Student award recipients announced at Convocation

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 12, 2019.

Bryce Allen Award for Reference Services

Presented to Chrissy O'Grady

Chrissy O'Grady combines a strong commitment to helping patrons with her technological expertise and her skill in infusing all of her reference interactions with information literacy. Chrissy's knowledge of digitization and special collections gives her valuable insight into processes about which most reference librarians are not familiar. She has used her unique perspective to help the University Library’s Research and Information Services (RIS) unit to develop new responses to patrons with digitization questions. Chrissy has a tremendous facility for teaching and learning at the reference desk. She brings the values and concepts of information literacy to all of her work, whether assisting patrons in person, on the phone, or via chat. She actively listens to patrons and then guides them toward discovery, always with an emphasis on keeping the patron/learner at the center of their own inquiry rather than simply giving directions or an "answer." Chrissy is not only a wonderful teacher to the Library's patrons, but also an effective second-year graduate assistant mentor to her first-year colleagues. Her combined reference and instruction skills have contributed significantly to how RIS envisions successful academic library services.  

Berner-Nash Memorial Award

Presented to E.E. Lawrence

E.E. Lawrence's dissertation focuses on the philosophy of readers' advisory (RA) and the practice of reading for pleasure. Lawrence argues that suggesting materials from the standpoint of satisfying the patron (the pure preference satisfaction model or PPSM) does not adhere to public libraries’ goal of educating a democratic citizenry. They propose that a more politically aware aesthetic education model for RA may provide a richer and more educative experience for readers. One committee member noted, "EE's dissertation is stunning. It is deep, beautifully written, important, and will be very influential. No one working in this area will be able to ignore their work. The PPSM, and their critique, will be staples of RA discussions indefinitely, and probably information ethics discussions more generally as well." Lawrence's dissertation is clearly one of distinction. Their work not only adds to the theoretical foundations of LIS but will also help information professionals provide better services to users. Lawrence will join the Rutgers School of Communication & Information in the fall as an assistant professor.

Anne M. Boyd Award/Beta Phi Mu

Presented to Sharon Han

Sharon Han is awarded the Anne M. Boyd/Beta Phi Mu Award in recognition of her outstanding eagerness to learn, commitment to developing as a professional, leadership qualities, and contributions to the school. She has shown exceptional academic performance in classes ranging from Academic Librarianship to Usability Engineering. She earned a 4.0 GPA through her talented writing, critical questions, and well-informed and expressed thoughts in class. She also contributed to her classmates' learning with useful feedback on their work and guidance for job searching. Sharon's work has been recognized with the campus' Library Outstanding Graduate Student Award as well as the American Library Association’s LITA/Ex Libris Student Writing Award. Further, Sharon has gamely taken on a variety of tasks as a research assistant that rely on her strong understanding of librarianship, science, education, and public outreach combined with unparalleled initiative and curiosity. 

Edith Harris Camp Award

Presented to Stacia McKeever

A talented artist, Stacia brings her love of aesthetics to all of her work, and she brings enterprise and creativity to the intersection of art and librarianship. When I read the description of the Edith Harris Camp Award, Stacia is the first person to come to mind. In this semester alone, she has initiated and completed an internship with the Oriental Institute in Chicago, co-created and presented a program at Rickert Library on artists’ books and zines, and co-created and presented a brown bag talk at the Center for Children's Books on parallels between picture book illustration and fine art. That was all on top of her GAship at the CCB, where in addition to the regular work of running the special collection she helped shepherd three of our big spring events in quick succession, always keeping an eye out for what was being left undone and making sure the whole flowed smoothly. She's a reflective and forward-thinking contributor to the profession, and I look forward to her career as a creative artist and creative librarian.

Jane B. and Robert B. Downs Professional Promise Award  

Presented to Thomas Kuipers

With his humor, boundless curiosity, high achievements, and intense drive, Thomas Kuipers embodies Jane and Robert Downs' deep commitment to contribute meaningfully and impactfully across the field of LIS. Since he arrived at the iSchool, Tom has energetically and passionately pursued his interests in archives, community and public history. His writings reflect the breadth we expect from a recipient of this award. For example, in 501, he focused on the impact of gender and race on the late 19th and early 20th century Arts and Crafts movement in Europe and North America, investigating how women and minority groups influenced style and design. His final paper in 502, "Colonizing Sci-Fi: An Analysis of Cultural Heritage Institution Representations in Western Science-Fiction Television, 1959-1997," delved into visual perceptions of libraries, archives and museums and revealed continued biases and power structures of colonialism, imperialism, and western superiority. He has dedicated countless hours towards the betterment of our community through University-level service as a representative on the Senate Educational Policy committee and the Committee on the Library. All this, while maintaining a 4.0! His professional promise is unparalleled.

Entrepreneurial Promise Award

Presented to Haocong Cheng

Haocong Cheng possesses the kind of spirit and enthusiasm for data, data visualization, and issues of accessibility that demonstrate his commitment to understanding every aspect of a problem. He is an avid traveler of the world, and he has invested in the notion of the "quantified self" to track and record all of these travels. Given this fantastic set of data, Haocong has pursued a truly "quantified self," and has analyzed and visualized his own experiences, using this to put into context how cities flow and bring people with them. Haocong has applied skills he learned here to not only bring together data and personal experience, but he also augments these with a keen eye for visual design and photography. The entrepreneurial approach—generating, finding, using and expanding on data—is one that will continue to serve Haocong in the future.

Faculty Special Award of Merit

Presented to Alaine Martaus

Alaine Martaus earned the Faculty Special Award of Merit for her outstanding work in Research Services and for her diligence and enthusiastic contributions to our LIS curriculum as a TA for multiple sections of IS502. In Research Services, she was very successful in coordinating the annual Research Showcase as well as contributing significantly to the planning of the 2019 Joint Conference on Digital Libraries. As an experienced TA for IS502 Libraries, Information, and Society—one of the two core courses for MS/LIS students, she works closely with both faculty members and students. Her help evinces deep expertise in the field from her former academic librarianship work. The way she skillfully interacts with students and provides feedback makes student online learning experiences enjoyable and seamless. She demonstrated this same attention to detail in her excellent dissertation, "Modeling Participatory Literacy (In Your Pants): An Analysis of Print and New Media Convergence in the Vlogbrothers' YouTube Videos."

Faculty Special Award of Merit

Presented to Billy Tringali

The faculty present this special award of merit in recognition of Billy Tringali's intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm. In his studies, he engages with topics as diverse as peer review, YouTube and anime, and pursues those interests with infectious good humor and boundless energy. During his iSchool career, Billy was active at conferences and on campus, giving outstanding and highly entertaining presentations on topics like "peer review scandals" and their impact on disciplinary cultures and public perception of scholars; he entered research competitions; he brought his expertise in and affection for vampires to a lecture sponsored by the library. He also established and launched a peer reviewed journal, Journal of Anime Studies, and promoted it at scholarly conferences. His intellectual energy sparks excellent discussion in class, and he always encourages the contributions of others.

Herbert Goldhor Award for Public Librarianship

Presented to Aldo Vasquez

Recognized as a Spectrum Scholar, Aldo Vasquez came to the iSchool with extensive experience at the Chicago Public Library, including work as a CyberNavigator (assisting patrons with technological issues), YOUmedia mentor (creating STEAM programs for teens), and children's library associate. As a member of the Chicago Public Library's Latinx Services Committee, he has worked with library branches all across the city to encourage the development and implementation of more Spanish language signage, programming related to Latinx culture, immigration resources, and additional Spanish language books in the collection. He has partnered with STEAM-related organizations such as Adler Planetarium, Museum of Science and Industry, and Shedd Aquarium to create new library programming opportunities. As of April 1, he now can engage in community outreach and partnerships for and with youth as a Children's Services Librarian at Chicago Public Library's Harold Washington Library.

Peggy Harris Award

Presented to Cat Broady

As a student, Cat Broady is always a reliable and very congenial contributor, moving discussion forward with commitment to intellectual inquiry and with cheerful good humor. She was a substantial contributor to the iSchool community during her time with us, notably as an able and energetic student representative to faculty meetings for both her two years in the program, Moreover, since her first semester in the program, she has been an active member of the event committee for the ALA student chapter, chairing it this past year and contributed her time and talent to the student chapter of the Society of American Archivists. She also joined hearings on academic integrity allegations as the master's student representative. The faculty members of the committee were deeply impressed by the level of her preparation for the hearings and her willingness to engage in respectful debate. Always quick to step up to assist with student affairs student onboarding activities like orientation and welcome weekend, Cat exemplifies that spirit of volunteerism and concern for others and the school that is as the heart of the Peggy Harris award.

Peggy Harris Award

Presented to Jamie Makatche

Jamie Makatche has exemplified the spirit of volunteerism during her time at the iSchool. As a part-time student working full-time at Northwestern University's Office of Alumni Relations and Development, Jamie both rose to the occasion when called upon to serve and offered her time and talent willingly. As an engaged and exemplary student, Jamie accepted the offer in 2017 to serve as the iSchool's online student representative for the newly formed Online Innovation Advisory Board out of the Office of the Provost. As part of this group, Jamie and other graduate student colleagues were given the opportunity to help shape the future of 21st century higher education by engaging directly with the Office of the Provost and other campus leaders in the online education space. Jamie accepted the School's nomination again for the 2018-2019 school year. Furthermore, Jamie volunteered as student support for the 2nd annual iSchool Networking and Career Fair in Chicago and completed her last year at the iSchool co-serving alongside co-awardee Cat Broady as the MS student Faculty Meeting representative where the two of them set an exceptional precedent for on-campus/online student service collaboration. Jamie has accepted a position at McPherson College's Miller Library which will begin in early August where her dedication to her work and community are sure to be beneficial.

Health Sciences Information Management Award

Presented to Amanda Avery

Amanda Avery came to the iSchool with several years of experience as an Ophthalmic Assistant at Carle, where she collaborated with physicians, nurses, and other co-workers in providing patient care. As a graduate assistant collaborating with the Biomedical Sciences Librarian and through a practicum, she has been working to develop a robust virtual library in support of the new Carle Illinois College of Medicine. Her contributions have included identifying resources to support specific topic areas in the curriculum while building and populating close to 30 comprehensive LibGuide pages. Amanda's work experience in healthcare, her diligence in identifying quality resources, along with her sound judgment, have been invaluable in helping the library build a robust virtual collection that is relevant and easily accessible. 

Kathryn Luther & William T Henderson Award

Presented to Halle Burns

Halle has spent her two years within our iSchool providing an exceptional level of service to our school and this campus. Her level of dedication to peers, students, and campus community has set a high bar for involvement. Halle has completed three semesters as a TA for IS452, where her commitment to creating a welcoming environment ensured that each student felt supported and had feedback to grow their understanding.  She also completed her Carpentries instructor training and taught many Software and Data Carpentry workshop modules across campus and within the Research Park, where her teaching skills provided impact well beyond our school. Halle's passion for service and professional development, along with her expertise in providing technical training, have demonstrated her commitment to her school and profession. 

Information Systems/Technologies Award

Presented to Milind Mathur

Milind Mathur demonstrated his capacity to master new technology on multiple occasions during his time in the Information Management program. Milind wrote advanced database queries as part of a research project on cancer ontologies that was subsequently submitted as a conference paper, and he learned REACT technologies that he then taught to other students in an independent study. Lastly, Milind took an active role in developing a mobile application for the County Financial DigitaLab as part of an internship. Milind's IT experience and character enabled him to effectively lead projects at the DigitaLab that ultimately moved services to a cloud platform as well as working with the Agile development team on user stories in a production environment. All of this was done quickly, professionally, and accurately and was instrumental in pushing emerging technologies forward in the organization. In short, Milind Mathur embodies both the aspirations that we all have to be lifelong learners and has made significant achievements in information systems make him the ideal candidate for the iSchool Information Systems/Technologies Award.

Frances B. Jenkins Award  

Presented to Paige Dhyne

Paige Dhyne came to the iSchool with a passion for the sciences, biology in particular, and a goal of working in academic libraries with an emphasis on information literacy instruction. While at the iSchool, she has gained experience in information literacy instruction as a graduate assistant in the Undergraduate Library, filled leadership roles in the American Library Association Student Chapter, and engaged in research, co-authoring a paper on "Discovering the Library and the Librarian in Science Textbooks: Representations and Implications." Paige has a promising career as a science librarian as she begins her new position at the Sanders Science Library at Furman University.

iSchool Alumni Association Student Award

Presented to Kevin Kelley​

Kevin Kelley entered the Leep program in the Fall of 2017, working as a Young Adult Library assistant in the teen space in Evanston, IL, where, combined with his strong arts and social justice background, he found his motivation for pursuing an MS/LIS degree. In his initial introduction in IS 501, he stated that his work at Evanston combined his "passion for working with young people without there being a paywall for services." Now a children's librarian at New York Public library, a contributor to Public Libraries Online and as a current committee member of NYPL's Best Books for Kids committee and the Stonewall Youth and YA awards committee, Kevin's career thus far is indicative of a student who "caught the spirit"–that is an individual with a demonstrated interest in working in a library setting and a deep commitment to those he works with and in service to. Kevin's service orientation is already benefiting the Leep program and the iSchool itself as he has been an eager and enthusiastic alum giving of his time and wisdom to support incoming Leep students.  One cannot help but absorb his joy and spirit when in his presence and we, the iSchool, are lucky to count him among our community.

Alice Lohrer Award for Literature and Library Services for Youth

Presented to Victoria Pietrus

Vicki Pietrus is awarded the Alice Lohrer Award for Literature and Library Services for Youth for her outstanding promise in the field of literature and library services for youth. Vicki is a dedicated and passionate youth services specialist, who brings her commitment to equity and justice to her work every day. Her stellar work ethic, in-depth knowledge of youth, learning, and librarianship, and creativity have been recognized in her classes and in her work on campus. As a research assistant this past year, Vicki has brought important understanding and vision to work connecting school librarians and public librarians, with the goal of improving support and services for youth in all settings. With this award, we are thrilled to recognize her broad, impactful thinking, and her excellent skills and future leadership potential for connecting young people, literature, and strong library services for and with youth.

Hazel C. Rediger Award

Presented to Vaishnavi Padala

Vaishnavi joined the MS/IM program in Spring 2017 with a great interest in what we had to offer. What she discovered was quite how much was available in a large Midwestern research-intensive land grant university. But the only problem was finding out what was on offer and choosing between hundreds of opportunities. So Vaishnavi set herself to tackling that problem. She scoured departmental calendars and websites for courses, talks, and other opportunities across campus. But there was so much and most likely other things she did not know about. What to do? Obviously the solution was to ask people for help to make sense of the options and so make informed choices. So she did that–a lot. She asked people in such an engaging and thoughtful way that they were delighted to share their knowledge. Those of us interviewed by Vaishnavi know of how well she embodies the spirit of the Hazel C. Rediger Award, which is given to a student who demonstrates strong intellectual curiosity and interests both in the classroom and outside it. 

Joseph Rediger Librarian as Humanist Award

Presented to Garrett McComas

Garrett McComas's commitment to humanistic inquiry manifests itself in the classroom and beyond. He uses his familiarity with ancient languages and literatures to think critically about how people learn; visualize knowledge; and perceive or perform authority. Garrett’s humanistic orientation is likewise evident in his written scholarship, from his examination of a polyglot dictionary in the sixteenth century to the exploration of paratext in scholarly publication in the twenty-first century. Meanwhile, as an embedded librarian-in-training, Garrett's shared understanding of the humanistic enterprise enabled him to collaborate productively with faculty and students in History on digital publishing projects. Garrett thus brings the critical eye of the humanist to bear on the contemporary practices of librarianship—from classification to scholarly communication to education and access. Garrett McComas already offers us manifold ways to envision the "humanist as librarian," and we eagerly await his contributions as he takes on the role of "librarian as humanist."

Social Justice Award

Presented to Betty Bayer

Before coming to the iSchool, Betty had served as a high school English teacher in St. Louis, starting just two weeks before the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, the community that borders her school at the time. As she tried to open up conversations with her students, she faced immediate pushback from school administration to stay silent. Betty has used her rich lived experiences there, then as youth services librarian at the St. Louis Public Library, and now at the iSchool, to advance her mindfulness of the injustices at our own doorsteps. And with these at her core, she has quietly but strongly inspired thoughtfulness in others in ways that aren't aggressive but that still foster their consideration of another way to look at something. And in doing this, she is bringing forward new possibilities to use pockets of resistance in support of the marginalized, unheard, and oppressed, encouraging us as professionals to silence ourselves and instead quietly listen to the information and knowledge of those unheard, in their own voices.  Betty is working to become a new storyteller through counter-storytelling in the community and in the library, as so aptly put by Associate Faculty Nicole Cooke, and is well deserving of the Social Justice Award.

Yingbo Zhou Memorial Fund Award

Presented to Shuyi Liu

Shuyi Liu has been a pre-professional graduate assistant at the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library for the past two years. She has delivered a high level of performance. Among her accomplishments, she has helped handle more than 50 Chinese visiting scholars, including various visa requirements, cross-cultural communications, travel plans, and housing logistics. She has also provided excellent assistance, especially translation for the Chinese Librarians Scholarly Exchange Program (CLSEP, 2018-2019). She currently serves as President for the iSchool Chinese Students and Scholars Group, maintaining close relationship with other student groups on campus. As a member of the 2019 CALA Election Committee, she helps coordinate election related work with the Membership Committee, Nominating Committee, and Web Committee. 

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