of Denver and Morgridge College of Education’s LIS program. I wanted to be in Colorado if possible, and I wanted a program that would offer an in-person academic experience. Networking and learning from professionals face to face was one of my priorities, and DU delivered.

I was able to learn from many different professionals working in the field locally. The in-person program provided me with a variety of hands-on, practical experiences that boosted my knowledge and local support system. I graduated with my MLIS and a job in public libraries at the end of 2 years. And, during that time, I discovered a particular interest within libraries and non-profits I wouldn’t have known existed without going through the LIS program within Morgridge.

With the many opportunities the program led to, I discovered evaluation, analysis, and assessment in libraries and non-profits. The work is an excellent match to my passion that was there before I even knew what to do with it. While completing the LIS program, I became familiar with the Research Methods and Statistics program in MCE, and it proved to be the perfect avenue to continue my studies and deepen my focus in my chosen field. I’m completing my first year in the RMS doctorate program now, while continuing to work in public libraries, which will inform my work in research to come.

The faculty in MCE have been continuously supportive and steadfast in assisting me in reaching my goals. I’m continually challenged to think about my path, the steps I’m taking to get there, and how this is fulfilling my goal and professional purpose. My time working on my graduate studies at MCE has certainly shaped me as a professional, as an individual, as well as a seeker of education. Community and education is the thread of passion that links all MCE graduate students together. I’ve discovered that, as varied as our careers and interests are, our common goal is to do meaningful work in our fields.

 

This September, DU’s Library and Information Science (LIS) program at Morgridge College of Education had their annual Showcase of Opportunities event, highlighting InContext learning opportunities at community organizations across the Denver Metro. Throughout their coursework, all LIS students are encouraged to get hands-on experience by obtaining internships and volunteering at libraries, museums and other information settings, but second year students are required to complete a 4-credit practicum (including 100 hours of field work, class meetings and paperwork) before graduating. Dr. Clara Sitter, Clinical Associate Professor and LIS Program Coordinator, has been instrumental in helping students find their practicum experience by establishing connections with community organizations and field mentors, bringing them all together for one event. At this year’s Showcase of Opportunities, Librarians and representatives from over 30 organizations gathered in Ruffatto Hall to promote InContext learning opportunities, ranging from practicum work, internships (paid and unpaid), for-credit service learning, special projects and independent study. “We do brief introductions of the organizations at the beginning, then, students walk around and visit the tables they are interested in to find out more information,” Sitter explains.

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Having been in the library profession for over 30 years, and having coordinated LIS student practicums at DU for 14 years, Sitter has designed the Showcase around the networked career: “The Showcase offers an advantage for students to network and make connections with professionals and organizations in the area. Libraries love our students, and occasionally, students get hired by their practicum site.”

 

 

Although the Showcase of Opportunities includes mainly Denver Metro organizations, students aren’t limited in their choice of practicum: “We have great sites in the Denver metro area, but sometimes students want experience in another city or even abroad, so we’ve had students do their practicum work in Australia, England, Poland, Amsterdam, China, Chicago, and San Francisco, among others.”

At each practicum site, there is an MCE approved field mentor to provide the students with one-on-one guidance and support. Sitter elaborates: “We look for field mentors who have significant experience and who demonstrate expertise that pairs up with the interests of our students. Every practicum is different, but the student should be in learning mode (learning systems and instruction)10% of the time, and should be able to work 90% of the time.”

A practicum differs from an internship because it is student-oriented; students identify their own goals and objectives. Dr. Sitter works with each student to identify his or her goals and objectives in order to better suggest places that would promote his or her desired field learning environment. From there, the student sets up information interviews with several practicum sites and decides which one is the best fit. “In many cases, that initial connection with the organization was made at the Showcase of Opportunities,” she adds.

During their field experience, students keep a journal, posting weekly to reflect on their experience. “It is wonderful to see them at the beginning of their practicum experience, intimidated by users and unsure of a lot of things. In just 100 hours, the practicum experience usually confirms this choice of career and identifies where students want to work once they graduate,” Sitter remarks.

Morgridge College of Education’s Library & Information Science program is accredited by the American Library Association (ALA) and was the first program in the country to offer a focus in Early Childhood Librarianship. To learn more information about the LIS program, contact the Morgridge Office of Admissions.


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