MACMLA 2019 – Student Vision Scholarship Reflections


My name is Heidi Reis and I was the 2019 recipient of the MAC student vision scholarship. As part of the scholarship, I am supposed to write about my experiences with the meeting. I was not sure who to contact to give my post so I am attaching my post to the submission form! Please let me know if I should edit my post. Also, what is  the best way for me to contact whoever is in charge of the MAC Messages Blog? Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

My Blog Entry

MAC annual meeting was my first professional conference and it surpassed my already high expectations. I felt a little  nervous and even slightly out of place walking up to the registration table around noon on Saturday, but was soon put at ease by the friendliness of the MAC members manning the table, and that set the tone for the whole meeting for me. Everyone I met kindly shared their experiences working in medical/health sciences libraries and gave me wonderful career advice. It was also exciting to circulate during the poster session and see where some of the concepts I am learning in school, like critical librarianship, come into play in libraries. One of the more memorable and exciting instances during the conference was listening to the first paper in Paper Session 1, Beyond the Numbers: Performing a qualitative analysis of nursing chats to assess and improve library health sciences services, and thinking “Wait, this is similar to my DMS project–how serendipitous!” (DMS/Design Methods Sequence is a yearlong class  at Pitt where we work in a group to solve a problem in a real library). I furiously took notes and spoke to Samantha Harow afterword get a more in-depth understanding of the research process they used. The other papers were very interesting to hear about too, but it was heartening to connect my MLIS schoolwork and learning with current research of practicing health sciences librarians. Other memorable events for me was  the new member meet-and-greet, where I got to speak to some early career and experienced librarians as well as meet the current crop of fellows for the NLM fellowship I am very interested in applying too. I also appreciated the opportunity to have my resume and cover letter reviewed by two experienced librarians–I learned some great tips about making my resume and cover letter specific to any job I apply for! I though the plenary speakers  were very engaging and both brought very interesting perspectives on working in the health field. It was a relief to know that others felt overwhelmed and unprepared while working as librarians during Will Bynum’s lecture about shame in higher education. There was even an exciting and apropos smoking projector and almost fire during Sara Garrington’s lecture about working as a Department of Health Emergency Preparedness Response Manager in Colorado! I found the MAC conference to be an incredible networking and career building experience and I hope to return next year with my MLIS in hand. 


Heidi Reis

MLIS candidate, University of Pittsburgh



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