In the Henry Madden Library, we often joke that that student assistants who work alongside us in the building are our alumni. As the largest employer of student assistants on campus, we take pride in their accomplishments and always enjoy hearing how their experience with us set them up for success in their lives after graduation.
One former student assistant is Addison Balasbas, who worked in the Information and Outreach Services and Digital Information Literacy Department. Since graduation, he’s built a career as a project delivery consultant for engineering software company, InEight, integrating his major in engineering with the event planning, digital and problem-solving skills he honed on the job in the Henry Madden Library.
We caught up with Addison to find out more about how his work with the Library as a student set him up for success down the line.
What is going on in your world today, Addison?
Today, there’s quite a bit going on compared to my academic career. However, as I think back to my collegiate life at Fresno State, I find that there are a lot of similarities which can be drawn between how I lived then and what I am up to today.
At Fresno State I was a full-time engineering student while working part-time for the Henry Madden Library’s Digital and Information Literacy Department. Today, I’ve successfully brought those two career paths together: working as a consultant for InEight, a Construction & Engineering Project Management Software Company.
Outside of my work with InEight, I enjoy creating & supporting events that bring people and communities together. During my academic career, I organized events for the Henry Madden Library, University Courtyard – Resident Hall Association, and Nexus – Fresno State Esports Club. Today, this passion has evolved into many other opportunities. Currently, I am the event director for the San Francisco Vintners Market and Craft Spirits Carnival. Additionally, I’ve had the pleasure of working & volunteering at events such as the SF Cherry Blossom Festival, Eat-Drink-SF Food Festival, Las Vegas & Orlando Electric Daisy Carnival, Aspen Food & Wine Festival, Toast to the Coast – Alaska, SIP Nebraska, and so much more.
During my personal time, I continue to pursue various hobbies & life interests. Traveling has always been a part of my DNA. Having been raised by parents who worked the airline industry, it’s no surprise I have an affinity for air travel. In fact, as I type this, I am on a plane heading for Salt Lake City to volunteer at the 2020 US Figure Skating Central Pacific Regional Challenge. Additionally, as I travel, whether it be for business or leisure, I am also working on advancing my own photography and videography skills, much of which I created a foundation through making videos for the Henry Madden Library’s Digital and Information Literacy Department. While in Utah this week I’ll also be visiting the Great Salt Lake and Bonneville Salt Flats.
As I look back at the progress I have made these last few years, I recognize the deep ties my career has back to the work I did at the Henry Madden Library . . . For me, the library did more than give me a paid position on campus.
How do the skills you learned with the Library translate into your current life?
After graduating with a B.S. in Civil Engineering at Fresno State, I first transitioned into working in the construction industry as a field & office engineer for Kiewit Infrastructure. While my major studies guided me into this industry, I found myself applying many of the technology & data management skills I learned as a student assistant almost daily. I quickly picked up new software for project management, document control, scheduling, data tracking, etc. due to my previous work always testing new digital tools for the library and managing our digital resources/databases.
Many engineers do not realize that “document control” is a major aspect of the construction & engineering industry: tracking contracts, final documentation, correspondence, submittals, transmittals, drawings etc. While most engineers stray away from this side of project management, I almost always drifted toward it. Many of the document management and project control roles in construction are actually similar to the Library’s management of books, media, digital resources, etc.
Due to this affinity I have for digital information work, I moved into the “Superuser Program” at my company, expediting the learning process of our newest technology: InEight. I quickly became one of the key resources for this software at Kiewit. This led to a year of traveling around the US to teach and integrate the InEight Construction Software. As of August 2019, I officially transferred from the Kiewit “Superuser” Program to become a fulltime InEight Project Delivery Consultant.
As I look back at the progress I have made these last few years, I recognize the deep ties my career has back to the work I did at the Henry Madden Library and the skills I attained:
|Henry Madden Library Student Assistant||Current Career & Life|
|Digital and Information Literacy Student Assistant||Consultant for construction & engineering software company: InEight|
|E-Learning Module Production: creating audio, screen captures, and questions/quizzes to build the module||E-Learning module script writing & editing. Creating guides & quizzes for end-users to walk through|
|Testing of potential technology & software for the library||Testing InEight Systems & Environments for proper functionality or system bugs|
|Digital Resource Integration/Application in the library & classroom||Implement InEight software with Client’s company & business processes|
|Quickly learn new software and digital resources||Keep up with the consistently growing software suite: InEight|
|Presentation of new digital resources to library & campus students/faculty/staff||Facilitator of InEight software end user training|
|Worked with a variety of Students, Faculty, and Staff||Regularly collaborate with CEO’s, Project Admins, Engineers, Superintendents, etc.|
|Event organizer for library events||Event Director & Event Operations Freelancer|
|Video Game Night coordinator||Worked at SF Folsom Street Foundry Video Game Bar|
|Video production & photo documentation||Videography & Photography Hobby|
For me, the library did more than give me a paid position on campus. Through my work as a library student assistant for the Digital and Information Literacy department, I was able to attain the necessary skills to establish myself in both the construction technology and event management spaces of my career
What do you believe is the single most important takeaway you learned from your time with the Library?
There are resources and tools available for students to enhance both their academic career and personal life. All you need to do is look and the opportunities are endless.
I’ve borrowed piano sheet music to learn on my own, rented out presentation spaces to practice powerpoints before class, borrowed laptops when mine crashed, even checked-out projectors for special events on campus.
What advice would you give current students regarding the Library?
Learn about all the resources the library has: there is a lot. Want to create a video biking around campus: Rent a GoPro. Need data or research for a project: hit the databases. Want to know what country you should visit after graduation: Attend an International Coffee Hour. Don’t have Netflix: Check out the Movies & Media dept. FYI there’s a lot here, y’all just have to look beyond the Starbucks on the second floor.
If you had unlimited resources, what dream would you like to make come true for the Library?
Esports and gaming as a whole has made leaps and bounds in the last decade. However, the integration of this into the collegiate space, and education as a whole, has been slow. Having already established a game room during my time at Fresno State, the Henry Madden Library was leaps and bounds ahead of the times. If provided unlimited resources I’d like to see the library have an entire gaming section. In the same way we have collections of music, movies, audio media, maps, and books, it’s about time we get caught up with gaming. What a feat it would be to walk through aisles of gaming history: books, game guides, research/studies, video games, consoles, board games, card games, documentaries, etc. While books of this genre can be found at the library, the games they pertain to may not be.
Furthermore, I’d like to see the gaming initiatives grow at the library. As of September 2019 the Collegian confirmed Fresno State is stepping onto the Esports scene to compete in the Mountain West Esports division. Not every student has access to gaming ready consoles or streaming equipment, but the library can be a resource that opens the door for more of the community to learn about gaming/esports and how they can participate. Having a computer lab for esports and/or multiple rooms available to book for gaming use would be a solid start.
Additionally, there should be resources available to teach students how to integrate gaming in their academic career. Classes or series on gaming history, etiquette, strategy, industry, gender roles, cultural impacts, and much more could be provided. As streaming has become a part of the gaming community in the last decade, providing resources for student to begin streaming could be made available in the same way cameras and projectors are available.
To already be providing tools which can tap into AR or VR at the library, even if only starting with gaming space, would be setting everyone one step closer to the technologies of the future.
Lastly, as gaming evolves and Virtual & Augmented Reality (VR & AR) get integrated in both the gaming industry and other spaces, I believe keeping up with the technology would allow a smother integration of VR/AR in practical library application in the future. Whether it be apps that can use phone cameras to scan library records/check out books, or even mapping apps which can walk/direct individuals step by step around the library to the the exact location a book or resource is stored, the technology is beginning to exist. Even in the construction industry I work with: the use of virtual and augmented reality is being considered for review AutoCad drawings and 3d models. I’ve put on goggles that have allowed me to walk through the virtual space of a room to be built. In the future, the construction industry is looking at the ability to overlay 3d models over real world construction using augmented reality. Engineers could literally see where a wall or pipe or piece of equipment would be placed using this technology. To already be providing tools which can tap into AR or VR at the library, even if only starting with gaming space, would be setting everyone one step closer to the technologies of the future.
Gaming in this digital age has advanced so far, it is has opened the door to what is possible for real world application of digital tools and resources. To have the Henry Madden Library establish a Gaming Library and keep up with the technological advancements which emanate from that space, would be a feat I’d like to see accomplished
Any other messages you’d like to send to students, faculty and staff regarding the Library?
There’s a timeline of Fresno State’s history on the fourth floor. Have you seen it?
If not, I seriously advise looking at what’s beyond that second floor Starbucks. There are so many resources available at the library and tapping into them would only help to ensure you succeed in your academic career and personal life.
Thanks so much, Addison, for catching up with us!
Q&A by H. Parish
Photos from Addison Balasbas