Sincere Thanks to the 2014 ABQLA Travel Bursary

by Jennifer Zhao

As one of the winners of the 2014 ABQLA Travel Bursary, I would like to express my utmost gratitude for this bursary and ABQLA; especially to the people who created this bursary, wrote me the supporting letter, reviewed my application and selected me as the recipient. This $1,000 bursary helped fund my trip to Indianapolis, US in June of this year to attend the 2014 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference and present the paper entitled “Identifying challenges faced by Chinese undergraduate engineering students in acquiring information literacy skills – A report on survey findings” with the co-author, Tara Mawhinney.  The paper was well received and we were able to get valuable feedback on our research as well as meet other engineering librarians with similar interests.  

As one of the engineering librarians at the McGill Library, I noticed an increasing number of engineering students who come from countries outside of Canada and speak English as a second language. Their cultural, linguistic, and educational background has a great impact on their information research behaviors, and they need relevant library service and instruction to improve their skills as their Canadian peers do. One of my professional interests is to help these students to acquire information skills efficiently. With my research, I identified part of their challenges. By presenting this paper at the conference, I drew more librarians’ attention to these underserved students.

Once again, I sincerely appreciate having been selected for this travel bursary. Having the opportunity to present my work at a very relevant professional conference and exchange ideas with librarians who have encountered similar issues is significantly important to my research and professional development. I highly encourage everyone who is eligible for this bursary to submit a proposal next year. It is worthwhile to spend time answering questions on the short application form and asking your employer or supervisor for a reference letter.