Believe it or not: Alumna Suzanne Smagala and the changing world of the MLIS graduate

by Erin Groth (SLIS master’s student and graduate assistant)

Suzanne Smagala

FSU-SLIS graduates continue to redefine what can be done with a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Studies. Believe it or not, alumna Suzanne Smagala used her MLIS and her internship experience at FSU to become a digital media analyst for Ripley’s Entertainment, Inc. in Orlando.

In a podcast interview with Henrik DeGyor of Another Dam Podcast this summer, she discussed her duties as a digital media analyst in the area of digital asset management, her experience working for large organization like Ripley’s, and how her education at FSU helped her to achieve her goals.

What does digital asset management entail? “Ingesting and processing all the company’s digital assets,” Suzanne said; as well as asset retrieval, file delivery and digital rights management. Suzanne manages assets related to Ripley’s huge web presence as well as those used in areas ranging from social media and mobile applications to museums. She is also involved in managing digital files used by Ripley’s publishing arm, which puts out about five books per year in both print and eBook formats.

Suzanne credits her education and experiences at FSU with her ongoing success in the field. While earning her master’s degree, she received a graduate assistantship working in special collections at The John A. Degen Resource Room, the School of Theater’s on-campus library. She feels her experience prepared her to work in a high-profile company with a varied digital file collection. “It was an amazing experience and what landed me my job here at Ripley’s,” she said.

When asked if she has any advice for aspiring digital asset managers, Suzanne said, “You need to be the one to make it happen.” She recommends finding internships, seeking out graduate assistantships and attending conferences. The internship program at the FSU School of Library & Information Studies offers opportunities throughout the country. Students also have access to professional organizations for librarians such as the American Library Association. Suzanne believes that networking with others in the field is the key to success.

UPDATE: In a follow-up discussion with Suzanne several months later, she announced that she had been promoted to the position of “Web & Social Media Coordinator” at Ripley’s.

“We actually had a distant student from the FSU MLIS program [Andrew Nelson] as an intern and he took over my position as digital media analyst”, she said, “So now we have two FSU people working here at Ripley’s. He’s doing a fabulous job!”