Unique Collection Leads to Unique Understanding
A Student Researcher and the Ventura County Commission on Women
By Matthew Cook, Head of Unique Collections and Scholarly Communication, John Spoor Broome Library
Cassandra Ludwig, a senior at CI, is looking to leave her mark on Ventura County. To do so, she argues, she has to learn more about the County, so she decided to do a little research. The Sociology Major is enrolled in University 498, a self-directed research class taught by Librarian Matt Cook. Cassandra is studying the Ventura County Commission on Women (VCCW), a government agency charged with providing guidance to County Supervisors on issues impacting women and girls county wide. In early 2014, the VCCW donated their papers to the John Spoor Broome Library, and it is this unique collection that serves as Cassandra’s source material and research topic.
Cassandra says, “I want to do research to expand my knowledge. This class and the VCCW collection represent a great opportunity to learn more about the community. I live here and I want to know what is going on.”
This class and the VCCW collection represent a great opportunity to learn more about the community. I live here and I want to know what is going on.Cassandra Ludwig
Cassandra adds, “I get to learn about things, things I didn’t even know that I wanted to learn about.” It is this idea of exploring the unknown that excites Cassandra, who says, “I like reading articles that don’t go hand in hand at first, but do later. Making those connections leads to gaining new knowledge.”
The senior looks forward to applying her knowledge and skills to graduate school and, hopefully, serving Ventura County by working at a local not-for-profit. This despite the two things that she doesn’t like about doing research. Cassandra notes that, “Deadlines are scary and you’re never done.”
Cook is serving as her teacher on this project in name only, noting, “Research is self-directed since, as Cassandra points out, she is creating new knowledge. Although I am there to answer questions and try to create a framework for her, it is Cassandra that will be determining which topics she will focus on and how her project will unfold. It really is exciting, for her and myself. And it is the very reason that we collect and preserve unique collections in the Library—they benefit students and their education.”
Cassandra says that to be successful in conducting research, “You need to be determined, willing, and optimistic.” In light of her nearly completing her undergraduate education coupled with the fact that she has a clear plan ahead of her, it appears as though she has the skills to be an effective researcher.
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© Fall 2014 / Volume 18 / Number 2