Get to know Kirsten Y. Howley (MS '09), senior business analyst

howley_kirsten_1.jpg?itok=VmvkJ6wX As a GSLIS student, Kirsten Y. Howley focused on government and business information. Now she puts those skills to work daily in a role that facilitates information sharing and more at a large technology company.

Where do you work and what is your role?
I am a senior business analyst with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), a technology integrator in technical, intelligence, and enterprise information technology markets, predominately serving customers in the US federal government. I specialize in internal policy development, process improvement, and communications for SAIC’s program management community.

What do you like best about your job?
I’m very fortunate to have a manager who recognizes each individual team member’s unique talents; he provides each of us the latitude to engage in projects that relate to our interests. There are always opportunities to expand my experience outside of my day-to-day job. For example, earlier this year I was a member of the acquisition management team, helping organize the due diligence analysis for SAIC’s $790 million dollar purchase of Scitor. Currently, I’m cochairing a working group to reinstitute a training curriculum for SAIC’s program managers. I’m also a member of an executive steering committee to oversee the information architecture for our company intranet.

What do you see as the most important impact of your work?
I engage daily with executive leadership in company-wide efforts to improve everyday workflow and information sharing. I have to be knowledgeable about most facets of the business and the internal workings of the organization, which is a challenge, especially since we have approximately fifteen thousand employees who are affected by our decisions. Because SAIC’s program managers need to be well versed in the business, too—systems, business processes, government regulations and auditable requirements—I facilitate access to resources that allow them to assimilate information quickly, so that they can spend time on their primary responsibility—delivering quality technical products and services. This involves developing a holistic approach to knowledge management and communications, both for our department and for the corporation as a whole.

How did GSLIS help you get to where you are today?
My education, both undergraduate and graduate, is not typical for SAIC. I do not have a technical and engineering background that many of my colleagues have, nor do I have an MBA or equivalent sales or contracting experience. That said, I had interned at SAIC while obtaining my undergraduate degree and kept that experience in mind while completing my studies at GSLIS. I focused on government and business information, and wrote papers and completed assignments with SAIC’s business infrastructure in mind. I’ve actually used some of those projects in my job since I returned to the company.

What advice would you like to share with GSLIS students?
When it comes to career choices after graduation, don’t necessarily limit yourself to a library. The skills learned obtaining an MS/LIS are applicable across multiple fields.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I read ferociously. I always have a stack of books on my nightstand. I am usually reading three or four at once from all sorts of genres. Right now it’s Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis, It’s Not the Size of the Data—It’s How you Use It by Koen Pauwels, and Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier. I also paint (not as often as I’d like) and design beer labels for my husband’s home brew (not as often as he’d like).

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Get to know Andres Perez, MS/IM student

Andres Perez is preparing for a career in cybersecurity through a combination of the iSchool's MS in information management (MS/IM) program and the Illinois Cyber Security Scholars Program (ICSSP), a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program funded by the National Science Foundation. Perez applied for the ICSSP—which provides full tuition, a stipend, and development opportunities for students who want to specialize in cybersecurity and privacy—to "grow as a professional and contribute to a greater mission."

Andres Perez

Get to know Lauren Ochs, school librarian and iSchool practicum supervisor

Lauren Ochs (MS/LIS '07) has always wanted to teach. In college, she decided to become a high school English teacher, because of her love for literature and admiration for an English teacher she had in high school. It was while completing courses and practicum experiences for her major that she discovered how much she enjoyed teaching reading and integrating technology into the classroom in meaningful ways.

Lauren Ochs

Get to know Yasmeen Shorish (MS/LIS ’11), Head of Scholarly Communications Strategies

When asked to serve as the iSchool's convocation speaker next month, Yasmeen Shorish (MS/LIS '11) was surprised and honored. "It means a lot to be recognized by my alma mater in this way." Shorish, who holds a BS in biology from Northeastern Illinois University and a BFA in theater from UIUC, is the head of scholarly communications strategies at James Madison University Libraries.

Yasmeen Shorish

Belcher Scholarship honors mother’s commitment to LIS education

When Lucille Belcher applied to the Graduate School of Library Science (now the iSchool) in the 1960s, she was met with some uncertainty, or at least concern, regarding her ability to complete the program. After all, Belcher was a middle-aged housewife and mother, and at that time, there weren't many women of her age and situation heading back to college.

Lucille Belcher

Get to know Ellen Janowski (MS/IM ’18), Knowledge Management Associate at Invenergy LLC

Ellen Janowski (MS/IM '18) is a knowledge management associate at Invenergy LLC, a leading, privately held, global developer and operator of sustainable energy solutions. In this role, she supports, maintains, and deepens the knowledge management (KM) practices across the core facets of people, processes, and technology. According to Janowski, KM is more than a specific technology: it is a practice that makes a company more efficient and effective through the allocation of information held by individuals within the organization.

Ellen Janowski