Student Employee’s Drawings are the Cat’s Meow

When Xinjian Cen applied for a student outreach position at Powell Library her freshman year, she couldn’t have imagined how her artistic flair and an idea inspired by Powell Cat—a beloved tuxedo cat who has adopted the UCLA campus as their home—would engage students in a fun and surprising way.

A member of Powell’s digital and in-person student outreach team, Xinjian regularly employs her illustration and graphic design skills to develop content promoting Library events and resources. She has helped create online Stressbusters care packages to support student wellness during finals week, and in her role as a member of the Writing Instruction + Research Education (WI+RE) program, she has designed learner-centered tutorials for fellow students.

Xinjian first illustrated Powell Cat in 2020 for the Library’s Instagram channel. When the campus returned to in-person instruction in fall 2021, Xinjian proposed offering Powell Cat-themed buttons in conjunction with a Halloween book display. The “Powelloween” button was an instant hit, with stock quickly being depleted and the Library Instagram account flooded with messages clamoring for more.

This came as no surprise to Xinjian’s supervisor Hannah Sutherland, instruc- tional design and technology consultant. “Not only is she a wonderful artist, but her intuition about what students will respond to is so incredibly valuable.”

Xinjian will graduate in 2024 with her B.S. in molecular, cell and developmental biology and plans to pursue her Ph.D.

“For the past two years, working with the library has been one of the most rewarding experiences for me. It has definitely shaped me into the person I am today,” said Xinjian. “In addition to hard skills, I was also able to gain valuable social and interpersonal skills when collaborating with other Library staff and interacting with campus partners.”

Student workers rely on the Library for professional experience and income to help fund their education, and the Library relies on student workers to help keep our 10 locations running smoothly. To help support job opportunities for students, please contact Library Development at (310) 206-8526 or giving@library.ucla.edu.