Kristin Petersheim (MS '15) was awarded the IEEE Continuing Education Stipend from the Engineering Division of the SLA. She will use the award to attend the SLA 2017 Annual Conference, which will take place from June 16-20 in Phoenix, Arizona.
Petersheim has worked as associate technical information specialist in the Caterpillar Technical Information Center since 2015, where she also serves as document delivery and acquisitions librarian and outreach and instruction librarian.
Her first experience working in a library happened by chance while she was living in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, where she volunteered in a seminary library. She caught the service-oriented spirit of the profession while helping master's and doctoral students develop search skills. She also volunteered part time for the Pietermaritzburg Association for Community Social Action, which was working to archive Apartheid-era social rights documents in cooperation with the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal. Together these experiences confirmed for Petersheim the importance of the information profession and led to her decision to pursue a career in library science.
While she was a master's student at Illinois, Petersheim held two graduate assistant positions in special libraries: managing budgets and statistical reporting at the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library and working as the sole librarian at the Asian Educational Media Service. In addition, she was appointed the first research coordinator for the Business Intelligence Group—a research group that simulates an information consultancy—and led a team of ten MS/LIS students in completing more than thirty consulting projects over the course of a semester. Petersheim’s efforts earned her the iSchool's 2015 Alumni Association Student Award.
In conjunction with faculty librarians at Purdue University, Petersheim is currently conducting a survey with her peers at Caterpillar to better understand the information usage habits of engineers. She also is working to execute a visiting librarian program, so that Technical Information Center librarians can be more accessible to engineers in various Caterpillar locations. Earlier this year, she implemented a system to create custom research guides and content for library users.
"I'm grateful for my experiences with faculty and peers at the iSchool because I not only learned the skills necessary for my current role, but also how to advocate the value of those skills within my company," Petersheim said.