Claire Bednarski uses every interaction in her position as a Research Services Assistant at Thompson Library as an opportunity to treat others with equality and respect.
“I strive to be friendly and welcoming so that everyone feels at home in Thompson,” says Bednarski, a second-year student with junior status majoring in International Relations and Diplomacy with minors in Public Policy and Spanish. “I consider myself an advertisement for the university and its dedication to equality for all the people who walk through Thompson Library. Representing the university is a large responsibility that I embrace and take seriously.”
Bednarski’s dedication to serving others led to her selection as one of five recipients of the inaugural University Libraries Student Employee Scholarship, which recognizes student employees who demonstrate exceptional creativity, originality and enthusiasm in their work.
“At Thompson’s Reference Desk, I see all types of patrons—people of all ages, races, genders, sexualities, socio-economic classes and academic studies—and all are equal in the library’s eyes,” says Bednarski. “I interact with people of all backgrounds and learn from and enjoy this experience so much because it exposes me to such diversity.”
While she has found her job to be an excellent fit for her personal goals, Bednarski initially applied for a role at University Libraries on the recommendation of her sister.
“[She] worked at University Libraries, and she made it sound like a great place to work while in college. I was drawn to the environment, the people she loved working with, the flexibility and benefits of being a student employee at University Libraries, how the work could help me academically and how it could help me prepare for a future career,” says Bednarski. “Overall, I knew working with University Libraries wouldn’t just be a job, but would be something that helped me beyond the workplace in my academics and professional life.”
“Working in University Libraries has taught me how to efficiently conduct research and find the best sources possible in the easiest way possible,” says Bednarski, but she emphasizes that the insights she has gained in her role as a student employee are not merely academic in nature. “My library experiences shaped the way I think about others. Working with people from all corners of the planet at Thompson Library has reinforced my belief that all humans deserve equality and respect, and this motivates me to pursue a career where I can make a difference.”
Bednarski says that her scholarship award will allow her to appreciate her final year as a student as much as possible and take advantage of the many opportunities the university offers to students.
“This scholarship has emphasized to me how lucky I am to work at University Libraries while in college,” she says. “Being a student employee is not just good experience for a resume—it’s been a great job to have as a college student, and I am grateful for all the opportunities it has given me.”
“Being at The Ohio State University and working at Thompson Library strengthens my passion for social justice, and I know that my future career will involve making the world a more equal place,” says Bednarski. “Institutions like University Libraries give me hope.”