Raymond Pun is a First-Year Student Success Librarian at Fresno State, as part of the faulty working with first year students, including international students and transfer students, mostly in student affairs. He is a New York native—Queens born and raised—and came to Fresno by way of New York University in Shanghai.
See: What are your main functions as a librarian at Fresno State?
Ray: Outreach, instruction, and collaboration. I work closely with students and faculty who teach first-year education to develop integrative assignments, workshops, and activities for students. A lot of librarians here have a subject background, usually they support academic departments. I support first year so that usually fall under Student Affairs; that includes EOP, SupportNet, Learning Center, Cross Cultural and Gender Center, Career Center, and Health and Wellness.
See: What is one or two projects you have worked on or is working on that you enjoy the most?
Ray: I like instructional services because it ties into information literacy, something I have been doing for a decade. I’m working with SupportNet on an escape room workshop, where students must solve a series of clues and puzzle. It’s a mystery game you must work with a team and solve different kind of clues. It was fun because I saw students really enjoyed it and they taught themselves how to find research and how to look for information in the library.
See: You also do a lot off campus, can you explain some of the things you do?
Ray: As faulty we’re committed to professional development, lifelong learning, to support and to brand our university or institution. I go to conferences that focus on first year experiences but mostly on instruction. I try to listen and hear what other people are working across the country and sometimes across the world. It’s a good way to get different perspectives. I’m writing a volume coming out in March on first year experiences, a series of different best practices from many librarians across the country on how they support first year students.
See: Where is your favorite place you’ve traveled to so far?
Ray: I have been to 30 countries so Myanmar, formally known as Burma. It was stuck in time in some ways. It looks like it was Thailand but it also has some British elements. Burmese people are very welcoming and open to learning and sharing ideas.
See: What about Fresno? What’s the most exciting thing you’ve done or experienced in Fresno?
Ray: For the most parts, I’ve been really working and when I’m not working I’m not in Fresno. I’ve been to Tower and there are some good restaurants. I like the Thai and Vietnamese restaurants here. I don’t have to reserve like in New York.
See: What do you see yourself doing in 20 years?
Ray: Asleep… I hope to move up the rank in term of the field. I’m having a lot of fun working with students, having autonomy. If you have autonomy and freedom to do your projects and to collaborate to do go above and beyond what you’re supposed to do, it makes your job more fulfilling.
See: What would you say if students are interested in pursuing this field?
Ray: We need more Asian American students to join the fields because the Asian American community is growing and I don’t mean second generation. I’m talking about Hmong, Vietnamese, and Chinese communities where many don’t speak English. We need people who have the cultural and language backgrounds to do outreach. There are a lot of support at Fresno State who can give you the guidance and resources.