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

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

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

Meet Rahul Chandran (MS/IM ’20), Product Manager at Yahoo!

After receiving his bachelor's degree in computer science from Visvesvaraya Technological University in India, Rahul Chandran joined Deloitte Consulting as a business technology analyst. It was there that he realized how much he enjoyed solving customer's problems. This experience motivated Chandran to further his education in a master's program that would best complement his professional goals.

Rahul Chandran