Tribal Affiliation: San Carlos Apache
Current Position: Assistant Librarian, Arizona Health Sciences Library, College of Medicine, University of Arizona
Health Professional Degree(s): BA in Chemistry; Masters of Arts in Information Resources and Library Science
Schools Attended: University of Arizona, BA 2002, MA 2007
Area of Focus/Specialty: Pharmaceutical & Biotechnology Industries, Special Libraries, Drug Information Resources, Chemistry
“Whatever health career you choose will benefit your tribe.”
Why did you choose your specific health professional career?
I chose this career because I saw a need for information professionals with knowledge in the sciences, especially physical and health sciences. In my case, I saw an opportunity to apply my knowledge of chemistry and my research experience to librarianship.
What experiences did you have to make sure this profession was right for you?
After college, I worked in several areas of research and discovered that I had an interest in this particular field. During my first year in library school, I was hired as an intern at a local biotechnology company. My degree in chemistry and my research experience gave me an advantage in working with the scientists in research and development.
Describe any obstacles or barriers to success that you encountered along your health professional career path and how did you overcome them?
My first task as a professional librarian at the biotechnology company was to develop a virtual library from the ground up. The company did not have a library at the time, but was growing at a substantial rate and needed information resources that would allow them to be on the forefront of science and technology. Although I was new to the profession, I was able to find a faculty mentor in library school who guided me through this process and helped me be successful.
What do you do in your current job?
Currently I serve as the liaison to the College of Pharmacy where I spend the majority of my time. I regularly meet with faculty, actively participate in grant projects, guest lecture in professional pharmacy courses and provide information support to students in the program.
What advice do you have for American Indian/Alaska Native students who are interested in health careers?
There will always be a need for American Indians in the health professions. Whatever health career you choose will benefit your tribe, from infants to elders. Your chosen profession can help increase your tribe’s ability to attain good spiritual, mental, and physical health.