Category Archives: Student Perspective

Deirdre Clifford’s Library Internship

Deirdre Clifford ’16 worked as an intern in the library working for the Web & Social Media team.  The library is grateful for Deirdre’s creativity and contributions.


During the spring of 2016, Deirdre Clifford ’16 worked as in intern for the MacPhaidin Library’s Web and Social Media Team. We were thrilled to have Deirdre work with us, voicing valuable opinions about marketing library services to students and writing articles for the library’s blog and newsletter. Deirdre hoped to get experience in marketing, content generation and research before looking for work in the publishing field after graduation.

In Deirdre’s own words:

I would strongly recommend Stonehill students interested in publishing to work with the MacPhaidin Library’s Web and Social Media Team. The experience I earned and the skills I acquired go a long way in developing understanding of a field like publishing. The team is devoted to working with students to help them learn the skills they need. There is an ideal mix of flexibility and responsibility that is invaluable to a student looking to really learn from their internship experience.




Senior Perspectives: Gavin Damore ‘16

Gavin Damore '16As I sat down to write my resume over the summer, it was impossible to fit all of the skills I acquired over the past few years while working at the MacPhaidin Library. My first few weeks here as a freshman, I started learning the basic concepts; how to put away books in call number order, how to use Sierra, and where to find various academic resources. Over the course of my three years, though, I picked up so many other skills that I’ll take with me as I prepare to leave Stonehill, hopefully delving into a public relations career within the theatre industry. Creating blog posts, I learned to write precisely while also getting students, faculty, and staff excited about the DisCo and other technological additions. Since I’ve worked in cataloguing, circulation, and the reference desk, sometimes all within one day, I know how to manage my time between different tasks, and after shifting and reorganizing the entire art book collection the summer before my freshman year, I definitely understand the satisfaction of working hard to complete a long project.

Working here also made my transition as a freshman much smoother than it might have been. Getting to know the librarians and circulation staff assured me that they are always here to help, and interacting with other students at the desk let me find friendly faces among my peers. Understanding how all of our academic databases work also made my academic life easier, especially as an English major who constantly uses ProjectMuse and interlibrary loan!

It’s still strange to think that I won’t be working with the library staff in just a few short weeks. While I’m excited to be moving on to new adventures, I won’t forget the wonderful three-and-a-half years I spent writing blog posts, shelving books, and being surrounded by such a friendly team.

Written by Gavin Damore ’16


Student Interview: Shannon Tully ’16

ShannonTully“One door opens and eight articles come out!”

Shannon Tully ’16 talks with librarian Liz Chase about their research meetings for her American Studies capstone project.

What course did you visit the library for help with?

AMS420, my seminar in American Studies; I was working on my American Studies Capstone paper.

What does your Capstone paper focus on?

My title is “Contained Representations of Austism and Audience (Dis)comfort. I’m looking at representations of autism and audience discomfort in scripted media, including Temple Grandin, Parenthood, and Rainman.

Tell me a little bit about deciding on your topic.

When I first started out I would say [my topic] was very broad, looking at autism representations in a lot of shows, but not anything specific. Autism is near and dear to my heart, I work with kids with autism. I’m an Elementary Ed major and planning to get a masters in severe special education. I’d never looked at autism through a media lens, but I had noticed that there isn’t a lot of representation of this minority within society. These are the kids I want to represent. So I was interested in our experience of discomfort towards the autistic community and it’s representation on TV that isn’t seen a lot.

I looked at the text Representing Autism, which I got through ILL, and that really helped shape my research. I picked my favorite show, Parenthood, but then watched a bunch of movies and other shows and read reviews, and narrowed it down to my favorite three.

What were some of the challenges you had with this topic?

There’s been a limited amount of prior research in this area, so being able to find the deeper connections, and figuring out the connection to disability studies as a whole, was hard. I was also trying not to be biased because I loved Parenthood, but [in doing my research I] realized Parenthood isn’t a great representation of Autism.

What brought you to the library?

Well, first we had an instruction session for the course that Professor Opitz set up, but I’d also worked with you in previous classes. I like order, and I didn’t know where to start; I was having a hard time finding articles because there isn’t a lot published. I was taking my topic very literally in terms of autism and television. You helped me open up my ideas about the topic to look more broadly at disability studies and move beyond my black and white way of thinking. It helped me make connections between the articles that I didn’t feel like I’d have made by myself.

What would you tell other students about working with the library?

Take advantage of the resource. It’s right at your fingertips, you just have to ask. So don’t be afraid to ask for help. One door opens and eight articles come out. Half of my articles I found working with you. You also showed me how to go through the bibliographies of my articles to look at the research they’d used and make connections. Clearly it’s working because this is my third semester meeting with the library and I’ve gotten A’s! I met with you like every week!

I’d pop into your office on the spot too and ask questions.

Do you study here as well?

I do all my homework here. I feel very productive. I don’t know what it is but I like writing all my papers on the computers here because the screens are bigger and you can do a few things at once. I also like leaving the library and leaving my work. It gives me a routine. It’s nice because I like having my room as my “not work” space, so I do all my work here. I can’t get anything done when I know the TV can be turned on. I go to the second or third floor. I also meet with the writing tutors. So I take what I do with the librarians on the first floor and go upstairs and write and then meet with the tutors.

We’re here to help! Reference librarians are available for this type of one-on-one research consultation throughout the semester, and during the summer! If you’re on campus this summer for classes or a SURE project, we’re here to help. Contact us at or 508-565-1203, or visit the reference desk.

Whose History? A Student Perspective

Over the past few semesters, librarian Liz Chase has worked closely with Professor Todd Gernes’s course, “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass.” This course, Gernes notes, “uses the life of Frederick Douglass as a basis and lens for understanding 19th-century American history and culture. Douglass’ heroic journey from slavery to freedom … reveals a nation riven by race, region, economy and even differing conceptions of justice and morality.” The course also asks students to think about what it means to “do history,” and to question whose histories dominate our national narratives. We asked student Amanda Phillips ’18, to share her perspective on the course for Black History Month.

Whose History: A First Hand Look into the Past by Amanda Phillips 18

In Professor Gernes’s class, “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass,” students get a first-hand look into 19th century America, specifically the lives of slaves. The cornerstone history class allows students the opportunity to grow as historical thinkers by reading primary sources in the forms of autobiographies and contemporary news and documents, alongside helpful secondary sources.

We have learned at this point in the course that history is the piecing together of facts and stories that fit together to complete the puzzle of what actually occurred in the past. An example of this piecing together is the life of Frederick Douglass, whom the class is titled after. Douglass’s life spanned almost the entire 19th century (1818-1895), and by studying the lives of his contemporaries we are able to get a more wholesome view of the times.

In the context of this course, it is especially difficult to ascertain the truth about what happened to slaves in 19th century America. This is due in part to the vast illiteracy of slaves and to masters intentionally keeping slaves ignorant. Only studying Douglass’s life would provide us with a small piece of slavery in America, and by looking only at Douglass’s autobiographies we would be ignorant of the many people that helped him along the way. Douglass’s portrayal of himself in his autobiographies depicts him as a self-made man, whereas analysis of his biographies reveal that he could not have accomplished what he had without the help of others – his wife, for example.

We learn from this that there is bias in all that we read from the past. In order to create an accurate picture of the past, we must take the source into consideration when reading primary sources about slavery, as well as the publication date and social climate of the time in which any other secondary source on the topic of slavery was published. What is interesting about “The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass” is that it allows us students to come to our own conclusions about the past while taking these points into consideration.