Andrea McDonald: From co-op to confidence

By Alvin Yu

Andrea's hometown: Burlington, Ontario

For most students, libraries are a place to study. For MLIS graduate student Andrea McDonald, this is home.


Like a misplaced book in the library, graduate student Andrea McDonald felt out of place during her first semester in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program.

After completing her undergraduate degree in Western University’s Media, Information and Technoculture (MIT) program, she chose to study library science because it allowed her to be both creative and analytical with information. Along the way, she began to doubt her abilities.

“There was that anxiety of imposter syndrome, ‘Why am I here? Do I deserve to be here?’” McDonald said.

In hopes of alleviating her fears, she applied to the MLIS Co-op program in her first semester and landed a position with Environment and Climate Change Canada working in Collection and Client Services.

“When someone wants information, I feel the need to dig deep and find it for them.”
All MLIS students can participate in Co-op, provided they meet the minimum course and grade requirements. Co-op students can take up to two 14-week work terms throughout their degree.

McDonald credits Co-op for allowing her to apply lessons taught in the classroom to a real-world environment. During her time at Environment and Climate Change Canada, she worked on various projects ranging from cataloguing to providing research guidance.

“I came back feeling so much more confident in my abilities,” McDonald said. “It was no longer something that was abstract. I can apply the knowledge learned and I can build off of it.”

Fun Fact

She has a Shih-Poo dog named Casey, a crossbreed of a Shih Tzu and a Poodle.

In addition, McDonald’s work term has helped her find fulfillment in the profession.

“In terms of career goals, I always want to be working with people,” McDonald said with a smile. “When someone wants information, I feel the need to dig deep and find it for them.”

“Before I came into the program, I spoke with a librarian and she said, ‘If you’re one of those people who gets asked a question and you can’t seem to let go of that question and you want to give them the perfect answer, librarianship is a good career for you.’”

Thanks to the MLIS Co-op program, McDonald has found her space in the library.


Profiles in the Meet Our Students section are written by students in the Master of Media in Journalism & Communication program, who are enrolled in MMJC 9604 - Professional Writing.