By Chance

January 31, 2023

It’s not everyday we stumble upon a brochure that changes the course of our career. Was it by chance? Or possibly being at the right place at the right time? For Corey Black, it’s exactly what happened. 

“Working in the career exploration center, I came across a brochure, and I wanted to try another job or do something more academic-focused. It seemed really prestigious, so I interviewed for it,” says Black. Black had interviewed for a student position in the Information Specialist Internship Program (ISIP).

The ISIP program provides second and third year undergraduates at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an experiential learning opportunity to obtain knowledge and hands-on experience in the field of information and library services. 

“It’s a cool program. I feel really lucky that I discovered it and it was one of the favorite parts of my undergrad. It was a great learning experience,” notes Black. “ISIP created a space for me that made me feel less terrified of engagement with others. It created spaces for me to feel comfortable to speak up and say things, especially as a person of color in a predominantly white space.” 

Not long into the position, Black was tasked with working in the Public Services module at College Library. It was here where she would learn about the Libraries’ circulation and collection processes. “Something that was interesting in working through ISIP was learning just how much work goes into making things accessible,” says Black. Her experience and involvement with the libraries quickly expanded into many other modules, including the Gender & Women’s studies, Library Reference, and the CTS Acquisition and Cataloging modules. 

“In all these modules, I learned about things and resources on campus that I had no idea existed,” says Black. “I wish there were more programs like ISIP and the People Program that provides a space for young students to explore and really ask themselves what they want to do. What they want their lives to look like, or what their lives could look like.”

The care and support that she received helped her feel less isolated on campus. 

“In a university where there’s so many spaces, having a space that was so hyper-focused on supporting me as a student was game changing. This was such a crucial time to be making connections and being able to go out into the world.”

Through her experience with ISIP, Black was able to gain the confidence and professionalism to reach out to opportunities after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

“The skills that I gained from ISIP were huge for me in life after school,” notes Black. “If I didn’t have something like ISIP, it would have been much rougher.” 

Today, Black is a graduate student in the Libraries Information Studies program where she has been doing many informational interviews and learning about what those around her are doing in hopes to get exposed to as many potential careers as possible.  

Her current plans are to find out which area she would like to work in and to finish her Master’s Degree. Although she is still exploring, she hopes to work within the Information Library field and wants to make a positive, world-changing difference. 

“Programs like ISIP are extremely important; It was extremely important to my life,” says Black. “It’s a place where students are taken care of and valued.”