Student award recipients announced at Convocation

Posted: May 15, 2017

Each year, the School 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 School's Convocation ceremony on May 14, 2017.

Bryce Allen Award for Reference Services

Presented to Leah Dudak

Leah Dudak brings enthusiasm and a positive attitude to the Music and Performing Arts Library (MPAL) reference desk. No question is too small, and she clearly enjoys assisting all patrons with their information needs. She uses her music knowledge and library skills to help patrons find scores and recordings, track down elusive journal articles, and more. She extends the reach of the reference desk by creating LibGuides for events and contributing to social media accounts. At the Main Library, Leah tackles the toughest patrons with joy and dignity and is truly willing and able to help anyone who visits the library's service points. She’s also a great mentor to new people at the Info Desk and is proactive about collaborating with others to answer questions. She takes the time to build a rapport with other desk staff and is professionally popular and loved by her colleagues. 

Berner-Nash Memorial Award

Presented to Mikki Smith

In her dissertation study, "Print Networks and Youth Information Culture: Young People, Amateur Publishing, and Children’s Periodicals, 1867–1890," Mikki Smith significantly adds to our understanding of nineteenth-century United States print culture as well as young people's engagement in participatory print cultures. Smith writes engagingly and argues thoughtfully, while marshaling an impressive array of primary archival sources, to demonstrate how young people created and maintained rich information, literary, and social networks through the publication and exchange of amateur newspapers. Smith's dissertation is poised to make a clear and positive impact in the scholarly worlds of book history and print culture, childhood studies, as well as library and information science. This study richly rewards readers.

Anne M. Boyd Award/Beta Phi Mu

Presented to Alison Rollins

Alison Rollins is an exemplary student who completes her scholarly work with thoughtful perspective, detailed analysis, and synthesis of theory and practice. Alison is also a creative poet and storyteller, and she has consistently shared her talents with the iSchool community during her time here. She has broad experience with both public and school libraries, which is indicative of her ability to interact with and support others.

Edith Harris Camp Award

Presented to Jennifer Jacobs

Jennifer Jacobs is a joyful and energetic person who has made a lasting impression on her instructors with her sheer enthusiasm for the profession and the thoughtfulness with which she approached her work and professional plans. Jen would routinely show up for her oral presentations in costume, and she would often recommend books and resources to her classmates simply because she came across something she thought would interest them. She was a stellar student and an overall genuine person who made her presence known at the iSchool as a Leep student; her willingness to take risks in the Leep context was extraordinary.

Much like the award description, Jen has inspired her instructors, her classmates, and now her own elementary school students, and she cares for others with courage, creativity, laughter, and friendship. When we think of Jen, we think of her excitement to try new things and her ability to implement great ideas for presentations and programsshe just has fun, and her delight for all things library is contagious. She is an asset to the iSchool and to the profession.

Jane B. and Robert B. Downs Professional Promise Award  

Presented to Jesus Espinoza

Jesus Espinoza’s professional promise has already been recognized through his selection as an American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholar and Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Diversity Scholar. While a student in the iSchool, he has been an active contributor in classes and as a member of the Student Affairs Advisory Board, vice president of the ALA Student Chapter, and cochair of the ALA Student Chapter's Lecture and Professional Development Committee. His interests span interlibrary loan and access services, digital preservation and data curation, and services to traditionally underserved populations. As he pursues his career, we see great potential for Jesus to foster a climate that is collaborative and hospitable to creativity, innovation, and inclusion. Many of our faculty have noted that he has been a consistently reliable and positive presence in many areas of life at our school. We anticipate that Jesus will be the same kind of presence in the profession.

Entrepreneurial Promise Award

Presented to Krystal Cooper

Krystal Cooper brings boundary-spanning practices and tremendous energy to her work as an entrepreneur. Prior to entering the iSchool, Krystal worked in visual effects; owned and ran a public relations firm in Los Angeles; cofounded a dance company in Chicago; and coproduced an animated short film. As a graduate student, she founded the Data Science Club at the University and gained experience at Caterpillar’s Innovation Lab. The ways in which she proposes to combine archives and oral histories in virtual reality spaces demonstrate her cross-disciplinary and innovative ideas that bode well for future entrepreneurial projects.

Faculty Special Award of Merit

Presented to Alex Kinnaman

Alex Kinnaman has been contributing that “something special” to the School of Information Sciences since her arrival in Champaign. Her contributions outside the classroom include her membership and current presidency of the ALA Student Chapter. Alex also is an inaugural member of the Student Affairs Advisory Board, where she has been instrumental in ensuring the coordination and success of that group. Her academic interests in digital humanities took shape not only in the classroom but through preprofessional and extracurricular work at the iSchool, where she has served as research assistant at the HathiTrust Research Center. In addition, Alex was selected to participate in the Oxford-Illinois Digital Library Placement Program, an ongoing collaboration between Illinois and Oxford in which she contributed to a project called Digital Safe, a dark archive pilot project. Alex has presented research posters both at the iSchool student showcases and international conferences, including Wuhan, China. It is her quiet confidence, her ability to organize and manage projects, and her extra-special collegiality and support of her fellow students that we recognize today with this special award of merit. 

Herbert Goldhor Award for Public Librarianship

Presented to Emilie Butt

Emilie Butt came to the iSchool with a strong commitment to social justice and a belief that public libraries can be the heart of strong communities. In classes at the iSchool such as Media Literacy for Youth, Emilie engaged critically with ideas about how librarians can provide services and programs to young people in public libraries. She pushed her classmates to do the same, helping them think in better, harder, more creative ways and to ensure that as library professionals, they value young people's competencies, knowledge, and skills. Outside of her classes, Emilie worked for two years as a volunteer, then as a practicum student, and now as a staff member, at Champaign Public Library. There, she has invigorated after-school programs and services to tweens and teens as well as supported reference and collection development services. Emilie's dedication to public librarianship—especially as it can benefit young people—is abundantly evident. We look forward to seeing her develop as a professional.

Peggy Harris Award

Presented to Ariel Gonzalez

Ariel Gonzalez has spent this past year as an active participant representing the student body on the iSchool’s Diversity Committee. As part of this work, Ariel has organized innovative methods to connect with her fellow students in order to incorporate their perspectives and needs into the committee’s work. She has a thoughtful, collaborative approach demonstrative of her care for our school community, and for equity and justice.

Health Sciences Information Management Award

Presented to Anna White

For this award, Anna White was nominated by multiple faculty who recognize both her outstanding academic achievement during her master’s courses and her professional promise as a medical informatics librarian. During her coursework, she has excelled at both in-class discussions and assignments. Anna’s work has demonstrated a strong grasp not only of the technical and scientific dimensions of the challenges of providing medical informatics services to researchers but also of the equally important policy, cultural, and ethical dimensions. Her successful practicum project resulted in an extensive series of guides representing the Health Information Portal group for the University Library across a range of medical topics. Anna has now taken up a position as Informationist/Librarian at Western Michigan University's Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine. In this position, and in her future career, Anna has great potential as a leader in developing policy and services. 

Kathryn Luther & William T Henderson Award

Presented to Kristina Williams

Throughout her time at the iSchool, Kristina Williams has demonstrated her commitment to community. She served as the MS student representative to the faculty meeting and on the Curriculum Committee and as the secretary of the ALA Student Chapter. Nationally, she serves as the managing editor for Hack Library School. She has presented at conferences including ACRL, where she facilitated a roundtable discussion on “Tending the garden: Sharing projects that strengthen communities within the academic library” and at ALISE where she had posters on “Digital Space and Place: How LIS Students Connect and Collaborate on Critical Issues” and “Leadership Through Action: Student-initiated Program Development.”

Information Systems/Technologies Award

Presented to Hui Lyu

As soon as Hui Lyu arrived at the School of Information Sciences, her exceptional skills, enthusiasm, and engagement became readily apparent. Hui quickly volunteered her information technology expertise to help with a wide variety of research and service projects across campus, including those at the University Library, National Center for Supercomputing Applications, HathiTrust Research Center, and iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship. All who have worked with Hui have praised her real and important technological contributions to their projects. Hui’s thirst for knowledge and skills development is similarly outstanding, as those who have worked with her consistently note her never-ending efforts to work with, and then master, all sorts of languages and systems from Java to Python, SQL, R, and many more.

Information Systems/Technologies Award

Presented to Janina Sarol

Janina Sarol came to the iSchool from the Grainger Library, where she worked as a research programmer for digital library initiatives. She is passionate about connecting users to resources and finding new ways to help them navigate those connections; for instance, through her work on the Linked Data for Special Collections and Emblematica Online projects. Her interests have brought together the library and the iSchool in a complementary fashion; for instance, she has contributed to their collaborative work on the HathiTrust Research Center partnership with Indiana University. In helping to represent the University on the W3C Web Annotation Working Group, she supported conformance testing and other work that enabled the publication this past February of the three W3C Web Annotation Recommendations and two Working Group Technical Notes. Janina combines intellectual curiosity and a drive to go deeper on any given question, whether about predicate logic or about sociotechnical systems.

Frances B. Jenkins Award  

Presented to Kortney Rupp

Kortney Rupp came to the iSchool with a BA in chemistry from Monmouth College and an MS in analytical chemistry from Purdue University. Through her coursework, a graduate assistantship at the Grainger Engineering Library, and her leadership roles in the Special Libraries Association (SLA) Student Group, Kortney has prepared for her future career as the chemical information librarian at the University of California, Berkeley, starting in June. She has been recognized with conference travel awards from the American Chemical Society and the SLA Chemistry Division. In her new position, she will be able to take an active role in promoting chemical information literacy and effective data management habits in chemistry research.

Library School Alumni Association Student Award

Presented to Kyle Huizenga​

Kyle Huizenga was hired as a graduate hourly employee to work in the reference department of the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library in the fall of 2015. In that position, as well as in providing reference service, he immediately began training to handle the library’s budget; create quarterly budget, acquisitions, and statistical reports; log receipts from national and international library-related travel; and interact with the Institute’s business department as a representative of the library. In the fall of 2016, Kyle was promoted to graduate assistant, taking over the budget, receipt-reporting, and report-creation responsibilities for which he had been trained. In addition, he continued to provide excellent reference service. As this year has progressed, Kyle is training two iSchool graduate hourly employees in all of his many areas of responsibility. He also is acting, in effect, as a mentor to both of these students, even as he continues his own studies and employee responsibilities.

Kyle has amazed us with his complete unflappability. He has taken on each new responsibility with total equanimity and his performance has been outstanding. His interactions are always congenial and professional and have set an exceptional example for the other iSchool student employees.

Alice Lohrer Award for Literature and Library Services for Youth

Presented to Lauren Gray

Lauren Gray has been superb in her work at The Center for Children's Books (CCB), with a super-heroic depth of commitment beneath her always pleasant and helpful manner. Lauren has a vital part of the App Authors grant research team, where she has taken the lead on work to iteratively develop a problem-based curriculum supporting youth in learning to code and building apps. She has consistently demonstrated her student-centered approach to instruction, designing activities for youth in the third through fifth grades and successfully implementing them in both school and public library settings. The success of these instructional activities is due to Lauren’s recognition of the various experience levels and skills that these young people bring to coding and app building and her understanding of instructional design for all learners. Lauren brings to the profession an exceptional capability to meet learners where they are, to anticipate their needs, and to set them up for learning success with thoughtful interactions and by treating them with respect and care. She's always looking for new challenges and growth possibilities but never loses sight of the day-to-day necessities. Lauren is thorough, thoughtful, and youth-oriented, and her work is at the height of librarianship.

Alice Lohrer Award for Literature and Library Services for Youth

Presented to Jennifer Vetter

Before coming to the iSchool, Jennifer Vetter had worked as a children's book editor for Chronicle Books and other publishers, written a children's picture book (Down by the Station), and volunteered extensively in school and public libraries, working with youth. None of these things had been enough to satisfy Jennifer: she wanted to come to the iSchool so she could become a "real" librarian, one who could wrestle with issues like net neutrality while also inspiring children through story-time singing and book sharing. In courses such as Youth Services Librarianship, Jennifer has shown herself to be an exemplary student and a "real" librarian, using assignments to help her make sense of real-life challenges at the Oakland, California, elementary school library where she has been working. Her enthusiasm for learning, her commitment to ensuring that the library meets the needs of all students—including English-language learners and special needs students—together with her belief in the power of reading, technology, and inquiry make it clear that Jennifer is going to be a leader among youth services librarians.

Hazel C. Rediger Award

Presented to Sylvia Rosillo

Sylvia Rosillo's time at the School of Information Sciences has been marked by intellectual curiosity both in and out of the classroom. She demonstrates an intellectual passion and genuine humanistic engagement with her studies. In the classroom, she always engaged with the topics and always worked to locate them in broader cultural and disciplinary context. In her practicum at the Spurlock Museum, she was an eager learner and attentive worker, processing image collections and learning about Native American culture with equal enthusiasm. She is a highly collaborative member of classes, and her instructors have commented on the contagious nature of her intellectual enthusiasm and how it sparks others to increased engagement.

Joseph Rediger Librarian as Humanist Award

Presented to Abby Connick

Abby Connick wants to pursue a career as a rare books and special collections librarian. She holds a BA in history and English from Concordia University in Nebraska and at Illinois, she has gained experience relevant to her career goal through work in the Conservation Lab and Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Her consistent interest in books as artifacts, conveyors of culture beyond the literary content on the page, is evident in this reflection from her personal website: “Whenever I find a used book, I am fascinated by the thought of who owned the book before it came to rest in a shop. What did they learn? How about the skilled hands that created it, or the author who pored over every word? Why did they choose to create the book I now hold in my hands?”

Social Justice Award

Presented to Lisa Brooks

Lisa Brooks has focused her career on helping the nonprofit sector make good use of information technologies, first through website and web application design and development services as principal of New Media for Nonprofits, and for the past 11 years as cofounder and codirector of IssueLab, where she serves as director of knowledge management systems. Now a service of the Foundation Center, IssueLab supports ongoing learning and research in the social sector through its mission to preserve and distribute social policy research resources. Issue areas span a wide range, such as human rights and civil liberties, prison and judicial reform, housing and homelessness, and race and ethnicity. This award recognizes Lisa for her energy, vision, and commitment to applying technology in support of social justice.

Yingbo Zhou Memorial Fund Award

Presented to Yingjun Guan

Yingjun Guan is the president of the iSchool Chinese Student and Scholar Group and organizes several high-quality activities. He hosts academic workshops with guest speakers, invites senior students to give suggestions on living and studying for new students, holds regular social and sporting events, and gathers students for celebrating traditional Chinese festivals. These activities help Chinese students and scholars feel less lonely on campus and more accustomed to the environment as well as help promote academic success. Yingjun is also a straight-A student earning his MS in information management and will continue pursuing his PhD degree at the iSchool. His passion for academics and our School encourages and influences not only Chinese students but also other students around him.

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