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Working & Learning During a Pandemic: Q/A with Tiffany Harris, Marketing & Communications Co-Op

July 8, 2020

This month, the Drexel Libraries’ Communication Manager, Stacy Stanislaw, spoke with first-year co-op student Tiffany Harris to talk about the challenges of finding and starting a co-op experience during a global pandemic and what it’s like to work as the Libraries’ very first Marketing and Communications co-op.

A woman's headshot

Tell me a little about your background and why you came to Drexel.

I was born and raised in New York City and came to Drexel because I knew I wanted an urban campus. I knew next to nothing about Philadelphia when I got here, so every day I spent on campus I learned something new – whether by exploring the city or learning in classes. I arrived at Drexel with a major in Communications already declared. I decided to study journalism as a bit of an impulse decision when I applied. However, now that I’m here, I couldn’t imagine a better fit.

You started your co-op in early April 2020, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. How did you find the remote recruitment process? And what are the challenges of working in your first co-op position without ever having stepped foot in the physical Libraries?

I found the remote recruitment process a lot less stressful than I had expected. Back in April, my plans for co-op had changed pretty suddenly due to COVID-19, so I was lucky to even get the chance to interview for this position. Working for Drexel without being on campus is a little strange, but it’s a constant reminder about all the behind-the-scenes work necessary to keep a machine like our University Libraries running.

What are some of your first impressions of the Libraries and how it presents itself to the Drexel community? Are there any areas where you have helped improve the Libraries’ external communications and PR?

I always thought of the Libraries as somewhat of a silent giant because staff is always up to something even if it’s unannounced. A lot of work and collaboration goes into every aspect of the Libraries, and out of all that the Libraries does for the Drexel community I think some of that work goes unnoticed. Since I’ve started my co-op, I can confidently say that I’ve helped make several positive contributions to the Libraries’ PR and external communications, especially in terms of their social media presence.

I create and schedule posts for the Libraries’ Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts, and to stay organized, I draft every post in a monthly social media calendar. The calendar is especially helpful for planning posts because it lets me judge which topics need more attention and which posts we can postpone, all at a moment’s glance. I’ve also been able to offer a much-needed student perspective to the Libraries’ Marketing & Communications team. I offer feedback and insight that the Libraries might lack otherwise – take, for example, my input on including information for students in the COVID-19 resource page or the Finals Week Stress Relief Guide I created, which includes resources, information and strategies to help students refocus and relax during finals week.

You are three months into your first co-op. What is something you have learned from this experience so far?

I’ve been learning a lot about managing a social media account from a business standpoint. Before my co-op, I never had to consider posting to platforms like Twitter or Instagram in a voice other than my own, so learning to speak on behalf of others or for a larger organization has been a huge learning opportunity for me.

What are you looking forward to as you start the last 3 months of this co-op experience?

For these last three months of my co-op, I’m looking forward to really helping the Libraries be the best they can be in whatever way I can, both online through their social media channels and in-person by helping to plan events for the fall term. The Libraries is probably one of the most interconnected work environments I’ve ever been in, so I also look forward to doing more work with other departments and groups within the Libraries because I love to meet people.