Meet Lilly’s Class of 2021 – the sequel

What is a vital Lilly Library Resource?

Lilly’s Graduate Student Assistants

Lilly’s “double degree” holder, Sarah at Graduate School Commencement  May 2021
The sequel: Lilly Undergraduate Class of 2020*

Do you remember the Library before the covid era? If you have been in Lilly Library in the past 5 years, at any time of the day as well as late in the evenings, you may have seen our graduate student assistant, Sarah.

Already a four-year undergraduate Lilly alumna featured in last year’s spotlight on the Lilly Class of 2020*,  covid provided Sarah the opportunity to work at Lilly for one more year. For us, it was a bonus year to work with one of our all-star Lilly student veterans!

Adjusting to a very different and compressed library schedule, shelving thousands of returned books, meticulously searching for the hundreds of books requested for Take-Out, actually sending the notifications, collecting and packaging the books requested to be picked up at Lilly, Sarah was an integral member of our Lilly team.

Now it is your chance to get to know Sarah in this profile, and you will appreciate her as much we do.

Graduate Student Sarah

Sarah – ready to leave campus for the start of her career
  • Hometown: Flower Mound, Texas
  • Academic field of study: Master of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering
  • Activities on campus: Club Swimming, Graduate Resident for Housing and Residential Life, working at Lilly Lilly
  • Favorite on-campus activity: Swimming at Taishoff!
  • Favorite off-campus activity: Swimming at another pool / lake / body of water!
  • Favorite off-campus eatery: Lately, Thai on Main (and Pincho Loco for dessert)

Describe your work in Lilly and the changes you saw this pandemic year:

Saying farewell to one of her favorite spots… in addition to Lilly, of course!

Q: What’s the strangest or most interesting book or movie you’ve come across in Lilly?

A: I didn’t have a compelling answer for this when I graduated from undergrad last year, and unfortunately, I still don’t have one now… But I always enjoy when I get to process or shelve graphic novels, because it is fun to flip through them and try and get an idea of what the story is from a few of the images. Lilly has a great collection of graphic novels in the PN section that I could spend quite some time sifting through!

Q: What is your favorite part about working at Lilly?

A: My favorite part about working at Lilly was getting to know the amazing staff there! Almost every shift that I worked, I would have an opportunity to speak to a staff member and learn about everything going on at the different libraries across campus. One of the bright spots of COVID-19 was switching to working daytime shifts (instead of my typical closing shifts) so I had more of an opportunity to interact with the staff.

Q: Least favorite?

A: My least favorite part of working at Lilly this year was bagging the hold requests for Library Takeout after processing them, because it always reminded me of how much paper we were having to use (even though it was necessary to make the takeout process more sanitary).

Q: What is one memory from Lilly that you will never forget?

A: To this day, I still remember my interview for working at Lilly! It was my first interview for a job on campus, so I wore a dress and tried my best to impress Yunyi (who retired this past winter, and who I miss dearly). She asked me about the time I spent volunteering at a library in high school and fortunately decided that I would be a good match for Lilly, and the rest is history! I will also remember my last day at Lilly, which was incredibly bittersweet – I received an incredibly sweet gift from Lilly’s staff, but had to say goodbye to a place I have called home for nearly 5 years now.

Q: What is working in a now almost empty Lilly like compared to your past work at the Lilly desk?

A: The main difference is how much interaction with other people I got – while processing requests for Library Takeout, I spent most of my time sitting alone in a room in front of a computer. When I worked at the desk, I was interacting with patrons and staff consistently. Of course, when I worked the 4am closing shifts, there were some nights where I saw almost no one at all. Surprisingly, I do miss those closing shifts (even when I just wanted to go to sleep) because they were some of my most productive nights of studying.

Q: What will you miss most about Lilly?

A: The staff who supported me through 4 years of undergrad and then allowed me to come back and work during my master’s program (and through the pandemic) are certainly who I will miss the most. I already missed Yunyi during the spring semester but am now having to miss everyone else too. On a less serious note, I also am already missing being able to see new books and DVDs every week that I add to my list of to-read/watch (once I get through finals).

Q: What are your plans after finishing your degree and leaving Duke?

A: I am moving only a short distance away to Raleigh, NC to work as a Software Engineer at Garmin International.

After five years together, it will be strange not to see Sarah in Lilly. However, we wish Sarah the best and much success ahead. Thank you, Sarah, and congratulations!