Heather Doran dreamed of working for the United Nations. She pursued an undergraduate degree in French and political science, with an emphasis on international relations, specifically with the goal of making that dream come true.
She landed at the London branch of the United Nations Information Office. The work, however, turned out to be someone else's dream job. "I hated it," she said. So, she left — and bounced around various jobs in the technology and healthcare areas. One day, Heather found herself at the University of Minnesota's Vocational Assessment Clinic. After several rounds of testing, she was somewhat surprised when "librarian" came up as a good match for her skills and personality. "I have since decided that those tests are brilliant," she admitted.
To pursue her new career, Heather enrolled in St. Kate's Master of Library and Information Science program and found an environment that further validated her new profession. "There was an atmosphere of collaboration and community that I think is unique to the librarian mindset," she said.
She fondly remembers the "Internet Fundamentals" course with Associate Professor Joyce Yukawa — "I LOVED that class" — and the internship/practicum she had at Thomson-Reuters, which later evolved into a job opportunity. Heather received the department's Sister Marie Cecilia Marzolf, CSJ Founder's Award in 2010–11. The award is given to outstanding MLIS students each semester.
Heather continued on to work as a content database analyst for UCare, an independent, nonprofit providing health coverage and services in Minnesota and western Wisconsin. In addition to having a strong connection to her employer's mission and values, she appreciated her ability to make a distinct difference for the organization. She gets excited about projects, like building an intranet, that involve taxonomy, metadata and navigation.
Her advice for current MLIS students: "Don't rush. I look back and realize that I saw St. Kate's as a means to an end." Also, consider the University's School Library Media Specialist Program — "we need more school media specialists...as a parent and a librarian I hate the idea of unqualified 'librarians' in our schools," she said.