Brianna Moscarelli, MLIS Student, Researches the Manhattan Project in Field Experience

April 1, 2024

Learning skills with meaningful, real-world impacts after graduation is essential for all students, particularly those at the graduate level. Students in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program like Brianna Moscarelli can network, build skills, and learn more about different career paths through the program’s field experience elective.

Moscarelli is completing her three-credit field experience at Ursinus College. There, she has participated in research on the Manhattan Project and Ursinus College’s contributions to it, including contributions from John DeWire, Ursinus College alum.

“Working at Ursinus College, I learned the importance of working with my co-librarians and how a library truly functions as a team,” stated Moscarelli. “I gained an appreciation for the history and culture of the college through my work in archives and metadata. Living rather closely to Ursinus College, I was able to get a glimpse of local history that I otherwise would not have the opportunity to learn.”

Rebecca J. Morris, a teaching associate professor in the Department of Information Culture and Data Stewardship, is the field experience coordinator for the MLIS program and has worked with Moscarelli on this experience.

“In the classroom component, students read about topics like mentoring, workplace conflicts, and self-care and wellness on the job. They then connect this to what they’re noticing in their respective professional settings,” said Morris. “Each semester brings a new set of students, some new and familiar organizations, and great opportunities to help students bridge their classroom learning and their professional ambitions.”

Over 130 hours, students work in professional settings like libraries and archives to gain on-site experience with library and information professionals. In addition to their on-site work, students must complete 20 hours of classroom meetings and discussions, designed and facilitated by Morris.

Moscarelli emphasizes the benefits that field experiences have for students academically and professionally. Through on-site experience, students learn to navigate different workplace environments and career paths in an effective and constructive way.

“In my field experience, I learned that while we want a better future for libraries and discuss the perfect and ideal wants and needs for the library, working in the position reminds us that we need to work to get there,” declared Moscarelli. “I found that working in the field experience was a great opportunity to apply the skills that our MLIS program provided in a situation where I can still learn, adapt, and be able to make errors while still having the guidance of a professor and supervisor.”

Moscarelli graduates from the MLIS program in April and intends to work as a librarian at a university. Her work at Ursinus College has provided insight into what career path she hopes to pursue after graduation.

“Currently, I work in an elementary school library as a Librarian Assistant and work part-time at Penn State University as a Libraries Specialist. I hope to move into a full-time role as a lead librarian,” remarked Moscarelli. “Librarians play an important role in research and resources for students, faculty, and staff. Without librarians working tirelessly to ensure that their online and physical collection is up-to-date, relevant, and accessible, colleges and universities would not have the resources and services that they currently have. Academia needs librarians.”

Learn more about Moscarelli’s research and the MLIS field experience!







Pictured at left is John DeWire ’38 and at right is Evan Snyder ’44. Portraits from Ursinus College Ruby yearbooks.

--Alyssa Morales