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."
Saundra Nettles (MS '68) credits the iSchool with teaching her skills, such as systems thinking and interdisciplinary teamwork, that she has been able to transfer across work settings in diverse organizations. Nettles, who also holds a PhD in psychology from Howard University, has served as a special recruit at the Library of Congress, librarian at the Moorland-Spingarn Center at Howard University, principal research scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Social Organization of Schools, and faculty member at the University of Maryland, Georgia Southern University, and University of Illinois.
In response to the World Health Organization's (WHO) need for timely, accurate, and searchable material about COVID-19, Elaine R. Hicks—research, education, and public health librarian at Tulane University in New Orleans—pulled together an ad hoc organization she named the Librarian Reserve Corps (LRC). Among those who answered her call for volunteers were Stacy Brody, reference and instruction librarian at the George Washington University (GWU) School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Bethesda, MD; and Sara Loree, medical librarian at St. Luke’s Health System, Boise, ID, both of whom soon stepped up to serve as the project's co-leads.
Pujeethaa Jakka (MS ’19), data scientist at Pattern Computer Inc., credits the iSchool’s courses in applied business research, data visualization, and data mining with playing a crucial role in helping her achieve her professional goals.
Sanket Sinha (MS '18) uses the technical, interpersonal, and analytical skills he developed at the iSchool in his work as a senior data scientist at The Kraft Heinz Company. For Sinha, the combination of coursework and experiential learning opportunities make the MS/IM program "truly transformative and rewarding."
By the time that Nancy Balz (BA LAS '70, MS/LIS '72) decided to become a public librarian, over twenty years had passed since she had received her LIS degree. She had worked in an archive, academic setting, and bookstore, serving as a word researcher for the Oxford English Dictionary and as a researcher for book authors. While she was interested in working in a public library, she wondered if she was up to the task, with so much time having passed since earning her degree, along with the increasingly online nature of library work.
The iSchool Alumni Association (ISAA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2020 ISAA awards: Safiya Noble (MS '09, PhD '12), Distinguished Alumna Award; Thomas Padilla (MS '14), Leadership Award; and Meg Edwards (MS '04), Distinguished Service Award.
Sherry Williams (MS '19) has a personal connection to her work as president and founder of the Bronzeville Historical Society. The Bronzeville neighborhood, located on Chicago’s South Side, was known as the "Black Metropolis" during its heyday in the early twentieth century. The Great Migration brought many African Americans to Bronzeville, including Williams’ grandmother, who moved to the area from the Delta of Mississippi in 1942.