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An Interview with Joanne Hsu, Summer Intern

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Describe your background.

I grew up in Taipei City, Taiwan, with a younger brother and a younger sister. Taipei is a busy city that never sleeps. There are always lots of events going on. My parents own a small international trading company. Business was more straightforward back when my parents established their company; your store stood out if you had good products and connections.  But it’s not so easy nowadays.  In addition to quality and connections, good marketing skills are required to catch people’s attention.  And marketing is one of my particular interests.

Joanne Hsu holding a sign that reads, "Queen of the Kitchen."

What is your academic/professional history?

I am currently enrolled in a Master of Arts program in Communication, Culture and Technology (CCT) at Georgetown University.  The program “explores the relationship between changing technology and changing cultures, including research, government, media, business, and communication.”  I would describe the program as a study about the relationship and interaction of communication and technologies.  The “technology” we research includes books, and of course, the Internet.  My interest is in learning how new technologies, like social media and mobile devices, affect how individuals or society communicate.  Before Georgetown University, I earned a marketing certificate at UC Berkeley.

This is my second internship in the U.S.  My first experience came last summer: I interned for a San Francisco based company for four months.  This company is a public-relations firm with clients in high-tech industries and green industries. It aims to customize communication plans for clients.  I was fascinated by the work attitude of Americans – casual but professional.  I felt as if people didn’t pretend to work after hours simply to impress the boss, which is my general impression of the workforce in Taiwan.  Instead, we had weekly events where everyone took an hour off  for bonding through a social activity such as going for a yogurt or enjoying the sun.  It’s a whole different office culture from Asia’s.

How would you describe your job to other people?

I am assisting Robert Newlen and Penny Heavner.  Robert is the Assistant Law Librarian for Collections, Outreach, and Services; and Penny is his Special Assistant.  We are working on audience analysis and development, which includes website usability analysis, user analysis, and fundraising activities.  One of the projects I am involved with is the preparation of an exciting event and exhibition, which is scheduled to take place in 2014.

Why did you want to work at the Law Library of Congress?

Working for the Law Library of Congress is a wonderful opportunity for me.  It is giving me a chance to learn about the role of outreach within a large organization.  It is also helping me hone my communication skills.  It is an honor to work in one of the world’s oldest and most reputable law libraries with people from all over the world.

What is the most interesting fact you’ve learned about the Law Library of Congress?

Given the Law Library’s extensive holdings, it did not surprise me that Americans turn to it as an authoritative resource for questions about U.S. or foreign law.  What was surprising to me was to learn that the Law Library also answers questions from foreign citizens and foreign officials regarding laws that govern their own countries.

What’s something most of your co-workers do not know about you?

I thought hard about this last question until I returned to my apartment, and started to watch Friends.  I am a huge fan!  It has been my favorite TV series since I first watched it in Taiwan.  I have watched all ten seasons from start to finish, twice!  I can remember almost all the funny scenes, in detail.  It is not only entertainment for my leisure time but also a good way to learn English. Friends has helped me understand American culture and see why I like New York City so much.

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