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Kelli Breland

UC Merced Alumna Joins Library Staff

Mon, August 7, 2023 9:25 AM

UC Merced Alumna Joins UC Merced Library Staff

photo of MJ Juarez- dark black hair, white button up blouse and framed glasses

Published: August 7, 2023
Author: Kelli Breland
Maria “MJ” Juarez Buenrostro, class of ‘22, joins the UC Merced Library as Night/Weekend Services Coordinator. During her time as a student at UC Merced, MJ worked as an Operations Staff Cashier for Rec & Athletics and later as a Student Manager. Most recently she worked as a Style Specialist at Super Target in Atwater. With her experience in management, MJ will provide key closing operations and oversight, and training to student assistants. 

What led you to pursue your academic goals at UC Merced as a student? What was your area of study?

I am a first-generation college student and immigrant so pursuing higher education was something that had never been done in my family. I chose to attend UC Merced as a Molecular & Cell Biology major. The financial aid provided along with the many resources available for my demographic greatly influenced my decision. The biggest motivator for me, though, was the location of UC Merced being so close to my home along with the many scholarship awards I received. 

As a student employee, what skills did you learn that you take with you into your new role in the Library?

I was young when I took on the role of Rec & Athletics manager as a student, but it took a lot of responsibility and pride to oversee all of the facilities. I gained the confidence of learning and adapting to new spaces that I am now applying to my new position in the library. I look forward to being a point of reference for the student employees. 

What advice would you give incoming UC Merced students?

College is a new experience that differs for everyone and the only thing that will be constant is change. My advice is to give yourself endless chances. Allow yourself to make mistakes, move forward and do better tomorrow. Be patient!

Do you have any hidden talents or hobbies?

I don't know if this counts as a hiddent talent but, I am a pretty good cook- as well as one can be without measuring! (But, I hate doing dishes!) As for hobbies, I enjoy collecting trinkets. I am currently building a vinyl and comic book collection which I started about a year ago. Check out the Comic Book Clubhouse on West Alexander Avenue! 

What are you looking forward to most about working for the UC Merced Library?

I am so excited to be working for the UC Merced Library as I develop myself as a working professional. I have so much to learn from my coworkers while I continue to serve the UC Merced community. From being an Alumna and student worker to my current career, I hope I get the chance to mentor and make an impact on our student library assistants. 
We are pleased to have MJ join our team! Stop by, say hello and welcome her to the library.

Fabiola Chavez Begins New Role as Archives Specialist in the UC Merced Library

Tue, May 16, 2023 12:05 PM

Fabiola Chavez Begins New Role as Archives Specialist in the UC Merced Library

Photo and Story by Kelli Breland, Learning Services Specialist
May 16, 2023

When Fabiola Chavez began her academic career at UC Merced as an English major in 2013, she quickly realized she wanted to be a part of the UC Merced Library. She initially worked as a Library Student Assistant and then became a Library Student Assistant Supervisor. By the time she graduated from UC Merced (2016), she had learned vital customer service skills, library processes, and began to unearth her passion for the field of librarianship. 

In May 2019, Fabiola joined the UC Merced Library professional staff as a Night and Weekend Coordinator demonstrating her commitment to libraries and the profession. While managing student assistants and a full-time workload, she embarked on her Master of Library Information and Sciences at San Jose State University, earning her degree in December 2021. Then in May 2023, Fabiola began her new position with the UC Merced Library as an Archives Specialist. Fabiola reminisces on her time as a library student assistant where she more fully learned about the opportunities that exist in libraries and knew her library degree would help accelerate her focus on becoming an archivist. In her current role, Fabiola will process archival materials and work on special collection projects for the UC Merced Library. She will work directly with an archivist to digitally transfer and preserve historical and important materials, documents, film, and photographs to make them available for researchers and the public on an online platform. 

“I am excited about specializing in archives and getting to work one-on-one with physical materials. I am excited to be a part of the historical process.” As a Central Valley native, raised in Pixley, California, Fabiola is eager to make connections between the materials she will work with and the places where she grew up. “It is a full circle moment in terms of my professional career and my life. I have invested in what I have learned here. UC Merced was made for the Central Valley and I get to give back to the same community I was raised in.” 

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