MAC Student Scholarship Winners Reflect on the Annual Conference

Julie Greenberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Although I am still undecided about my future career path, I was truly grateful to be able to participate in the MAC Student Vision Scholarship program.  It provided multiple opportunities to meet practicing librarians in the health sciences, opportunities to network with other MLS students, and a chance to see and engage with a variety of exciting research emerging from this field.  The conference programs offered a first-hand look at the work and issues that health science librarians are involved in, as well as an opportunity to ask questions and hear the perspectives of other practicing librarians.  In addition to providing this in-depth introduction to the profession, the program’s resume workshop allowed me to get expert feedback and insight from several library directors that will aid my future career development.

In particular, I was grateful for the opportunity to present and share the research that I worked on this summer at the Health Sciences Library at UNC-Chapel Hill.  It was fantastic to be able to share what we learned about scholarly communications and open access at the poster session with a curious and receptive audience.  As a first-time presenter, I can’t imagine a more welcoming and supportive environment than the MLA community.  It was a pleasure and a privilege to participate in this year’s annual conference, and I hope that I will have the opportunity to enjoy many more in the future.


Rachel Lerner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

My experiences at the MAC-MLA 2010 conference were all positive. Due to a prohibitive class schedule, I was unable to participate in all of the sessions I would have liked to attend; the sessions I attended, however, were well prepared and extremely interesting.  I had the privilege of attending all of the Student Vision Scholar Program activities, of which the résumé clinic was the most fruitful and beneficial; it was extremely helpful to have seasoned librarians review my materials and comment. The critiques were constructive, insightful, and invaluable to my fast-approaching job search. I found some of the language critique to be particularly helpful, as I am exploring options in the corporate sector. Some of my wording was too library-centric, and one of the directors had some incredible advice on reworking the language on my résumé to appeal to a broader audience.

Another aspect of the program I found valuable was the mentor program. Although I did not spend too much time with my mentor, it was very helpful to have someone to meet with at the beginning of the welcome dinner. My mentor introduced me to some of her colleagues, which made me feel more comfortable introducing myself to others at the dinner.

In summary, the Student Vision Scholar Program was an exceptional experience and I would gladly participate again if I could. Both the program activities and presenting a poster were valuable professional experiences that I will use constructively, especially at my next conference. Thank you for the opportunity to participate in the program.


Patricia Rogers Ramadan, North Carolina Central University

One beautiful morning in September, I woke up as a recent MLS grad student; and in the opening of an email, I became a 2010 MAC Student Vision Scholar.  It was one of the proudest days of my life.  As I pondered in delight about this new career opportunity, I knew I would present the passion and eagerness I possess to join this network of health science librarians.  As a newcomer in the librarian field, I realized I had one challenge–to communicate to the health science librarian community, my desire to join the most-valued profession.

I engaged this opportunity and communicated my goals during the MAC Welcome Reception, the MAC Conference, the MAC Dine Arounds and the Resume Clinic/Speed Mentoring session.  I was so excited about attending each session, especially since I would meet health science librarians, engulfed with warm and friendly faces, at each session.  Communicating was a breeze with MAC members, MAC Student Vision Scholars and other Information and Sciences graduate students.  Each session was very informative and supportive to my interest and goals.  I felt at home, in the midst of a network of diverse health science professionals, the best kind.

I will always remember this Conference and the many health science librarians, students and leaders I met.  Thank you for motivating, encouraging and offering me good professional advice and options.  I look forward to joining the health science librarian field, the best kind. 


Lindsey Main, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

I had a fantastic experience at MAC-MLA as part of the Student Vision Scholarship program.  Having the opportunity to meet and share research with librarians outside of my institution already immersed in the health sciences was extremely rewarding.  While I enjoyed the conference sessions on the whole, I think that I benefited most from the speed-mentorship/resume clinic and conference buddy aspects of the program.  Everyone was positive, constructive, and more than willing to impart their thoughts and experiences on working with health information.  I left my first professional conference enthusiastic and brimming with new ideas to take back with me for further exploration.  Moving forward, I am eager to remain an active part of the medical library community.


Lynnelle Fowler-McDonald, North Carolina Central University
I am so grateful for the opportunity that the MAC committee provided for me. They elected me as one of the recipients of the 2010 MAC Student Vision Scholarship.  I was provided with one of the “BEST” mentor’s in the profession, Ms. Debbie Berlanstein. We became acquainted with one another at the MAC/MLA reception on Wednesday night.  Debbie provided me with a wealth of important information about her experience in the Medical Library profession and introduced me to people in the process.  On Thursday a resume clinic was provided to all of the 2010 MAC Student Vision scholars. There were a total of 8 Director’s from various library school regions who participated in the resume clinic.  Each scholar spent 5 minutes with each director to receive their suggestion on what that student should do to improve their resume’.  I was also able to assist one of my professors Dr. Deborah Swain with a post presentation on Friday.  The topic was “Eagles E Health Project for Campus and Community”.  This entire event was a wonderful and educational experience for me.  In order to get an insight on how wonderful the Medical Librarian profession can be, I would advise anyone to attend the MAC/MLA conference before completing their Masters program.  The MAC conference is a place where librarians can receive CE credits, network with others in the profession and learn about the new updates with NLM and MLA.  I will definitely be at the MAC MLA conference next year! 


Lisa Philpotts, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

With funding in many libraries being particularly tight right now, I’m especially grateful that the MAC Student Vision Scholarship Program gave me the chance to attend my first professional conference. Overall, I was extremely pleased with the program.  Throughout the conference, I found that medical librarians are quite the friendly bunch, and everyone was very welcoming to me, especially when they found out I was a student scholar.  At the welcome reception, I met my MAC Buddy, Kristen Young, who was eager to answer any questions I had about health sciences librarianship and the conference.  On Thursday and Friday, I attended a variety of interesting panels and presentations, and what I really appreciated was the chance to network with other library professionals.  The poster sessions gave me the opportunity to present a professional poster to my colleagues, and it was great to bond over conversations about innovative library services, as well as shared challenges that we face.  Over dine-arounds and lunch roundtables, I learned about the wide variety of opportunities in the world of health information by asking conference attendees about their careers, including getting the inside scoop on the NLM Associate Fellowship program from current Fellows and Program Coordinator Kathel Dunn. 

My favorite part of the Student Program was undoubtedly the Resume Clinic/Speed Mentoring session. Eight library directors kindly volunteered their time to critique our resumes, give us career advice, and answer any lingering questions we had about the profession.  I have been lucky to have many local mentors in my time as a library parapro, but to be able to get honest advice from influential library directors across the Mid-Atlantic region was an amazing opportunity!   I would recommend the program to any student considering a career as a health information professional, and sincerely hope it will be continued to be offered in the future.  

Susan Forgrave, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

It was a true honor and pleasure to attend the MAC-MLA conference especially as a Vision Scholar. I have never been recognized before so this experience will always hold a special place in my heart. I feel privileged to have been in the presence of such greatness, experience and wisdom.  Everyone was so friendly and kind.  I learned so much in a short period of time that potentially could have taken me months or longer otherwise.  The resume clinic was very helpful and I want to express my gratitude to everyone who shared their valuable time to participate.  It is seldom in life that we have the opportunity for such guidance.  My university does not have any classes for medical librarianship so this was the only place for me to receive such guidance and knowledge.  I am also the only student that I have found to be interested in this aspect of librarianship as well.

I would like to express special thanks to Bart Ragon for organizing and planning the scholarship. Also to Anne Powers for taking me under her wing, watching over me and introducing me to so many wonderful people. Also to Claire Meissner for providing guidance at the conference and sharing her experiences with me. Also to Dr Dorothy Spencer for chatting with me in the hotel lobby and sharing the news of ECU and providing guidance. Also thank you to Kathel Dunn for discussing the fellows program with me. Many, many
thanks to everyone else I met and whom shared their experiences and knowledge with me. Last but not least, The Bearded Pigs, Rock!

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