Experience the Wide World of FSU

You have probably heard it several times already in the last few weeks but allow me to say, “Welcome, ‘Noles!”

One of our goals at FSU Libraries is to be the physical and virtual heart of the university, serving as a center of the intellectual community. In our mission to support and enhance learning, teaching, research, and service at FSU, we value critical thinking and healthy discussion, innovation, trust, diversity, collegiality, and inclusion.[i] We provide physical space for you to collaborate, and we can assist you to find and evaluate quality information.  We’re here to help, so please bring us your questions.

There is an awe-inspiring variety of people at FSU. First-year students this Fall semester come from 46 countries, all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. [ii]  In Fall 2022, FSU students came from a total of 129 countries in addition to every one of the United States.[iii]  We are thousands of students, faculty, staff, and administrators from diverse cultures and different communities. Each of us is a complex mix of intersecting backgrounds, circumstances, and narratives.  We each have perspectives and beliefs that are informed by these life experiences: pleasant and unpleasant, inherited or chosen.  Each of us has a different story to tell, but together we are the FSU community.

So as the semester gets into full-swing, I invite you to consider the opportunities that such diversity offers you here at FSU. Listen to someone else’s story or take into account a different perspective; and always remember to treat each other with dignity, because each of us belongs here.  We are all FSU Seminoles.

[i] https://www.lib.fsu.edu/about/organization#values

[ii] https://news.fsu.edu/news/students-campus-life/2023/02/15/fsu-admits-stellar-incoming-class-as-academic-reputation-continues-to-rise/

[iii] http://ir.fsu.edu/Factbooks/2022-23/Enrollment_by_Country.pdf

Art in the Library: 10 questions with Companion

Anonymous artist Companion is a queer artist living with Bipolar I disorder who focuses on illustrating the fragility of the human mind and the importance of mental health treatment. Through bizarre scenes and eerie imagery, Companion depicts their disturbing memories as experienced in psychosis. Each painting presented in this exhibition acts as a physical expression of the delusions, paranoia, pain and fear experienced by the artist. 

“For me, there is power in anonymity; power which takes focus off of the ego and onto the piece. When you look at my paintings, you look at thousands of decisions that my mind has made; you are looking into my mind. Hopefully as you get up close and notice the imperfections that I have left behind in each piece, you are able to feel the vulnerability I have given up to share my work with you.” -Companion
You can see Companion’s work Hallucinations; A View into the Psychotic Mind in the Dirac Science Library all of Fall 2023.

  • Tell us about this show – give our readers a brief introduction to the work you are exhibiting with us this semester?
    • This show consists of a collection of paintings that I have worked on with the intent to relay the feelings of paranoia, pain, fear and delusion as I experienced them during a psychotic break. I want to give a glimpse into insanity, and as an artist, I have been gifted with the outlet and opportunity to express this dark period of my life.
  • What is your favorite work in this show? Tell us a little more about the story behind it.
    • My favorite work in the exhibition is the piece titled “Man and Two Voices.” This painting acts as an attempt to visually express the sensation of auditory command hallucinations. The painting depicts a man wrapped in a blanket in a psychiatric facility; the two distinct voices he is hearing are represented through the face and shadow figure on the left side. 
  • Are there themes that pervade your work in general, not limited to the works included in this current exhibition?
    • Fear will pervade my artwork for the rest of my life. I have been creating art my entire life but have always felt seemingly directionless in terms of my style and subject matter. I am drawn towards artworks which are bizarre or unsettling (some of my favorite artists and sources of inspiration include Francis Bacon, Rene Magritte, Francisco Goya, Mark Rothko and Zdzisław Beksiński). Because of this, I create art that attracts similar intrigue. Psychosis, while undoubtedly the worst thing I will ever experience, has gifted me with an endless pool of emotion to pull from.
  • What does your artwork represent about you? What message do you want to send out into the world through your art?
    • My artwork represents the part of my mind that has been forever altered by the experience of psychosis. I plan on continuing this journey of emotional expression. I want to show the world what it is like to forget your own name; to not recognize the person looking back at you in the mirror. 
  • How does your work comment on current social or political issues?
    • Through my art, I hope to bring awareness to and de-stigmatize mental illness, especially severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. I also intend to create art that comments on mental health treatment in the United States. A lot of the infrastructure we have in place regarding mental health treatment is severely flawed, and hopefully my works can make an impact on this matter.
  • Do you have any long term goals related to making your artwork?
    • In terms of exposure, long term, I hope to see my artwork being displayed somewhere of great importance. I want to remain anonymous; but I want my art to behave as its own entity, presented for mass consumption. In regard to the actual art making process, I hope that one day I feel that I am closer to expressing what I experienced during psychosis. The paintings on display for this exhibition are only the beginnings of my journey in achieving this goal.
  • How does being a student impact your creative process?
    • I would say that being a student sometimes impedes my creative processes. It can be difficult for me to consistently create artwork and simultaneously be a student living with a disability.
  • Is research part of your art making process? If so, could you give us an idea of what that process is like? Where do you do research before you start making? Are there any specific kinds of information that are critical to your work?
    • I often look for inspiration by looking through works created by my favorite artists which I mentioned earlier. 
  • Do you have a preferred medium to work in?
    • Currently, I have a preference for painting in oils, but I often draw in charcoal, graphite, colored pencil and pen. All of the works in this exhibition are oil paintings, and I expect to continue to work a lot in this medium moving forward.
  • Do you have any social media accounts where people can find you?
    • Not at this time but I want to have something for my work soon! Check back in in a few weeks.

Practicing Self-Care with CHAW

This September is Self-Care Awareness Month at FSU Libraries! We’re partnering with the Center for Health Advocacy & Wellness (CHAW) to discuss self-care and offer some tips for how you can get started.

What is self-care and why does it matter?

Self-care means prioritizing the things that support your overall wellness. Caring for yourself is essential to thrive and survive both in calm moments and challenging ones.

Here at FSU, we focus on creating a culture of care by celebrating the contributions of individuals and groups in our campus community. We are all responsible for creating this culture of care. To do that we must take care of ourselves and others. And we cannot take care of others without first taking care of ourselves. 

How to practice self-care

Step one: learn about the nine dimensions of holistic wellness. The nine dimensions are:

  • Social
  • Environmental
  • Intellectual
  • Emotional
  • Creative
  • Physical
  • Spiritual
  • Financial
  • Occupational

To learn more about FSU’s holistic wellness campaign and each of these dimensions of wellness, visit DSA’s website.

Step two: Do a bit of self-evaluation to see where you might have unmet needs related to these areas. For example, in the area of physical wellness, are you meeting your needs? You might ask yourself a few questions to check in on this such as: am I taking breaks when I can to eat? Am I staying hydrated? Am I getting enough rest, both at night and overall? 

Next: come up with a plan to meet your needs. For example: pack snacks to munch on between classes. Carry a water bottle. Set boundaries to allow for adequate rest. Put your phone on do not disturb after a certain hour. Practice saying no (a complete sentence BTW) to commitments that would require more energy and time than you can invest. 

Finally, learn which resources are available to you to support your self-care. These resources can include your personal strengths and social networks and campus resources. 

CHAW can help you practice self-care

One campus resource that can help you on your self-care journey is the Center for Health Advocacy & Wellness (CHAW). CHAW encourages students to make healthy lifestyle decisions that facilitate academic success and lead to life-long health and wellness. CHAW provides a wide range of presentations and outreach events on health topics related to:

  • general wellness
  • alcohol tobacco and other drugs
  • collegiate recovery
  • nutrition, body image and eating disorder prevention
  • interpersonal violence prevention
  • sexual health 

How you can practice self-care with CHAW

  1. Visit CHAW’s website to learn more about their services. 
  2. Follow CHAW (@fsuchaw) to stay up to date on current events and for plenty of quick tips to optimize your overall wellness. Look for #LiveWellFSU for content that is related to holistic wellness. 
  3. To support your physical wellness, call (850) 644 – 4567 to schedule an appointment for nutrition counseling or HIV testing. Visit CHAW’s office on the 4th floor of UHS to get free condoms, lube, and/or menstrual products. 
  4. For overall and academic wellness, call (850) 644 – 4567 to schedule a wellness coaching appointment.
  5. For social wellness, get involved as a student through CHAW’s Healthy Noles peer education program or the kNOw More Student Advisory Board
  6. For occupational wellness, work for CHAW through internships and federal work study positions. 
  7. For intellectual wellness, request a presentation related to any of the above topic areas for your classroom or RSO. 

Happy Self-Care Awareness Month! Remember that you can’t pour from an empty cup. This month, practice filling that cup up by prioritizing your overall wellness and let CHAW help you get there. Also, be sure to stop by Strozier Library this month to visit the self-care shelf and discover your next read!

This post was written by Samantha Thoms, Registered Dietitian for CHAW.

A Short Dive Into Data Science


Data science is a multidisciplinary field that combines math, statistics, programming, and artificial intelligence to analyze and discover insights embedded in large amounts of data. These insights can then be used to help data scientists ask and answer questions about data, such as: what happened, why it happened, what will happen, and what can be done with the results (Amazon Web Services). Data science combines different tools and technology to create meaning from and interpret data. With the accelerating volume of data being produced, data science is widely used to process and discover patterns in data through a variety of statistical techniques.

 The term data science was first used in the 1960s to describe a new profession focused on the interpretation of data. However, data science during this time period is extremely different from how data science is viewed in recent times. Starting in the 2000s, companies began to see data as a commodity from which they could capitalize. This resulted in a need for data scientists to analyze large quantities of data, by using skills to access, understand, and communicate insights from data. In more recent years, the field of data science has grown tremendously, and it is needed in every industry that generates or relies on data. 

Data science has completely reshaped the way that we collect, store and analyze data, and these new discoveries have transformed several industries and improved people’s lives. For example, in finance, data science can be used to help financial institutions make more accurate predictions and manage risks. In the healthcare industry, data science allows researchers to be able to predict and prevent certain diseases. In marketing, data science allows companies to make personalized ads, based on data that they have about consumers. However, as data science becomes more commonly used in society, it is important to consider the ethical implications behind the collection and analysis of large amounts of data. Subjects such as bias, transparency, and privacy are extremely important and relevant in this field. 

 One important ethical consideration is bias. Data science algorithms can unintentionally inherit bias from the datasets that they are trained on. This can lead to discrimination and inequality towards certain variables in a dataset. Transparency is also an important ethical consideration.  More specifically, some individuals may not understand how data science is used to make decisions that may affect them. This can lead to individuals having concerns about technology, and how it is being used. Finally, data privacy is a critical issue, particularly as the amount of data that is being collected continues to grow exponentially. It is essential to ensure that individuals’ personal information is being protected, and that the data is only collected in ethical ways. Overall, while data science has had so many positive impacts on society, it is also important to prioritize ethical considerations within data science, to ensure that these advances will continue to benefit society. 

What skills are needed in data science?

To quote the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Data scientists use analytical tools and techniques to extract meaningful insights from data.” However, this is an incredibly broad statement by itself. Oftentimes, it can be easier to think about data science in the context of what types of tasks are done within the discipline. Furthermore, there are several different articles on what skills data scientists need, often with similar but imprecise wording. However, there is some general overlap in the skills that are required or recommended for those considering a career in data science. 

Quantitative Skills

Broadly speaking, an understanding of mathematics and/or statistics is important for a data scientist. While a data scientist is not necessarily a mathematician or statistician, data scientists often use similar (if not the same) tools to calculate mathematical models that can be used for prediction or to make inferences about what correlations exist within the data. 

Additionally, there is a general consensus that data scientists need to know about data cleaning/wrangling/scrubbing, etc. Regardless of the terminology used to describe it, knowing how incomplete and complete data can and cannot be used is a critical skill. Understanding how pieces of data will interact with each other can give a data scientist a far more efficient understanding of what they can and cannot infer from the data, as well as how a computer would store the data they need to analyze. While this is typically listed as a separate skill, it often relies on linear algebra to work.


It should be noted that someone can be a statistician or a mathematician without knowing how to write a single line of code. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 13% of mathematicians work in education, as do 9% of statisticians. Oftentimes, quantitative work in this realm is less reliant on code and more so about effectively communicating quantitative concepts. However, a professional data scientist absolutely must know how to program, as it is a de facto requirement of almost any data science position. While it would theoretically be possible to calculate statistical trends by hand, this would be impractical when dealing with the current reality of big data. Attempting to construct even one mathematical model with all available data could take a lifetime at best. Consequently, it is far more efficient to have a computer run all of the minute arithmetic calculations instead of adding everything manually.

The list of programming languages a data scientist might need is long enough to warrant its own blog post (in fact, we have covered some in a previous blog post entry). Due to the sprawling amount of programming languages available, it is generally more important to understand the fundamentals of programming and pick up programming languages as needed. While we cannot immediately recommend every situation, Python, R, and SQL are good languages for a strong data science foundation. These tend to be in the top three languages for most data science positions, all else equal. Even further, artificial intelligence (and more specifically, machine learning) can be implemented in the first two, which is also gaining precedence in modern data science.

Business Acumen and Communication

Surprisingly, business acumen (also known as domain knowledge) is frequently mentioned as an essential skill for data scientists. A more generalized way of thinking about it would be “understanding data in context”. In brief, domain knowledge involves knowing what the data is and what it means in the context of your work. It may be easy to think about what the purpose of your data analysis is when you are responsible for the beginning and end of a project – however, jumping into the middle of a project will require some knowledge of what the data is before you can proceed to do anything with it. 

Similar to business acumen, data scientists also need to know how to communicate their results so that others may understand the insights gleaned from their work. At first glance, one would assume that this predominantly refers to explaining predictive outputs in both verbal and written communication that anyone outside of the field can understand. Those two skills are important — however, visual communication and literacy can be included as well. The ability to make data visualizations that effectively show what trends are in the data is another critical skill within data science, as graphs can communicate far more ideas at once than words/numbers alone can. Further, data visualizations can bypass the need for an audience to understand more complex quantitative concepts.

Miscellaneous Skills+Addendums  

While the above skills are frequently mentioned in many articles describing critical skills for data scientists, there are some notable mentions of other skills. For instance, DevOps (a project management method) is considered to be critical enough to the discipline itself that an article about using it as a framework for modern data science work exists (Saxena et al. 2021). While DevOps is the most commonly mentioned project management method within data science, other aspects of project management are also valuable to have.

Further, being able to work with big data and its infrastructure is critical. (Georgia Tech Professional Education, 2023). As more and more data is collected by private and public entities, experience with data files that are not easily navigable is of the utmost importance. Additionally, knowing how to locate the data you need from large data warehouses is important regardless of how much data you need. 

As mentioned in the introduction, concerns about bias in data and ethical data use have ramifications for consumer privacy.  This is such a notable concern that Harvard Business School’s own page for data science skills mentions ethics as something that should be kept in mind due to how many dilemmas can arise from data breaches, biased algorithm development, the usage of consumer data without consent, among other issues (HBS Online, 2020).

What industries/fields use DS?

As mentioned in the introduction, data science is a combination of the fields of mathematics, statistics and computer science. Data scientists generally use programming languages such as R and Python to derive analyses and make visualizations from the data given to them. Data science is often seen as a subset of computer science, which focuses on developing new software to perform certain tasks. This can include making a new gaming application, designing a website, or developing a new programming language. Data scientists generally try to make software to execute a computer model or to visualize software, utilizing statistical techniques in the process. 

Furthermore, data science and statistics are generally similar fields with a lot of overlap. For the most part, both data scientists and statisticians aim to make models to analyze data. However, data scientists may place a heavier emphasis on data visualization techniques, while statisticians may use more math-heavy models. For example, a statistician may lean more heavily on models such as linear regression, while a data scientist may focus more on models such as neural networks, which attempt to imitate the human brain to make predictions. That being said, a statistician can almost certainly become a data scientist with a little extra training and vice versa. 

Data science can be used in almost every business worldwide and has many specific applications; there are too many to list in this blog post. Here, we will briefly describe a few of the more common industries and/or fields that use data science. 

One of the most common uses of data science is in the stock market. When looking at trends in the stock of a company, data scientists for stockbroking companies can analyze the stock data of the past and use that to predict how much that stock will be worth in the future. These predictions can then be used to help determine whether or not the company should buy more or less of that stock. 

Another example of data science is simply predicting future revenue, which can be used in virtually every business. Given past data such as previous prices, how well the economy has been doing as a whole, and many other variables, data scientists can predict how much revenue/profit a company may receive in the future. Using this, companies can determine whether or not they would want to set a certain price for their product or even continue with the business as a whole. 

Data science can also be used at almost every company for various HR applications.HR analytics can help a company in predicting turnover or recruiting the right candidates. For example, if a data scientist can analyze past data to determine if a specific role has higher turnover, the company can utilize that analysis to change up the role to help decrease turnover. Furthermore, data science can be used to determine which candidates may be the best fit for the job by looking at variables from their application or resume. For instance, if employees with great people skills tend to perform better, analysis can be done to determine which candidates have good people skills that can then be translated into a more productive work environment.

Finally, an application of data science that you’re likely well aware of is targeted advertisements. This is utilized by companies such as Facebook, Google, and Spotify. By analyzing the data from your previous searches, likes,  listening, and other various sources, these companies can feed you the advertisements most applicable to you. For example, if your neighborhood was hosting a baseball tournament, your neighbors might search for items such as “baseball bats” and “how to hit a baseball” on Google. Using this data, and seeing that you’re nearby, Google may then direct advertisements to you for baseball bats and baseball courses. 


If one wanted to be brief, data science could be simply described as the hybrid discipline of computer science, mathematics, and statistics. More specifically, data science can be used to take large amounts of organized and unorganized data and make predictions about what might happen in the near-ish future. Those large amounts of data can also be used as a descriptive explanation for phenomena that are currently happening, but would otherwise be invisible to us. Furthermore, those predictions can be used to make business decisions, public policy, predict future gameplay moves/outcomes, or even help create critical medical interventions. However, the above skills can also cause harm if used without consideration for the data itself. Regardless of where or how data science is applied, all of the above skills are necessary to do work in this field.

While we have discussed the use of data science in industries such as financial markets and HR analytics, the applications of data science go far beyond these two fields alone. In fact, what fields do not use data science at all would probably be a shorter list than the list of fields that do. For instance, one of the graphic design industry’s oldest professional organizations (the American Institute of Graphic Artists, or AIGA) released a report on the data economy in 2018 and how data science will impact graphic artists (Davis 2018). While it is not an industry that is traditionally thought of as handling data, graphic designers also produce infographics (Stinson 2021). Furthermore, data mining is a critical skill within data science with applications in anything from market research (Hall n.d.) to finding unused content within video game files (BBC Newsround 2020). If there is an area someone is interested in, one can look up “[field of interest] data science” and probably find how they can use data science in that realm. 

At the end of the day, though, understanding data science beyond what we have outlined in this post may require experimenting with each of the bits and pieces of what makes it work on your own. To quote notable data scientist Claudia Perlich, “Learning how to do data science is like learning to ski. You have to do it.”  Understanding more about what data science is may require the very same thing; reading more about it and doing it for yourself.

Works Cited

For a list of references, please use this link: https://bit.ly/3NF30zQThis blog post was written by William-Elijah Clark (Senior STEM Data Fellow), Sahil Chugani (STEM Data Fellow) and Reagan Bourne (STEM Data Fellow) from FSU Libraries.

Bridging the Gap: Addressing Digital Equity for BIPOC and First-Generation Students in Higher Education

As the world continues to embrace digitalization, online learning and digital resources are becoming key aspects of the education system. This transition has brought the issue of digital equity to the forefront of our consciousness. This principle, rooted in the belief that every student should have equal access to technology, is gaining relevance in higher education. The focus has shifted from merely acquiring devices or internet connections, to ensuring robust access and the ability to utilize these resources effectively. This shift is critical when considering the overall success of students in higher education, and it becomes even more crucial when examining the experiences of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) and first-generation students.

The digital divide, the gap in access and ability to use technology, can deeply impact a student’s academic journey. As technology becomes a core part of higher education, students lacking access can face academic difficulties. This issue exacerbates existing socio-economic and racial disparities, a fact made abundantly clear during the pandemic when campuses closed and access to university IT resources became limited. For BIPOC and first-generation students, who often face additional socio-economic challenges, this digital divide can be particularly wide and damaging.

Understanding Digital Equity

Digital equity goes beyond having the hardware and broadband access. It also includes digital literacy, which encompasses the skills necessary to use technology effectively for learning. These skills include being able to find, evaluate, and utilize information online, collaborate digitally, and use software tools for learning and creative expression.

For students, particularly BIPOC and first-generation students, digital literacy skills are crucial for success in nearly all areas of study. Those who lack these skills face a disadvantage, as they may grapple with online coursework, research, and collaboration, creating an additional barrier to their academic achievement.

The Impact on Student Success

The effects of the digital divide on student success are extensive. Research shows that students without adequate access to technology and lacking digital literacy skills are more likely to struggle academically. They may encounter difficulties completing assignments, conducting research, or simply communicating with their professors and classmates.

The impact of the digital divide extends beyond academics, potentially affecting students’ career prospects. In a world where digital skills are increasingly in demand, those without these skills, including many BIPOC and first-generation students, may find themselves disadvantaged when entering the job market.

Promoting Digital Equity in Higher Education

To promote digital equity in higher education, a comprehensive approach is necessary. This approach begins with ensuring that all students, especially BIPOC and first-generation students, have access to the necessary hardware and reliable internet connections. Initiatives such as loaner laptop programs, campus-wide Wi-Fi, and partnerships with local internet providers can help.

However, access alone is insufficient. Colleges and universities also need to invest in digital literacy programs. This could include integrating digital skills into the core curriculum or offering standalone courses and workshops.

Institutions should also monitor digital equity metrics to ensure the effectiveness of their efforts. This could involve surveying students about their access to technology, their comfort with it, or using analytics to identify and support students who are struggling due to digital inequities.


Digital equity in higher education is not just about fairness—it’s an essential part of student success. By ensuring that all students, especially BIPOC and first-generation students, have access to technology and the skills to use it effectively, higher education institutions can help level the playing field.

The pandemic highlighted the urgency of this issue. As our world becomes more digital, the digital divide in education becomes more apparent, and its impact on student success more significant. It’s time for higher education institutions to prioritize digital equity as an integral part of their mission—not just as a response to a crisis, but as a cornerstone of their commitment to fostering student success.

Ensuring digital equity is a collective responsibility. It necessitates action from policymakers, education institutions, and communities. It also requires acknowledging and addressing the unique challenges faced by BIPOC and first-generation students. Together, we can close the digital divide and pave the way for a more equitable, inclusive, and successful future in higher education.

And We’re Back! … Strozier Library Basement Officially Reopens

On June 28, 2023, the Strozier Library basement is officially reopened! 

Strozier Library experienced flooding in the lower level and subbasement due to an air handler coil freezing on the night of December 25, 2022. FSU Facilities worked with contractors to extract the water from the building and Libraries’ team members worked through the night and over the next days to protect and preserve collections. Due to the efforts of these Flood Heroes, damage to collections was minimized. However, the basement was closed for renovations during the spring semester.

We are happy to announce that the basement is now open. This is in thanks to the many colleagues at the Libraries and at FSU who helped not only on the night of the flood, but also throughout the spring semester. 

The reopening was marked by a ribbon cutting and celebration of the Flood Heroes. 

All faculty, staff, and students are invited to check out the newly renovated space.