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Paul McMonigle

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’17 History | Engineering Instruction Librarian, Penn State | State College, PA
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Paul McMonigle

Liberal Arts Major: History

Other Minor: Art History

Hometown: Frenchville, PA

Current Location: State College, PA

What was your first job after graduating from Penn State?

My first job after graduation is my current job, engineering instruction librarian at Penn State’s University Libraries. I attended graduate school at Syracuse University and received a master of science degree in library and information sciences. Penn State hired me upon graduation from that program.

Who were your favorite faculty members?

I have three faculty members who really went the extra mile to help me. Dr. Thomas Lawrence, Dr. Benjamin Hudson, and Dr. Janina Safran all took the time to answer any questions I had, constructively critiqued my work, and even now, have been helping me settle in as a new faculty member at Penn State, even though I’m not in the same department. I appreciate all the help and advice they’ve given me.

How did your liberal arts education and skills prepare you for life after graduation?

The ability to evaluate, understand, and communicate a position on a topic is extremely important for librarians (well, for everyone, honestly). A degree in history helped prepare me to actively participate in the academic community I work in, especially in communicating results of studies and outreach programs I’ve conducted. Having to write and present papers for class was good preparation for writing and presenting papers at conferences.

What networking advice would you share with current students?

I've found that professors and instructors are great sources of information—in the "world" of history, it seems that everyone knows, or has heard of, everyone else. I would recommend that students find someone at Penn State (whether they are faculty, graduate student, or staff) who either has a job close to that they wish to have or has followed a career path that they wish to follow and ask about their experiences. I have found that most will be willing to share what they’ve learned, give advice, and help students find their own pathways to success.

What role have mentors played in your career progression?

I wouldn’t be where I am today without mentorship. Various people have guided me throughout my career, both in school and afterwards, within the Department of History and the University Libraries. In fact, even now, I have an official "mentor" where I work outside of my supervisory channel who I meet with monthly to not only make sure I’m on track for tenure, but also to just talk about life and the practical side of working at a major university (and yes, sometimes vent).

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