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Wardman Library Highlight: Sonia Chaidez

April 7th, 2015 by John Jackson

This semester, we are highlighting the people that make Wardman Library possible. Each week, we will bring you an interview with one person who helps to support the mission of the library at Whittier College. You can find a list of past interviews in our blog archives. This week, we interviewed Instructional Media Designer and Co-Coordinator of the Digital Liberal Arts Center, Sonia Chaidez.


What is your job title?

Instructional Media Designer and Co-Coordinator of the Digital Liberal Arts Center

What three words best describe you?

zippy, devoted, creative

What do you do at Whittier College?

I work as part of the library and media services teams to explore ideas, challenges and solutions- this can include streaming media and copyright, digitizing projects and displays, or redesigning learning spaces.  Kathy Filatreau and I work on digital storytelling with faculty and students.  We do workshops on writing a narrative and converting it to a script that students record in their own voice.  We also help students edit their digital stories that are shown at the end of each semester.  As part of the DigLibArts team I work to promote and support digital scholarship and teaching with technology.  I work with students that are interested in or have a class assignment using mapping software, creating a social reading blog in Tumblr or perhaps building an exhibit with some augmented reality tools.  Anne Cong-Huyen and I coordinate the Student Technology Liaison program that gives students opportunities to learn how to research and exhibit their work in digital formats.

How would you describe your work space? 

Colorful and welcoming.  My office recently moved to the center of the main floor in the library where our new Digital Liberal Arts Center is located.  I love that my new office has windows with beautiful views of our campus but at times it feels like I’m in a fish bowl.  My desk is sometimes covered with sketches or drafts of projects I’m working on surrounded by trinkets or tchotchkes of my life.  There are ALWAYS cups of coffee or tea, a water bottle and packs of chewing gum on my desk. They are my requirements in having a productive work day!


What’s your favorite book?

I’d say Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.  It was my introduction into magical realism and I read both Spanish and English copies.  I like novels by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I also like to read about the history of California from authors like Carey McWilliams, Kevin Starr and Mike Davis. Gustavo Arellano’s books are also entertaining.  For a little wit I turn to short stories from Dorothy Parker.

What are you currently reading/watching/listening to?

I’m reading Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan with my children.  It’s a beautiful story about a girl growing up in Mexico during the 1930s after the Mexican Revolution.  It’s also bilingual which I love!  I recently read The Innovators by Walter Isaacson and The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  I joined Audible a few months ago and on deck I have Wild by Cheryl Strayed.  On my desk is John Berger’s book About Looking.  I met him once and took a museum tour with him.  He made such an impression on me that for inspiration or when I need a touch of creativity I reach for Ways of Seeing.

Wardman Library watercooler talk will sometimes involve shouting, “spoiler alert!”  The only thing we talk about more than books are the shows we’re watching.   I like period pieces like Mad Men and Boardwalk Empire- which have ended or will soon end so I’m constantly asking for new recommendations.  I recently binge watched House of Cards and The Fall on Netflix.  Finding Vivian Maier and Alive Inside: A Story of Music and Memory are documentaries I recently watched and enjoyed.

What advice do you have for Whittier College students?

YOLO!  But do it responsibly. It’s difficult to go outside your comfort zone but worth the risk.  You discover things you didn’t know about yourself.  Take advantage of the many opportunities to travel or study abroad.  There are only so many things you can learn from books!

Join online communities that are related to your field of study and professional affiliations on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+.  Build a professional online profile and contribute to conversations in online learning communities.  Use the power of social networking to land your next job!

What Wardman Library resource/service would you recommend to students?

Have you heard of “DigLibArts?”  It’s our new Digital Liberal Arts Center or Collaboratory—a space to share your ideas, collaborate with others and display your work.   We have movable tables, chairs, white boards and display monitors to fit any group setting.  You can even write on our yellow columns!   Anne Cong-Huyen, our Student Technology Liaisons and I are available to bounce ideas and help support your digital projects.  Plus, we are located where you love to hang out —the library!

To learn about events and opportunities follow and join the conversation on Twitter: @DigLibArts. Join us on Facebook & Instagram!

Thank you, Sonia, for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences with us. Next week, we will bring you an interview with Serials and E-Resources Librarian, Joe Dmohowski.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015 at 2:40 pm and is filed under staff news. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

1 response about “Wardman Library Highlight: Sonia Chaidez”

  1. Wardman Library Highlight: Kathy Filatreau - Wardman Library Blog - Whittier College Wardman Library said:

    […] creative uses of Moodle by various members on campus.) I also support Digital Storytelling with Sonia Chaidez, our Instructional Media Designer. Digital Storytelling allows me to follow my creative passion […]

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