My Research Life is a blog series of interviews with Stony Brook people about how and where they do their research. Today’s interview was conducted by librarian Chris Filstrup.
Kiara Thomas is a junior journalism major and Africana studies minor. She is the editor in chief of Black World, a newspaper on campus that provides a voice for the black and Hispanic/Latino communities, and a member of the Women’s Leadership Council. Recently, Kiara worked in collaboration with six other students on the Long Island Pine Barrens Project, where she reported on the importance of the ecosystem in regards to Long Island’s drinking water.
1. Before you came to SBU, tell us about your earliest library experiences.
My mom used to take me and my siblings to the Queens Public Library when I was 4 or 5 years old. She made me choose 5 out of the 8 or so books I’d bring to her because she knew I wouldn’t have time to read all of those books before the deadline. I still get excited when I go to the library and I walk out with more books than I could read.
2. At SBU, what was your first impression of the libraries?
I was impressed by how many floors the library had and how many books there were. I remember looking for a book for my journalism class and having to go on a floor that was deserted. The floor was dark, except for the light in the main area. Once I started to walk between the rows of books, the lights went on, row by row. I felt like I was in one of those movies.
3. Do you have a favorite place to study in one of our libraries?
I like to study on the first floor of the North Reading Room by the window because I get to see outside.
4. In doing research at SBU, can you describe “aha” moments that helped crystallize your thoughts? Describe the research topic you were investigating at the time.
I took a science writing class at the end of my sophomore year and I decided to research the Long Island Pine Barrens. My class assignment later turned into my summer internship. My “aha” moment came when I learned that the Long Island Pine Barrens is on top of the recharge area of an aquifer.
5. What are your tips for doing successful research?
My two main tips are staying organized and saving all of the documents that you come across, even if you don’t think they are useful.
6. Tell us about your personal library. What do you read to relax?
I like to read anything and everything that’s fiction in my free time. One of the last books I read was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.