With a love of history and organizing information, Erin Holly McCoy enjoys her job as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at a community college in Brockton, Massachusetts. There she teaches students how to find reliable sources, how to think critically about those sources, and how to navigate a world of information overload.
In addition, she staffs the reference desk which has her assisting with all kinds of research questions from “How do I find this book?” to complex, subject-specific research problems. McCoy also gets to work on the library website and help market library services, and she’s the liaison with several departments including the school’s history department.
While at Point Loma, McCoy was involved in a variety of activities and ministries, working at Ryan Library all four years (which inspired her profession) as well as being a Resident Assistant and student ministry leader. “I just always tried to make myself available with whatever time and skills seemed needed, and PLNU encouraged me not to box myself in,” said McCoy. “I wasn’t only an RA, or only a student ministry leader, or I didn’t only hang out with history majors. It’s the variety of experiences that are so important for developing empathy and understanding.”
One of her favorite student jobs was driving the vans. She drove for the Tuesday night downtown food ministry and also took groups to Mexico for retreats or weekend mission trips. While driving for the Conference of Faith and History, hosted by PLNU, she got her first look into academics as a vocation. “Those historians were such a blast to hang out with,” she recalled.
Her experiences shaped her belief that her academic journey could not be separated from her faith journey, nor her journey toward community. “I met a homeless person for the first time my freshman year, which may have been the most impactful moment in my life. So much changed in that moment--my assumptions, my understanding of the world and my place in it--and thankfully the academics that came along with being a history major helped give context to experiences like that,” said McCoy. “The study of history forces you to wrestle with hard questions about humanity, the good and the bad. So you can’t help but be changed by the study of it, and by the discussion you have with others who are wrestling with the same ideas as well.”
McCoy was also deeply impacted by a class with Dr. Kennedy, “High Thinking on Right Living.” Every week they read a book and gathered over dinner to discuss it. “I recently found my “Rule for Right Living,” and it’s amazing that while some of the details may have changed or flexed, a lot of my core beliefs are still very much the same,” she said. “It has shaped how I’ve made decisions, how I interact with people, how I worship, how I vote--and you can’t deny that kind of impact.”
PLNU's university publication, the Viewpoint, seeks to contribute relevant and vital stories that grapple with life's profound questions from a uniquely Christian perspective. Through features, profiles, and news updates, the Viewpoint highlights stories of university alumni, staff, faculty, and students who are pursuing who they are called to be.