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.
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).
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.
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).
Mandi Goodsett's interest in professional development was sparked when she was an iSchool student volunteering with the Special Libraries Association (SLA). She has since become an active member of the American Library Association, serving as president of the ALA New Members Round Table and as a member of the ALA Steering Committee on Organizational Effectiveness. Goodsett was recently selected by the ALA as the 2022 Lois Ann Gregory-Wood Fellow. She will receive a stipend of $2,500 to offset the cost of attending the ALA 2022 Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. and the 2023 LibLearnX experience in New Orleans.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Kathryn Harris (MS/LIS '71), former director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, has been inducted as an Illinois Library Luminary. The Illinois Library Luminary program, an initiative of the Illinois Library Association (ILA), recognizes those who have made a significant contribution to Illinois libraries.
Internet studies and digital media scholar Safiya Noble (MS '09, PhD '12) has been named a 2021 MacArthur Fellow by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. Noble, an associate professor in the Department of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is among 25 fellows who will each receive $625,000 in unrestricted support over the next five years.
Kelly Czarnecki (MS/LIS ’02) is the 2021-2022 president of the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. She is excited about YALSA's new strategic plan, which is based on member needs and feedback. Czarnecki describes the plan as "a fresh start we can rally around that will make YALSA an even stronger organization!" She also is looking forward to serving as an alumni panelist at the iSchool’s Fall 2021 Virtual Open House on September 3.
For Lisa O'Keefe (MS/LIS ’09), getting a job at Reddit was like "the mothership has truly called me home." She enjoys the variety of her job responsibilities as well as her company's mission to create community and belonging for everyone in the world.
Two iSchool alumni are included in Library Journal's 2021 class of Movers & Shakers, an annual list that recognizes 46 professionals who are moving the library field forward as a profession. Carmi Parker (MS/LIS '15) was honored in the Advocates category, and Claudia Șerbănuță (MS/LIS '09, PhD '17) was honored in the Change Agents category.
Librarian Rachel Wightman (MS/LIS '09) has spent her career teaching students to find information. Outside of her work as associate director for instruction and outreach at Concordia University in St. Paul, Minnesota, she is teaching church congregations how to spot and stop the spread of misinformation. For the past year, Wightman has been holding online training sessions for congregations across the country.
Jhani Miller (MS '15), assistant branch manager for the Brooklyn Public Library, is an aerial artist who has competed nationally, performed off-Broadway, and taught the first-ever public library pole dance class in the U.S.
In recognition of the 20th anniversary of the School Librarian Licensure program, the iSchool is highlighting 20 school librarians who have made a difference in the field. Kim Anderson (MS '07, CAS '09), librarian at Jefferson Middle School in Champaign, loves being a school librarian and mentoring future librarians. Through the years, she has mentored 25 practicum and student teachers in her role as a cooperating librarian. She also contributes her time and expertise as a member of the iSchool's School Librarian Licensure program advisory board.
For Mariah and Fernanda Schaefer (both MS '20), having your twin as a study partner when going through graduate school was extremely helpful. Originally from Brazil, the Schaefer sisters received their bachelor's degrees—Mariah in journalism and Fernanda in advertising—and master's degrees from the University of Illinois.
Mayank Vijaywargia (MS '19) credits his iSchool coursework with preparing him for managing, cleaning, and interpreting data to make strategic decisions; prototyping for data products; and building data warehouses in his job at Ernst & Young LLP. He encourages current students to choose their courses wisely, keeping in mind what they want to do in their future careers.
Students in the second-grade classroom at Villa Grove CUSD #302 are enjoying 80 new culturally diverse books, thanks to the fundraising efforts of their teacher. For Kelly Vail, an iSchool MS/LIS online student, the best part of her teaching job is reading with her students, encouraging the discovery of "books that help them fall in love with reading."