Interview with Audrey Harnagel

 smile-1Audrey Harnagel, rising Penn senior, recently completed the Hoesley Digital Literacy Fellows Program.
As we enter summer, we would like to acknowledge some of the incredible collaborations we’ve had with students this year. Today we’re delving into the work of Audrey Harnegel, a rising senior at Penn, who works in multiple disciplines and was a fellow in this year’s Hoesley Digital Literacy program. This program is designed for students who may not be familiar with technology topics such as Graphic Design and Visual Literacy, Web Design, Spreadsheets and Excel. The library staff who collaborate with students in this program focus on building confidence, providing learning strategies, and encouraging creative exploration of software and technologies commonly used in the workplace. Comfort and confidence with, and a strong foundation in technology skills can provide a valuable edge in many job and internship searches. Audrey was kind enough to answer a few questions about her experiences with Hoesley program activities below:

Jaime Marie Estrada: How has your Hoesley work helped you to become more literate with digital media?
Audrey Harnagel: The Hoesley program really opened my eyes to the incredible digital tools for doing research and academic work in all sorts of capacities. I learned so much about the possibilities that are available through Hoesley dinners with guest presenters. The other aspect of the program, more hands-on projects like building a personal website and attending workshops, has helped me become more comfortable navigating the digital world for my personal use, and this exposure has showed me really valuable resources so I can continue to develop my own digital skills.

JME: What conceptions about digital media did you have before participating? How have they changed?

AH: I felt like there was a high barrier to entry to some particular skills. While I was well versed in social media for my own personal use, I was less familiar with professional networking tools like LinkedIn or having a personal website. The Hoesley program helped me understand that basic competence with many useful skills is not actually that complicated, and there are many resources available to help you learn the skills necessary to solve specific problems. As far as personal marketing, talking with workshop leaders and other Hoesley students about how they’ve used their personal websites has helped me come up with a strategy for managing my online presence in a professional context.

JME: Is there any work you’ve completed this year that you’d like us to highlight?

AH: I’m proud of my personal website because it gave me a platform to highlight many of my different research projects. I also think presenting scientific research in video format is pretty cool, and I link to a video I made that’s related to my research on my website.

JME: How has Hoesley intersected with your classwork on campus this year?

AH: Ideas that I’ve been exposed to through conversations with other Hoesley students and guest speakers have given me ideas for various projects I’m working on outside of the classroom, including student government and research. Hoesley has mostly empowered me to pursue projects outside of the classroom including job searching and developing a personal presence online, but I have also used some useful practical skills with software like Excel and iMovie that have been helpful for various class assignments.

JME: I see that you do both Philosophy and Biochemistry! How does this intersection of two disciplines help you think more openly about using the internet to share research and do research?
AH: Being heavily involved in both the natural sciences and the humanities, I think a lot about how to share research and findings between the two. The internet is an extremely powerful way to share knowledge and information, but an interesting problem to think about is how to make rigorous research accessible to people who are not experts in a given field, or are perhaps experts in a different field. Through the Hoesley program I began to experiment with making my own research more accessible to a wider audience. Video and other digital tools are a great way to present research findings in a more visual way, which is often easier to understand than reading through dense or technical text. I plan on continuing to think about accessibility and presentation as I continue with my own research, and I am always on the lookout for cool interdisciplinary approaches to problems outside my own work.

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