Meet the students of the Learning Commons

There are a few elements that set the Learning Commons apart from other areas of Cooper Library. For one, it is a place for campus partners, such as the Career Center or the Center for Student Leadership and Engagement, to interface with students through tabling or special events. It also provides students with a collaborative study area. But perhaps the most important distinction is the assistance students can get there from peer research specialists, student employees who have been trained on how to help others find the resources they need for research and scholarly projects.

This semester, five undergraduate students and one graduate student are working in the Learning Commons, answering lots of questions, planning events, and more. Meet the students of the Learning Commons:

Name: Joshua Agness
Year: Sophomore
Major: History
Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Future career plans: Probably work in a museum. My dream job would be to work at this tank museum that was in Virginia … I would really like to work at a museum that specializes in showing off armored vehicles.

What have you learned in this job that has benefitted you as a student?
Learning to use the Libraries search function. I didn’t know how do that previously, but you have to know how to use it in order to answer people’s research questions … As a sophomore, I haven’t had to take any super high-level history classes yet, but I probably will be able to use that more next semester.




Name: Ivanna Arredondo
Year: Junior
Major: Biological science
Hometown: Charleston, South Carolina
Future career plans: Attend medical school and become a family practice doctor.

How has working in the Learning Commons helped prepare you for your career path?
You get to interact with different people, and I feel like that connects to what a big part of healthcare is, because working in a hospital or clinic, you’re going to have a variety of different people, situations and all that. I feel like that has helped because everyone here comes from different places, and it’s very diverse — you have international students, people from out of state, people from different parts of South Carolina, and I feel like that aspect of me interacting with different students and having the engagement with them, is a very important and crucial skill that could translate into the healthcare field.



Name: Camryn Bruce
Year: Graduate student (first year)
Major: English
Hometown: “Kind of all over the place” – family currently lives in Memphis, TN.
Undergraduate degree: Bachelor’s in English education from Mississippi College
Future career plans: That is the question I’m wrestling with daily. Right now I’m looking at Ph.D. applications, which I will probably be working on this summer. So I’m pretty set on applying to Ph.D. programs, but a publishing job or a teaching job at the secondary level is not out of the question either. Just kind of trying to see where I land.

How has working in the Learning Commons helped prepare you for your career path?
I think that I want be teaching in some capacity at whatever level that is … So I think this job has this really amazing role in my life where I’m getting that day-to-day experience in different ways. Like on Thursday, I’m teaching in the Writing Lab, and that’s a full-on lesson plan with a PowerPoint and everything. And then I have these daily questions where I don’t really know what to expect. Like, I never know what I’m going to be asked. So that on-the-spot kind of teaching is very practical because that’s what a classroom is like, and you can’t ever prepare for every question. And just creating resources that will help the community that needs them … It really helps me consider my audience and how to show them what they need to know, which is, again, that’s what teaching is. I think every day I feel a little bit more confident as a teacher.


Name: Madeline Fiema
Year: Senior
Major: English, minor in creative writing
Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Future career plans: Staying at Clemson next year to earn a master’s degree in English. After that, I’d love to be editor. Right now I have an internship with the South Carolina Review. Over the summer, I’m working for the Clemson University Press. I love contemporary writing, and I want to stick in the world of contemporary literature, especially as an editor.

What have you learned about collaboration and communication in this job?
Oh my gosh, so much! I’m a very big introvert, I like working by myself. But having people in the same position as you and having such different majors, I find that we’re kind of like a pizza – we all have different toppings, but we all work together. We’re still a delicious slice of pizza. I love all of my coworkers. We all bring something different to all these different experiences, and when we have these projects that Jessica or Tyler assign to us, it gives us a chance to really get to know each other … I realized that collaboration can come from the tiniest things to the largest things, especially as someone like me, who likes working by myself, having this experience shows me that collaboration is so beneficial and communication as well. It has really opened my introvert eyes into seeing that teamwork makes the dream work.




Name: Kobe Jiang
Year: Junior
Major: Management, with an emphasis in information systems
Hometown: Originally from New York, but grew up around Florence, South Carolina
Future career plans: After I graduate, I either want to go to grad school and get an MBA or find a job as a data analyst.

What have you learned about collaboration and communication in this job?
I learned that you can definitely get help if you really need it. I was a new person coming in here so I didn’t know much of anything, but everyone else, they were here last semester, so they know a lot more, and it’s good to just reach out and ask questions. I liked to ask them what kinds of questions they usually get when I first got here. I like to over-prepare.  I was definitely a little concerned because I don’t do much research, so how do I help someone else? So I asked them and they helped me, so I feel like I’m better at it now.




Name: Christian Niemiec
Year: 2nd-year student but academic junior
Major: Financial management, minor in accounting
Hometown: Greenville, South Carolina
Future career plans: My emphasis is banking and investments, so I’m wanting to get into that. I was just able to secure [an internship] over at First Franklin in Easley, so I’ll be working there. Really just getting into investment banking or the corporate banking world is my goal.

What have you learned in this job that has benefitted you as a student?
Definitely as a student it’s benefitted me a lot. With all the partners we work with, like the Writing Lab and Career and Professional Development and CSLE and all those partners, I never even knew the vast resources that those different programs have, so I have been able to use a lot of those as a student in my own courses because I have a better understanding. As a freshman last year, I didn’t know about these programs or didn’t know what they were about. And another thing that I was able to learn in this position is to be able to adapt my communication style to who I’m speaking to, because some people understand these resources more than others … Like we had an elderly gentleman who was a veteran, and he would come in and need help because he decided to go back to school at Clemson, and he would need help using these databases for his classes … the way you would explain it to that person as opposed to someone who’s a graduate student doing something for a case review is just a different way of communicating.