As an education major determined to graduate in four years, Lindy Scripps-Hoekstra ’07 kept busy with a hefty course load and a focus on her goal of becoming a history teacher.
“I was certain I would be a history teacher forever!” says Lindy.
After graduating, Lindy pursued her goal and moved to Yuma, Arizona, to teach high school history. In this role, her career path began to take on a new direction.
“As a teacher in a large and under-funded high school, providing my students with access to the school library’s resources was particularly frustrating,” Lindy explains. “On the rare occasion when I was able to book the computer lab for a research assignment, I realized that my students were information illiterate, and our time was wasted.”
After three years of teaching, Lindy decided to switch careers to become an academic librarian, something she had never even considered as a student at Calvin. Lindy pursued this field with the hope of helping students, particularly those from a disadvantaged background, navigate the challenging terrain of college-level research.
In 2012, Lindy earned her master’s degree in library and information science from Dominican University and took her current position as a librarian at Grand Valley State University. Her position centers on providing support for her liaison departments: Area and Religious Studies. This includes research instruction for students in those courses, assisting faculty, and building the related print/electronic collections. She also works with new freshmen, teaching them essential research skills.
“I love teaching students the research skills they need to succeed in academia, particularly first-year students who are new to university culture and can be intimidated by the abundance of information available,” says Lindy.
Preparing to pursue a career as an academic librarian, Lindy recognized that the field would be rewarding, but also that the job market would be fairly tight. Consequently, while in graduate school, she took advantage of opportunities to make herself as marketable as possible by developing her technological skills, volunteering, and seeking out part-time employment to gain on-the-job experience.
This experience of marketing herself in a competitive job market made Lindy realize the kinds of skills and experiences employers are looking for in candidates, no matter what career field someone is pursuing.
“Employers and search committees see stacks of resumes and you will stand out if you went the extra mile to seek out practical experience and develop skills related to your field of study,” Lindy advises. “Make sure to work on your ‘soft skills’ early; take a speech class to develop your public speaking confidence, use group-based assignments as a chance to improve your collaborative and interpersonal skills. Employers are looking for candidates who not only look good on paper but will be a good fit in today’s highly collaborative workplace.”
Lindy is happy to answer questions about teaching in Arizona or about librarianship; feel free to contact her. (email@example.com)
Written by Meredith Segur, posted July 2014