Olivia Cunningham is a Presidential Scholar majoring in journalism. She is a member of Chamber Music Society, the LEAD student leadership program, and a copy editor at the Torch newspaper. This...
Jaclyn Vialet '04CPS, '11MLS
Back on Campus, Alumna Guides Students to Information
Though Jaclyn Vialet ’04CPS, ’11MLS recently celebrated her first anniversary as Director of the Health Education Resource Center (HERC) at St. John’s University, her history with the University dates back to high school.
“I went to Cardinal Spellman High School, and our football team used to play a lot of its games on St. John’s field,” said Jaclyn, a native of The Bronx, NY. “I became very familiar with the campus, and I fell in love with it. It was the obvious choice for me when I looked at colleges.”
The HERC serves as a specialized library for the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences at St. John’s. Students, faculty and alumni rely on HERC for research support and reference services. Jaclyn is their guide — a role for which her undergraduate and graduate experience prepared her well, she said.
When Jaclyn was a journalism major at St. John’s, she entered a work-study program in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where she would eventually serve as an administrator. After graduation, she ventured into the professional world, embarking on a journey that took her on various career paths, including stops in publishing and the mortgage industry.
In 2008, as the mortgage industry began its slide, Jaclyn took the opportunity to return to school. “I had always wanted to go back to and get my master’s degree, but I wanted to do something related to journalism,” she noted. “I liked being that kind of ‘super sleuth.’ That’s how I fell into library science.”
Returning to the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences for a position as a full-time administrative assistant, Jaclyn also inquired about the graduate program in Library and Information Science in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “I got the job, and two weeks later I applied to grad school.”
In her new position, Jaclyn worked closely with Wenchen Kenneth Wu, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Pharmacy Administration and Allied Health Sciences. “He was such a great motivator,” said Jaclyn. “Once he learned what I was studying as a graduate student, he assigned me to projects that involved the skills I was learning. He showed me the practical applications of what I was studying.”
With a full-time job on campus and a full course load, too, Jaclyn decided to take some of her courses via Online Learning, which was then in its early stages of development. “It was an outstanding opportunity to experience both kinds of learning — in the classroom and online.” She added, “There’s a lot of independent study involved, but if you have the self-discipline needed to set aside time at home for your classes, it’s a great tool. That’s why I took four Online Learning courses.”
As a Online Learning student, Jaclyn felt especially close to Nancy J. Becker, Ed.D., a former Associate Professor in the Division of Library and Information Science. “She was phenomenal,” said Jaclyn. “She always responded to your questions right away. I never felt like a number.”
After she earned her Master of Library Science degree, Jaclyn was offered the position as Director of HERC, a role she relishes. “I love the idea of not only looking for information, but being able to educate and guide someone, too,” she said. “Sometimes, everything just falls into place.”