Serbanuta and Sweeney awarded Garfield Dissertation Fellowships

GSLIS doctoral candidates Claudia Serbanuta and Miriam E. Sweeney have been honored with 2013 Eugene Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowships from Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. Up to six recipients are selected each year for this prestigious award, a national competition among doctoral students who are working on their dissertations. The amount awarded for each fellowship is $3,000.

Serbanuta’s dissertation, tentatively titled “Voices from the Other Side of the Wall: The Case of Romanian Public Libraries of the 1970s and the 1980s,” explores the recent history of public libraries in Romania. She also is studying and documenting how libraries functioned in the communist regime.

Serbanuta’s advisor is Kathryn La Barre. Her dissertation committee includes GSLIS Professor Emeritus Chip Bruce, Keith Hitchins of the University of Illinois, and Hermina Anghelescu of Wayne State University.

“I am honored to receive this fellowship from the Beta Phi Mu Honor Society,” said Serbanuta. “This award will support the extensive field work needed for my dissertation, work that represents a starting point for future inquiries into recent history of memory institutions in the Eastern Bloc. I am grateful for the encouragement received from Beta Phi Mu and from my committee. Thank you!”

In Sweeney's dissertation, “Servants of Cyberspace: A Critical Analysis of Microsoft's Ms. Dewey,” she critiques anthropomorphized design of interfaces, using Microsoft's former “Ms. Dewey” search engine interface in a case study. She will look at the performance, representation, and reception of Ms. Dewey, inquiring about the implications for gendering, racializing, and sexualizing information artifacts.

Sweeney’s advisor is Linda C. Smith. Her dissertation committee includes GSLIS Professor and Interim Dean Allen Renear,  and Andre Brock and Lisa Nakamura of the University of Michigan.

“It is an honor to receive the Garfield Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship and be part of such a rich scholarship community with fellow recipients,” said Sweeney. “This award is special to me since it is given by colleague librarians and library educators of Beta Phi Mu. This award will support my research that integrates gender issues into the investigation of information artifacts. Thank you, Beta Phi Mu!”

Prior winners of the Garfield Fellowship include current GSLIS doctoral candidate Sarah T. Roberts, who received the award in 2012, and Ellen Rubenstein (PhD ’11), who was selected for the award in 2010.

Founded in 1948, Beta Phi Mu recognizes and encourages scholastic achievement among library and information studies students. Eligibility for membership is by invitation of the faculty from an American Library Association accredited professional degree program.

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