Name, Major, Position Title
My name is Taylor Sieverling, Biology major with minors in Public Affairs and Environmental Systems and Society, Peer Research & Writing Specialist for Food: Lens for Environment and Sustainability (Cluster M1).
Why were you interested in working at the UCLA Library?
I was drawn to the library because I knew that I’d have a more well-rounded education and the ability to contribute to a renowned institution. Through my role, I have the opportunity to enhance my own research and writing skills. I knew that I’d become a more holistic thinker with the tools to succeed not only in future classes but post-graduation as well. At the same time, I am honored to help forward the library’s mission. I often walk through the stacks in awe with the amount of knowledge and expertise housed within the library. I feel inspired by the dedication each person has towards their discipline and proud to help share this information.
What is your favorite thing about working at the UCLA Library?
By far, I most enjoy how I get to support students both in their academic and personal development. As UCLA students, we have access to the library’s plethora of information, and I want all students to take advantage of this privilege. Through my role, I’m able to share these resources, helping spark their interests and broaden their skillsets. Beyond exposing students to the library system, I directly support their writing and research development and I often see the student's self-confidence and excitement grow. It is humbling to know that I can have a positive impact beyond myself. Finally, I take great pride in my role as a peer available to help first-year students feel like they belong. Being from out of state, I understand the challenge of acclimating to a different environment, so I make it a priority to support students as they navigate the vastness of UCLA. Helping just one student find their footing gives me a greater sense of purpose and connection to the university community myself.
What accomplishment/contribution are you most proud of in your role with the UCLA Library?
During the spring quarter of my first year in the position, I was offered the opportunity to collaborate with Writing Instruction + Research Education (WI+RE) to create a resource of my interest. With the support of cluster library liaisons, a fellow PR&WS, and a WI+RE team member, we produced a Misinformation Toolkit. This resource addresses misinformation as a systematic issue and encourages users to take a collaborative approach to reflecting on and examining misinformation. The toolkit provides instructors with a collection of learning objectives, activities, and additional resources that can be tailored to their specific content and students.
Cluster M1’s library liaisons and I have used this toolkit to create our own Misinformation Research Workshop which continues to be facilitated during one of the M1 lectures. During this session, students examine cases of misinformation from social media, practicing the strategies for identifying and thinking critically about this information. The toolkit has also helped create the winter writing assignment wherein students are required to perform an independent analysis of misinformation in the context of their paper’s topic. Considering the prevalence and dangerous nature of misinformation, this toolkit symbolizes an important responsibility of academia to produce intellectuals who scrutinize information in their studies and daily life.
What hard/soft/leadership skills have you learned from working here?
While my role has undoubtedly supported my academic and professional development, it has also taught me to be more compassionate and open-minded. On nearly a daily basis, I converse with people of all different backgrounds and with varying interests and perspectives. Through these sessions, I’ve become more empathetic and curious. In a world of hate and judgment, it is increasingly important to model the values we desire to live among.
What are your future career goals? What transferrable skills have you obtained from your role that you think will help you achieve your goals?
My ultimate goal is to effect positive sustainable change in an interdisciplinary, robust way. Presently, I see green finance as a vehicle for this mission, a tool to leverage the current economic system to promote sustainability. Due diligence and informed decision-making are essential skills for investing, and I believe that my role has equipped me with strong, adaptable research techniques that will enable me to make prudent decisions, investment-related or otherwise. Equally critical is the ability to think independently, to nurture novel ideas that foster progress, a foundational element for any sustainability-related solution. My role within the library provides me with the autonomy to pursue my ideas, giving me three years of practice exercising my agency to develop new strategies. Finally, I have developed versatile communication skills through my constant engagement with cluster team members and patrons. As a Peer Research & Writing Specialist, I’ve gained experience adapting my communication style to each unique student. At the same time, I’ve learned how to advocate for students and express my insights in a professional way to the teaching team. Strong communication skills are vital for creating a collaborative, holistic solution. Therefore, with this asset, I believe that I will work productively within teams throughout my career.
If you could only share the one most important thing about how the library has helped you in your academic and/or professional career, what would it be?
Confidence. The library has helped me develop confidence in my own intellect, in my ability to engage with faculty and staff, and in my sense of belonging to UCLA. While feelings of imposter syndrome still do arise, I am far more secure in my self-worth. I know this confidence will give me the courage to seek out opportunities and remain resilient when I encounter challenges. I am excited to see where this confidence will take me because believing in yourself is the first step to achieving your aspirations.