Transformed by technology
University Libraries student employee Kayla Jones explores emerging technology and finds a path for her future.
Kayla Jones, a student employee in the University Libraries, is surrounded by technology that sparks creativity and enhances critical thinking skills. When she graduates in May with a degree in psychology, she will bank the skills, knowledge, and creative experiences she gained while helping faculty, staff, students, and community members use technology in the library’s studio network.
“Being in this position and learning more about these types of technologies has guided me into figuring out what I want to do post-grad,” Jones said.
Jones has worked with the University Libraries’ studios since September 2021. She assists library patrons in the Media Recording Studio and Studios Technology Lending Desk and serves as a consultant, problem-solver, and project assistant.
Each studio is packed with hardware, software, technology, and equipment that can broaden a user’s skill set. Working in that environment has opened Jones’ eyes to new possibilities for how technology can be applied in many professions.
“When I started learning more about the technology here, it kind of sparked my interest in learning more about technology in general. And so that’s how I found my love for analytics. It inspired me to take a class on it and learn more about what a computer can actually do with information,” Jones said.
Jones hasn’t always been as tech-savvy as she is now. She admits that learning how to use the technology in the studios was like learning a foreign language. Ellen Boggs, her manager and studios network coordinator, said Jones took the initiative to get familiar with the technology in her free time.
“I remember when she first started working here, she booked time in the Media Recording Studio in order to train herself on the audio equipment in the space,” Boggs said. “All of our student employees receive training in their studios, but not many of them come in on their own to practice their skills.”
During her time with the studios, Jones has witnessed and assisted in the creation of a wide variety of projects, ranging from music to video reports to her favorite – podcasts.
“I get the privilege of getting to hear some of the podcasts that the Virginia Tech community is creating. It’s awesome to see people bring ideas on topics that are really important and create a way to put it all together,” Jones said. “It’s really cool to hear some of the different things that people come up with to try to make a change.”
Working with people who combine their creativity with modern technology has inspired Jones to push her boundaries and expand her comfort zone.
“When I first started working here, I was very nervous because I had no background working with this type of stuff. But now I can look at other aspects of my life, and I’m not afraid to try new things,” Jones said.
Jones said working in the studios opened doors that otherwise would have never been knocked on. She has grown academically, socially, technologically, and intellectually since taking on the role.
With graduation on the horizon, she said her job has helped prepare her for the next step.
“Coming to Virginia Tech was definitely the right choice. I have learned so much and I’ve been able to get involved with so much. This on-campus job has been amazing,” Jones said. “Graduating is a bittersweet thing. I’m sad to leave what my life has been like for the last four years, but I’m really excited for what it has prepared me for and moving on to the next step. I’m grateful.”