Student award recipients announced at 2012 GSLIS Convocation

Posted: May 18, 2012

Each year, GSLIS recognizes a group of outstanding students for their achievement in academics as well as a number of attributes that contribute to professional success. The following student awards were presented at the GSLIS Convocation on May 13, 2012.

Bryce Allen Award for Reference Services

Presented to Matthew Short by Merinda Hensley and M. Kathleen Kern:

Matthew Short is the winner of this year’s Bryce Allen Award to an outstanding GSLIS student showing excellence and interest in the area of reference services. Matt has worked in the areas of reference, cataloging and metadata, digitization, and tutoring new students in cataloging while receiving his MSLIS and working on his CAS in digital libraries. He works both sides of the (disappearing) technical services/public services divide taking his experiences with providing excellent reference service to his cataloging work and uses his deep understanding of knowledge organization to be an exceptional searcher at the reference desk. Matt’s commitment to the library patron and “saving the time of the user” exemplifies him as the future of responsive library services that shape a better experience for the user both through personal service and improved library tools.

C. Berger Group Entrepreneurial Promise Awards

Presented to Ziba Zehdar by Dr. Rae-Anne Montague:

The C. Berger Group Entrepreneurial Promise Awards are given to a student who exhibits unusual creativity, reflects an innovative spirit and shows the most promise for an outstanding career in a special library, non-traditional library setting or as an entrepreneur.

Ziba pursued the MS via LEEP from California. Even though she was physically distant from Illinois, she was consistently engaged with the School through varied media and activities—including participating in the first GSLIS student exchange program to Puerto Rico.Our community has benefitted greatly from Ziba's expert communication and contagious enthusiasm. We look forward to seeing her continue to make a positive impact in future endeavors.

Presented to Corey B. Jackson by Dr. Jon Gant:

This award is given to Corey Jackson for his great entrepreneurial spirit and creativity addressing critical information management problems. Corey developed innovative programs to distribute computers in Sao Tome with One Laptop Per Child; examined methods to improve information sharing in government organizations; assisted the transformation of information systems in the Office of Minority Affairs; and, worked on groundbreaking social computing platforms for sharing data for Allstate Insurance. Corey will join the PhD program at the School of Information Studies at Syracuse University in the fall of 2012.

Berner-Nash Memorial Award

Presented to Minjie Chen by Dr. Christine Jenkins:

Minjie Chen’s dissertation on Chinese and American youth literature and information about World War II is both meticulously grounded and groundbreaking. With her interdisciplinary bicultural perspective, Chen analyzes printed texts and oral narrative to demonstrate how young people from vastly different backgrounds have been exposed to the experience of regional and world conflict. Her bilingual fluency and analytic sensitivity to narrative, illustration, historical context, and contemporary culture, enable the reader to explore a broad array of primary sources and to gain a deeper understanding of young people and the information sources that shape their worldviews.

Anne M. Boyd Award/Beta Phi Mu

Presented to Miriam Betty Larson by Drs. Kate McDowell, Linda Smith, and Rae-Anne Montague:

Beta Phi Mu's Boyd Award honors a former GSLIS faculty member, Anne M. Boyd, by recognizing an outstanding master's student who has a commitment to the profession of librarianship, potential leadership qualities, notable interpersonal abilities, and contributed to the School through participation in organizations and activities. Miriam has worked tirelessly at Outreach Coordinator for the Center for Children's Books and as co-president of the GEO, advocating for youth through outreach events and for students through pursuing concerns related to taxation of tuition and fee waivers on assistantships and fellowships. Miriam brings passion and humor to all of her accomplishments, and we look forward to news of her future successes.

Joseph Rediger Librarian As Humanist Award

Presented to Perry M. Collins by Drs. Carole Palmer and John Unsworth:

Perry’s many accomplishments at GSLIS all point to her fit for the Joseph Rediger Award. As a research assistant in CIRSS, she made outstanding contributions to our work building a national resource for digital cultural heritage materials. John Unsworth was so impressed with Perry’s work in his Digital Humanities seminar that he recommended her when the director of the Office of Digital Humanities at the National Endowment for the Humanities asked about possible candidates for a program officer position. John notes, Perry is articulate, intelligent, mature, and very well educated, so it’s no surprise that she got the job. Thanks to LEEP, Perry has been able to finish her degree online, from Washington DC, while working at her new position at NEH. Congratulations, Perry!

Jane B. and Robert B. Downs Professional Promise Award

Presented to Trevor Munoz by Drs. Carole Palmer and Allan Renear:

On projects Trevor would seem to be working quietly and competently off to the side. What a surprise then to discover later that you, the faculty project manager, were actually working for Trevor. He was, brilliantly, running things: tasks assigned, research conducted, ideas hatched, papers published. Most striking though were his nuanced analyses, particularly of humanities data curation needs. No surprise that Trevor got an offer for every application he submitted and now holds not one, but two positions at the University of Maryland: Assistant Dean of the Libraries for Digital Humanities Research, and Associate Director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities.

Faculty Special Awards of Merit

Presented to Chieh-Li Chin by Dr. Jon Gant:

Student participation enriches the GSLIS community culture and deepens the educational experience for our students. The GSLIS faculty honor Chieh-Li“Julian” Chin for her exceptionally vibrant contributions to the GSLIS community through her exceptional academic performance in her courses and her outstanding participation on funded research projects examining electronic medical records, information management practices in government organizations, and building high speed broadband networks in Urbana-Champaign. Chieh-Li will continue her studies in the Master of Computer Science Program at the University of Illinois in the fall of 2012.

Presented to Samuel D. Suber by Lian Ruan:

Sam Suber has worked as a Graduate Assistant at the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library while serving his peers as the President of the Special Libraries Association Student Group. Upon graduation, he will work as a Cataloging and Metadata Specialist at the Montana State Library in Helena, Montana.

Peggy Harris Award

Presented to Shoshana Ruth Vegh-Gaynor by Dr. Rae Anne Montague:

Throughout her tenure at GSLIS, Shoshana has been very active in student life--including serving as president of the ALA student chapter. Shoshana's organizational strengths coupled with her creativity and willingness to take initiative resulted in numerous student-focused activities and greatly enhanced connections across the community. Her dedication and leadership will surely contribute to many more positive developments with libraries.

Health Sciences Information Management Award

Presented to Catherine Larson by Dr. W. John MacMullen:

The Health Sciences Information Management Award was established by a former faculty member to recognize an outstanding GSLIS student showing excellence and interest in entering the area of health sciences librarianship. Cathy's experience in web development and her coursework at GSLIS has shown her dedication to librarianship, and has prepared her well for her new roles at a health sciences library.

Herbert Goldhor Award for Public Librarianship

Presented to Samantha M. Sednek by Dr. Kate McDowell:

Sam's interest in public service was evident in her work as a student, as a volunteer storyteller and student activity organizer, and as a reliably friendly face at the Help Desk. Since taking a position as Teen Librarian at Haverhill Public Library, near the Massachusetts-New Hampshire border, Sam has led a Hunger Games Training Day, planned Teen Tech Week events, and sponsored an anti-bullying YouTube video contest, and we are confident that her future in public libraries is bright.

Information Systems/Technologies Award

Presented to Jared Duan by Dr. Kate Williams:

While completing his coursework with a flourish, Jared Dunn has also been steadily focused on making technology work for everyone. This has a long tradition with us reaching back to PLATO in 1961 and Prairienet 1993-2008. First, Jared monitored, joined and influenced Urbana-Champaign Big Broadband, specifically its outreach operations. And then as a member of the Urbana Free Library Tech Volunteers (GSLIS initiated) Jared carried things forward with an interactive website to manage volunteers and research data on help interactions and build community. Since UC2B has reached out to many public computing labs, Jared built this site so it could serve as a "community geek squad HQ" for all those organizations. Thank you, Jared.

Frances B. Jenkins Award

Presented to Lynn R. Yarmey by Dr. Linda Smith:

The Frances B. Jenkins Award recognizes a student with great potential as a science librarian. Lynn Yarmey holds a BS in geophysics and spent ten years at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography doing data analysis and management prior to pursuing her MS through LEEP. She has great promise for a successful career with a focus on scientific data curation, having already served as a Science Data Librarian at Stanford University and now holding a data curator position at the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado.

Library School Alumni Association Award

Presented to Victor Benitez by Dr. Rae-Anne Montague:

Victor came to GSLIS via LEEP while working at the Newberry Library in Chicago connecting teachers with collections and scholars. Victor's strong commitment to scholarship and service and interest in facilitating information exchange was further developed via course work and as an intern at the Smithsonian. Now a full time reference and instruction librarian at Corcoran, Victor is a model for others to "catch the spirit."

Alice Lohrer Awards for Literature and Library Services for Youth

Presented to Laurel Halfar by Georgeann Burch and Drs. Deborah Stevenson and Kate McDowell:

Fortunate indeed will be the library that acquires Laurel Halfar. Her energy is boundless, her efficiency is matchless, and her sunniness is utterly undimmable no matter how much it’s tested. In her two years at GSLIS, Laurel Halfar has worked as a GA in the Center for Children's Books, where she has exemplified the positive, problem-solving attitude of youth services librarianship at its best. She possesses a sweeping vision that allows her to keep a long-range goal in mind even as she handles the day-to-day necessities, and it allows her to identify and complete tasks before anyone else realizes they even need to be done. Her commitment to public service, especially to young people, goes beyond duty to delight.

Presented to Tiffanie Anh Bui by Georgeann Burch and Drs. Deborah Stevenson and Christine Jenkins:

Throughout her time at GSLIS, Tiffanie Bui has amply demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for success as a school librarian. As a strong advocate for youth and literacy, she believes that every member of the school learning community deserves equitable access to the best materials, services, and resources available. Tiffanie has used her artistic eye and creative energy to put her convictions into action locally, working with immigrant youth in an after-school program, organizing a successful middle school 'zine club to give “tweens” a voice, and accepting a challenging school library position in Decatur. Now, she will be impacting youth internationally through a Fulbright Teaching Assistantship in Norway!

Hazel C. Rediger Award

Presented to Andrea Thomer by Dr. Carole Palmer:

There is no doubt that Andrea has that special intellectual curiosity we look for when awarding the Hazel C. Rediger Award—this has been evident as she has made her way through the program, excelling in the classroom and in her multiple roles as a research assistant in CIRSS. At the same time, she has infused LIS perspectives and expertise into the biodiversity research community, contributing to conference committees, organizing special sessions, and participating on standards working groups. Andrea is a model of the kind of student we wanted to see coming out of the data curation program, and, lucky for us, she is now turning her intellect and energy to our doctoral program. Congratulations and welcome to your next adventure at GSLIS.

Edith Harris Camp Award

Presented to Ashley Loren Rayner by Jill Gengler:

LEEP students have been known to stop Ashley in the hall to hug her and thank her for all the help she's given them. They hadn't actually met Ashley in person before, but everyone just *knows* Ashley. She's family! She is such a pleasure to work with because her infectious good nature and her positive problem-solving approach inspire you to see the good in the people and places all around you. Ashley is currently a CyberNavigator at the Chicago Public Library, where she helps bridge the digital divide by teaching classes about computers, the Internet, research methods, and knowing Ashley... anything else that anyone wants to learn.

Social Justice Award

Presented to Helen Grace Jentzen by Dr. Martin Wolske:

During her time at GSLIS, Helen has consistently demonstrated a special passion for expanding access to information within underserved communities through engaged scholarship coursework and as part of the community informatics club, of which she was president this past year. For her practicum this semester she put many of those ideas to the test as she traveled weekly to the Washington Park Public Library adjacent to East St. Louis to not just cull, organize, and catalog their collection, but to do so by helping the paraprofessional librarian and volunteers: gain an awareness of the various roles libraries have historically provided as centers for social justice in the community; to consider how those roles intersect with the assets, opportunities, needs, and vision of the local community members and organizations; and to mentor the paraprofessional librarian and volunteers as they performed the work of culling, organizing, and cataloging based on their vision for the library.

Yingbo Zhou Memorial Fund Award

Not awarded.

Filed Under: honors and awards, student news, school news