Research, Jazz and a Doctorate Degree: Q&A with a Ph.D. Student

OmerMeet Omer Farooq, a doctoral student in the School of Library and Information Science (SLIS). Farooq completed the master’s program in SLIS in 2012 and remained a Golden Flash to pursue his doctoral degree. In our Q&A, Farooq talked about his research, his experience teaching and his favorite local Kent restaurants.

Q: What is your educational background?
A: I went to Ohio State University for my undergrad in psychology. Go Bucks! I finished my Master in Library and Information Science from Kent State while in Columbus.

Q: Why did you decide to pursue a doctoral degree?
A: Throughout my master’s program I had a wonderful advisor, Dr. Miriam Matteson, and she involved me in a few research projects that organically developed. She was very encouraging in that aspect. Then I decided to apply for a Ph.D. program, and I got accepted with the teaching assistantship.

Q: What are your research interests, and what projects are you working on currently?
A: In a nutshell it’s how students acquire information literacy skills and how they learn to be proficient in academic research. My dissertation topic is looking at the intersection of information literacy instruction and effective learning and instructional techniques that draw from cognitive science and educational psychology. Undergraduate freshman are my research participants.

Q: How has your experience teaching been?
A: This is my second year of teaching Information Fluency in the Workplace and Beyond. I helped revise this class with a faculty member, an adjunct instructor and a couple instructional designers over the course of the summer. We’ve had this course offered to undergraduates for a while, but it was time to revise it. The information in the course was outdated. The social media spectrum has evolved, and there are new tools and platforms.

The Association of College and Research Libraries had a new guiding document for academic libraries titled Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education. We looked at the course in light of what are the knowledge practices undergrads should be able to do in terms of information seeking behavior, information needs and information use. It was an interesting and rewarding experience at the same time.

Q: When you find free time, what sorts of things do you like to do?
A: I like listening to music. I play the guitar, but I haven’t really had time to play like I used to. I’ve been listening to a lot of early jazz like Soft Machine and Indian saxophonist Vijay Iyer. Also, my wife and I like to explore new places to eat. Some of our favorite places are Wild Goats, because they have great discounts, and Ray’s Place.

Q: Do you have a dream job?
A: I like to see myself in a lot of different positions. For me, an important thing is the institutional culture of people. Good culture and good colleagues that help support what you do. That really is how it started for me. The important thing in a dream job is that nurturing cultivating factor where you have good support on top and good support laterally.

by Elline Concepcion

Travel Often


This semester, two CCI students will be sharing their experiences studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Follow them on their journey as they deal with culture shock, language barriers, and a total lifestyle change.

By Samantha Meisenburg, ’18

Ciao tutti (Hi everyone),

When I was picking a place to study abroad I wanted to study in a place that was in a central location that would allow me to travel to neighboring countries. Italy is in the perfect location to do major traveling because it’s close to many European and Northern African countries. This allows traveling to be easy and cost effective.

Over the past two months I’ve been to 12 cities and six countries. Some of those cities include Rome, Venice, Vienna, Budapest, Monte-Carlo and London. For the rest of the semester I plan on traveling to other cities, such as Amsterdam, Berlin, Paris and Barcelona.

Italy is a great country and there is so much to do and see, but it is nice getting out of the country every once in a while. Going to different countries and seeing their way of life compared to the states and Florence is a unique experience. I’ve been to Austria where people eat a lot of meat and speak German, and London that is known for its fish and chips and English speaking. Experiencing different languages, food and culture has allowed me to expand the way to life, as I know it in the states.


Despite all this traveling I’ve done, it is not as glamorous as it sounds. Getting to and from airports and hostels and maneuvering around countries without Internet service on my phone in non-English speaking countries has been a little stressful. But the stress is belittled once I arrive to my destination and see the sights that I want to see and eat the traditional cuisine.

Another lesson that I’ve learned from this experience is to travel as much as possible, even if that means you are alone. If there is a city that you want to visit but no one wants to go with you, book the trip anyway. That is what I did when I went to the French Rivera. I went to four beautiful cities with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea that I wouldn’t have gotten to see if I didn’t book this trip by myself. I rather have the stress and anxiousness of traveling alone than the regret of not seeing a city because I was too scared of being alone.

With that, I leave you with a quote that sums up my traveling experience so far: “In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take.” – Lewis Carroll

Why Travel?



This semester, two CCI students will be sharing their experiences studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Follow them on their journey as they deal with culture shock, language barriers, and a total lifestyle change.

By Rachel Rankin, ’17

Now that I have been in Italy for almost two months, I am finally traveling outside of Florence. Within the last few weeks I have been to Verona, Rome and Barcelona, Spain. Florence is a great city with many things to do, but it is nice to get out and explore other cities and countries.

First stop…Verona. I traveled with my roommate Emma to Verona, Italy as a one-day trip. The “Verona In Love Festival” was going on right before Valentine’s Day. Verona is a cute and unique city that is small, but filled with such character. We spent the day with Smart Trip and visited Romeo and Juliet’s houses, along with a few other parts of the city. Verona is not very far from Florence, but it was nice to explore a different city even if it wasn’t very large. It is important to get to know your hometown while abroad, but I think adventuring to these other places are just as important.

I recently traveled to Rome for one of my CCI college field trips. I was in Rome for almost 4 full days and saw a lot of historical sights. We visited the Trevi Fountain, the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Spanish Steps and more. We also had the opportunity to listen to the Pope speak. Rome is a lot bigger than Florence and there is so much to see. We were constantly touring with our professors and the walking never stopped. The Trevi Fountain was beautiful during the day, but I returned at nighttime and it was even more amazing.

The architecture changes from night and day and it was nice to see both sides. The Coliseum was more beautiful than I imagines. It felt as if the gladiators were still present within. It is shocking to think someone built this large arena many years ago. Rome was a beautiful place and I hope I am able to return someday. I think there is a lot to learn from Rome and it is incredible to think the art and architecture was created so long ago. This city is a must see when traveling to Italy.


My biggest trip was to Barcelona, Spain. This was a trip taken independently from the school and I went with my roommate Emma and our friend Jon. We left on a Friday morning and returned Sunday night. Our Spain trip was a beautiful disaster. Traveling to an unfamiliar place can be stressful and fun at the same time. We did not sight see as much as we wanted because transportation was difficult. What we did explore was beautiful. We visited Park Guell and saw the mosaics, which are popular in Spain. The view from the top of the city was breathtaking and worth the struggle to find. Staying in Barcelona was also my first experience in a hostel. My first hostel experience was great and a lot of fun. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it was basically similar to staying in a dorm. After an exhausting, but fun weekend, we were all ready to go back to Florence. I am happy with our trip to Spain and I hope I am able to go back someday to explore more of the city.


Traveling has taught me so much about myself. I have learned to have patience with people as we are all struggling to figure out what we are doing or where we are going. I have learned to relax and know that everything will work out in the end. I can now thoroughly read a map (in a different language) and figure out directions (which is very important). Traveling is crucial to your personal growth. I encourage everyone to travel, whether it is near or far. There is a lesson to be learned wherever you are going in life.


Types of Internships


In Washington, D.C. there are internships to fit just about any interest. Whether you are a communication, journalism or VCD major, D.C. could be the place for you. Washington D.C. is the center of the political world, many large corporations with political interests maintain some kind of presence here. I use when looking for internships in D.C., I added a few links to some summer internships that could fit a variety of interests:

If your interest is: Law

Law internships can be kind of hard because many of these internships are looking for current law students but finding that perfect law related internship could really help you have some experience for your law school applications.


Internship: Public Defender Service

I had a friend intern at the Public Defender Service and she really found it to be fascinating. She was doing on the ground evidence collecting and witness interviews so she learned how much truly goes into a defense case and how much time it requires.

Internship: Office of Legislative Affairs

My first internship was in the FCC’s Office of Legislative Affairs working with attorneys and preparing materials for congressional hearings. This would be a perfect internship for a future law student because potential mentors surround you. Every government agency has an office of legislative affairs often referred to as OLA. Just go to the website of the agency you are interested in and look at the internship opportunities. If you are set on an internship in OLA but don’t see an opening, try emailing the director of the office and ask for an informational interview or phone call, this is a great way to get your name out there and find out about any opportunities.

If your interest is: Journalism

Journalism internships can cover a large number of opportunities depending on what you’re looking for. You can go the traditional route with a newspaper or television station or could see journalism from the other side doing a public affairs internship (mentioned later).


Internship: Digital News

Just about every internship is looking for someone that has good writing skills, so that means that there are lots of opportunities for journalism students. Many internships are also looking for proofreaders and someone to write blogs for their site. Being a journalism student gives you lots of writing samples to include with your application. This internship with “MADE IN THE DISTRICT” is looking for someone to write for their website and many other journalism responsibilities.

Internship: CNN

Internships with national news organizations are highly coveted so apply early and find a way to make your application unique. The cool thing about working with the national media is the people you meet from all over in the news business. Working with a national company is a great way to discover opportunities in New York, Atlanta and really just about anywhere.

If your interest is: Design

Just about every internship is looking for someone with some kind of design skill, if they aren’t it is definitely mentioned in the “preferred qualifications” section. So being a Visual Communication Design major definitely can put you at an advantage for many internships.


Internship: Design Thinking Internship

An internship with a local university like the University of Maryland is a great way to meet people that live in the area. Many of these internships don’t expect people to apply from different states, so that motivation can really make you stand out in an interview. Universities are often on the forefront in research so this is a great way to build a professional portfolio.

Internship: BAE Graphic Design Intern

So the defense industry has a special place in my heart and maybe it will in yours too. BAE is a defense contractor; it is pronounced b. a. e. not bae, the slang term that most millennials will recognize. The cool thing about defense is how much they really rely on design, these designs often have to be very detailed and accurate so these internships could definitely put you through your paces. These companies are often quite large so there could be a job waiting at the end of this internship.

If your interest is: Policy or Research

In Washington, policy is really what makes the world go round.  A policy internship would be great for someone who is very detailed oriented and okay with working on one thing for a longer period of time.  When looking for a policy internship, it is really important to work on a policy that is close to your heart and something you care about.  Many policy interns assist in research, these internships may be at think tanks with experts in a specific field.


Internship: Policy and Advocacy Intern at the International Rescue Committee

This internship is perfect for the issues the United States is currently facing. This internship is working on policy for refugees and other displaced people. This internship would lead to a wealth of information and a specialty about an important issue right now.

Internship: New America Cyber security Initiative Intern

Depending on your interest, you might be interested in this internship working on cyber security policy. This internship seems to be about more than just researching the policy so it could be exciting for someone who likes to cover a lot of duties to accomplish a team goal.

If your interest is: Public Relations

There are many opportunities for those interested in public relations. Many agencies have locations in the DC area and just about every agency, NGO (non-governmental organization) and non-profit needs PR.


Internship: Fleishman-Hillard

A PR agency internship is more of a traditional route, but there is nothing wrong with that! A PR agency in DC is likely working for government clients but many other clients as well, this is a great opportunity to see what kind of clients you enjoy working with or if you enjoy having many clients!

Internship: American Cancer Society Grassroots Summer Intern

Grassroots is certainly a buzzword in PR and politics. This internship is a great way to work for a great cause and learn about how to get people involved in a cause. It is a way to get a traditional a non-traditional PR internship all in one!

By Gabrielle Woodard, ’17

Why D.C.?


Why D.C.?

My first piece of advice for anyone going to college is to not be afraid to make it your own experience. Everyone goes through college a little bit differently, some graduate early, some decide to study abroad and others do a four-year track and then there are some that do a track that isn’t written in any brochure.

When I came to Kent State, I immediately knew I was interested in doing the Washington Program in National Issues (WPNI) offered by the College of Arts and Sciences. It was the perfect way for me to complete my Political Science minor while gaining some invaluable experience.

When interning in Washington, I caught a bug, I knew DC was where I wanted to be and where I could make an impact on the world. I was going to do whatever I could to get back. I then made a plan to sort out my class schedule so I could take my last semester of classes online and do one more internship in Washington, D.C.  This did cause a few stressful semesters of loading up on my major classes (which isn’t recommended, but it can be done).


If you’re interested in non-profits or government, this is the center of the action. Most companies have some kind of office in the area because of government work.  I love DC because while it is a city, it still has its very residential parts and almost every place is historic for some reason.

The advice I was given was that if you wanted to live and work in DC, to just move out here with a good savings and be prepared to just apply for job after job and meet as many people as you can. Kent State has a great alumni group here that is willing to help you in anyway they can. So that is what I am doing while I intern here, I am trying to meet every person I can and learn about their career as well as exploring all the opportunities around me.

By Gabrielle Woodard, ’17

How I Got an Internship from Career Expo

By Alex Taylor, ’17


Last year at the CCI Career Expo, I had no idea what to expect, but I decided to take full advantage of the opportunity. I am a Broadcast Journalism major, so I made an effort to try and sit down with every broadcast organization that I knew was going to be there.

I made sure ahead of time to print professional resumes and business cards so that I could talk over them with potential employers and my goal was to find an internship for the summer of 2016.

I left Career Expo feeling good about my meetings with potential employers and within days I had two internship opportunities.

I decided to go with the one that was paid because they were in the same location and why not? I started just a month later at WFMJ in Youngstown, Ohio and was so excited to work in a professional environment.

I had a lot of cool opportunities while at WFMJ. One was attending and covering the Cleveland Cavaliers championship parade in downtown Cleveland.


Since then I have actually started my second internship that I also found during that same career fair. Internships are so helpful and help you gain so much experience that you cant get just from school. I am so thankful for the CCI Career fair… it’s thanks to that I feel like I’m ahead in my field.

Career Expo is Wednesday, March 1. Students, register here by February 24. 

Adjusting To A New Culture


This semester, two CCI students will be sharing their experiences studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Follow them on their journey as they deal with culture shock, language barriers, and a total lifestyle change.

By Samantha Meisenburg, ’18

Ciao tutti (Hi everyone),

Florence has treated me well these past couple of weeks. I’ve already made lifelong friends in a short period and I’ve seen places that most people dream of seeing. Florence is filled with unique postcard views, friendly and accommodating people and a rich history that began centuries before America was discovered.

Over the past couple of weeks I and everyone else has had their fair share of culture shock. I thought going into Florence that I wasn’t going to be homesick and the culture shock wasn’t going to affect me. I was wrong.

I was in the honeymoon phase for a while because everything and everyone was so new and different that it intrigued my interest. Once that wore off I went into the depression phase where I genuinely felt guilty that I was experiencing this amazing opportunity without my family and closest friends. Everywhere I went, I couldn’t help but wish my family were by my side, witnessing this country for the first time with me. After a nice long talk with my family and texts exchanged with friends, I felt better.

Then I gradually went into the frustration stage. Classes were starting so my free time became limited and it finally hit me that I’m in Italy and English isn’t their native language. Assuming the locals speak English is rude and having limited knowledge of Italian was causing frustration and anxiety because I couldn’t communicate with people when I wanted something. Also, getting over the shock that Italy doesn’t have the same products (food, cleaning, etc.) as the U.S. and their way of life is different than the one I was used to back home was hard. But each day got a little easier which lead me into the last stage.


The last stage of culture shock is Acceptance. I finally realized that I accepted Florence as my home when I was in Venice this past weekend for a field trip through CCI. Venice was absolutely beautiful and I had a blast, but it is nice to be back in Florence, my home.

Venice was a bucket list moment for me. I’ve seen countless of photos and postcards of the canals as streets, the serenading men on gondola rides and the craftsmanship and beauty of the Venetian glass and masks, but to see these with my own eyes was astonishing. The preplanned tours to churches, schools and museums were also highlights of the weekend because of its beauty and uniqueness that’s different from Florence. It’s safe to say that Venice has not seen the last of me.

My first European hotel looked exactly like a U.S. hotel except for breakfast. We were expecting eggs, bacon, waffles, etc. but we got croissants, marble cake, bread rolls and chocolate cake. Needless to say, everyone satisfied their sweet tooth by 10 a.m. and I ate a little too much chocolate cake for breakfast. Sorry mom and dad!

BY students FOR students in the College of Communication and Information at Kent State