School of Information Studies (iSchool) alumnus Juan Rivera has been selected to participate in an exclusive Library of Congress summer program to prepare educators to teach effective practices for using primary sources in their classrooms.

Rivera, who received his Master of Library Science degree with school media specialization in 2016, is a School Library Media Specialist at A. Philip Randolph Campus High School in New York City.

He was selected from a pool of more than 300 applicants to participate in the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Summer Teacher Institute from July 10 – 14 in Washington, D.C.

During the course of the program, Rivera and 26 other participants will work with education specialists and subject-matter experts at the Library of Congress to learn effective practices for using primary sources in the classroom, while exploring the Library’s collection of digitized historical artifacts and documents. They will develop primary-source-based teaching strategies that they can take back to their schools to apply in their classrooms and share with colleagues. 

“One of the benefits of my education at Syracuse was being surrounded by talented colleagues,” said Rivera. “Participating in this program will allow me to continue to be exposed to great teaching and library ideas. I’d like to find more ways to continue to push for inquiry in the classroom and this seems to be a proven program with millions of resources to help make this possible.”

Rivera hopes that his experience at the Teacher Institute will allow him to prepare his high school students for future college-level work.

“I recently met with a librarian at the City College of New York, and the emphasis in their freshman humanities courses is on inquiry projects,” Rivera explained. “The program seems to have a proven track record of motivating students and educators towards deeper inquiry, and I’d like to see how experienced educators and librarians incorporate all these methods and resources to engage students in inquiry.”

Rivera is also looking forward to the networking opportunities that the Library’s program will provide.

“The iSchool taught me that growing your personal network is a valuable way to continue to grow and serve,” Rivera said, “and this program will also push me to be an educational leader in the classroom.”

As a first-year librarian, Rivera has examined his school’s data and taken steps, through creating LibGuides and promoting independent reading, to help improve it.  

“My training at the iSchool taught me to look at the library not only as part of the school community but also how it connects to the community, the local library system and higher education,” Rivera said. “I’ve taken preliminary steps to understand, strengthen and leverage these ties, and I don’t think this would have happened if I had just learned how to keep track of and order books. Through my classes, discussions, and carefully guided internships and practicum, I was trained to think bigger.”