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

Yasmeen Shorish

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.

Where do you work and what is your role?

I work at James Madison University, which is a large, public university in Virginia. I am the head of scholarly communications strategies, and I also serve as special advisor to the dean on equity initiatives.

What do you like best about your job?

I really enjoy thinking about complex issues and working with various communities to implement strategies to address them. Issues such as equitable opportunities to contribute to the scholarly landscape, how we value different ways of knowing, economic constraints facing all aspects of scholarly communication are just a few of the challenges that keep me energized in my work.

What do you see as the most important impact of your work?

That's hard to answer! One area of important impact has been my involvement in moving away from publisher "Big Deals" and thinking more holistically about what kind of information resources we support and how we center our values—including equity, inclusion, and openness—in those decisions.

How did the iSchool at Illinois help you get to where you are today?

Librarianship is a second career for me, and I really did not have library experience before starting graduate school, so I learned a lot of the foundations at Illinois: cataloging, reference support, metadata, and so on. The data curation courses that I took at the iSchool really helped position me to engage with that work from day one as a liaison librarian (my first job, post-grad school).

What advice would you like to share with iSchool students?

Building a cohort of peers that you can continue to learn from and network with post-graduation is so valuable. Our profession is changing and evolving at a rapid pace, so finding communities of practice and people you can learn with and from is critical. These could be informal networks or professional associations, like ACRL [Association of College and Research Libraries] or RDAP [Research Data Access and Preservation Association].

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I enjoy hiking and spending time away from technology. I do protect my time outside of work because it would be too easy to email all the time or catch up on work—Twitter 24/7. I feel strongly that falling into the "vocational awe" mindset is destructive and unhelpful. 

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Yen supports student success through annual fund

Julie Yen (MS/LIS '07) wants students to receive the same quality educational experience that she enjoyed during her time at the iSchool. For this reason, she is a loyal donor to the iSchool Annual Fund, which provides dollars for scholarships, annual student awards, new technology, and conference travel.

Julie Yen

iSchool alumni named 2022 Movers & Shakers

Five iSchool alumni are included in Library Journal’s 2022 class of Movers & Shakers, an annual list that recognizes 41 professionals who are moving the library field forward as a profession. Jeanie Austin (PhD '17) was honored in the Advocates category, Van McGary (MS/LIS '18) was honored in the Change Agents category, Elisandro Cabada (MS/LIS '17) and Robin Davis (MS/LIS '12) were honored in the Innovators category, and Barbara Alvarez (MS/LIS '12) was honored in the Educators category.

Get to know Catheryne Popovitch, supervisor, Operations and Publications Sections, Illinois State Archives

Catheryne Popovitch (MS/LIS '11) had never considered working in government archives when she was a student in the iSchool but is now relishing the variety in her job with the Illinois State Archives. Her work has garnered accolades from the Council of State Archivists (2021 Rising Star Award) and the National Association of Government Archives and Records Administrators (inaugural Emerging Leader Award).

Catheryne Popovitch

Get to know Kam Wells, data engineer, baseball systems

For Kam Wells (MS/IM '18), working for the Boston Red Sox is a dream come true. A baseball player and lifelong fan of the sport, Wells was a graduate data analyst for the U of I Division of Intercollegiate Athletics Sports Technology Department while he was an iSchool student. Now he works with player-related data—analyzing and storing it, as well as everything that goes into running a professional baseball team.

Kam Wells

iSchool alumni share their zine experiences in new publication

Zines—small-scale, self-published works about anything and everything—have made their way from homes to libraries over the years. As libraries' zine collections grow, librarians must address the acquisition and circulation of these unique publications and develop new ways to promote the creation of future zines. iSchool alumni Ann "A'misa" Matsushima Chiu (MS/LIS '15), Ziba Pérez (MS/LIS ’12), and Josh Lupkin (MS/LIS '08) recently penned chapters on this topic for Zines in Libraries: Selecting, Purchasing and Processing (ALA Editions/CORE, 2022).