Portrait of Ayiana Crabtree smiling in front of building.

Ayiana Crabtree, information and library science master's student, graduate assistant for a research project studying the retention of BIPOC librarians, and president of the Information Science Graduate Student Association.

A student perspective: My first semester in the information and library science online master’s program


Hi! My name is Ayiana Crabtree. When I started the fall 2022 semester—my first semester in GSE’s information and library science master’s degree program—I didn’t know what to expect. However, by the time the semester was over, I found myself immersed in so many valuable experiences that will help to shape my future career. 

I’m the president of the UB Information Science Graduate Student Association (IS-GSA), a graduate research assistant for Dr. Amy VanScoy and her team’s project on BIPOC retention in LIS, a student ambassador for GSE, a volunteer for the SUNY EmTech Massive Open Online Course (MOOC), a student representative for the Academic Programs and Curriculum Committee, and one day I’ll be an academic librarian. Even though I’ve only spent one semester in the program thus far, I’ve made the most of my (virtual) time at UB. The online nature of the program allowed me to divide my time in a way that has enabled me to take on a lot of different activities outside of my courses.


The summer before the semester began, I helped to reinstate the IS-GSA, and once the semester rolled around, I was elected president. Leading the IS-GSA and organizing all of the informational events, workshops and more has helped me to build a sense of community for the students in the information science department. This was important to me, because we never really get to interact with our fellow students outside of classes. I’ve crafted a support network for IS students on our Discord server where people can ask questions about classes or professors, or just chat about their day. Since the creation of the server, we’ve gained over 130 members, and I consider that to be my greatest achievement thus far.

Graduate research

As a graduate research assistant for Dr. VanScoy and her team, I’m getting to further the learning from my courses by helping with a research project on the retention of BIPOC librarians. The research project explores why BIPOC librarians leave the field and how we can make the field better, so that fewer people in this population decide to go in a new professional direction. Ensuring that the LIS field is diverse and inclusive is something I’m very passionate about, so I feel very grateful to have been chosen to join this team of amazing researchers. 


During the fall 2022 semester, I took the program’s three required core courses. Through these courses, I had the opportunity to investigate new research areas I didn’t have the chance to explore in the past. My favorite assignment was the final project for Introduction to Research Methods. I developed a hypothetical research project proposal focusing on academic libraries to study the best way to garner initial student interaction with the libraries to promote student success initiatives. This project allowed me to think about my future career and the types of research I could pursue while working in an academic library, which makes me all the more excited to one day be a working librarian. 

Looking ahead

Even though I have only completed one semester, I am looking forward to the learning experiences that my remaining time in the program holds through my courses, the IS-GSA and my other extracurricular activities

To learn more about Ayiana and her journey, please visit ayianacrabtree.com.

GSE students: Interested in sharing your student experiences and perspectives in Learn magazine? Contact us at gsenews@buffalo.edu.