"Crisis informatics," a term coined by iSchool alumna Chris Hagar (PhD '05) and Leysia Palen, professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is now a well-established area of study. Crisis informatics explores the interconnectedness of information, people, and technologies in crises and examines the intersecting trajectories of social, technical, and information dynamics during the full life cycle of a crisis. While Hagar first used the term in her PhD dissertation, which focused on the UK's foot and mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in 2001, there are many similar information challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During this period of increased remote work due to COVID-19, Juliana Perry (MS '09) is using skills that she learned from taking and supporting online classes as a Leep graduate assistant while earning her MS/LIS degree from the iSchool. Perry works as an enterprise project manager for the University of the Sciences (USciences) in Philadelphia.
John Gough (MS '14) works for the University of Texas at Austin in the University Development Office (UDO). UDO is the fundraising arm of the university and oversees philanthropic giving from alumni, friends, foundations, and corporations totaling several hundred million dollars every year. As the senior executive director for advancement data operations and strategy, he oversees over twenty individuals across three teams responsible for gift and data processing, data quality, business intelligence, and predictive analytics.
As baseball teams gear up for spring training this month, Jack Bales (MS '74) will begin another season of following—and researching—the Chicago Cubs, a team whose history he knows well. Bales, a reference and humanities librarian, combined his expert research skills and interest in the Cubs to author a book on the team's early history. His book, Before They Were Cubs: The Early Years of Chicago's First Professional Team, was published last spring by McFarland & Company.
In the very back of the American Writers Museum there is a corner where two walls meet, each filled from top to bottom with words, seemingly random. The light is low, and people gather as a projector illuminates these words to highlight quotes from famous authors and create shapes such as rolling waves and the distinct torch of the Statue of Liberty. Every eight minutes it refreshes itself and is mesmerizing to watch. It creates meaning out of disorder, ever-changing both in perspective and content.
Donna Bessant (MS '70) wants today's library and information science students to succeed in their chosen profession and experience the "joyful rewards" of working with young people, as she did during her career. To lend them a hand, she has directed a portion of her estate to establish scholarships for iSchool students in need. The scholarships will support everyday expenses and advance the short- and long-term goals for students who plan to work with children and young adult services in libraries.
Héctor Hernández (MS '78) retired in September after 40 years with the Chicago Public Library, having served the past 30 years as branch manager of CPL's Rudy Lozano Branch. Located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, the Rudy Lozano Branch is the largest Hispanic public library in the Midwest. Hernández was drawn to the field of librarianship because he never saw any Hispanic librarians when he was growing up. Over the course of his lengthy career at CPL, he became a role model for Hispanic youth in his community.
Celia C. Pérez (CAS '12) credits her experience as a student in the Certificate of Advanced Study (CAS) program with her decision to become a children's book author. Her debut children’s book, The First Rule of Punk, published by Viking Books for Young Readers in 2017, was a hit. In addition to receiving several honors, including the 2018 Tomás Rivera Mexican American Children’s Book Award, the Children's Theatre Company in Minneapolis is currently adapting the book into a musical.
David King (MS '78, PhD '94) believes libraries must be reinvented to meet the needs of professional practitioners. This "out of the box" mindset has led him to design and build digital libraries for professionals providing services to victims of crime and abuse.
Fayrene Muhammad (MS '01) has been selected as the 2018 winner of the DEMCO/ALA Black Caucus Award for Excellence in Librarianship. The annual award is presented to the librarian who has made significant contributions to promote the status of African Americans in the library profession. These contributions may include, but are not limited to, research and scholarship, recruitment, professional development, planning or implementation of programs, or advocacy.
The lessons that Dorothy Vickers-Shelley (MS '75) imparted to students still resonate nearly a decade after her death. Vickers-Shelley was the head librarian at Yankee Ridge Elementary School in Urbana for 33 years, retiring in 2003.
As coordinator of history and traditions programs for the University of Illinois Alumni Alliance (UIAA), Ryan Ross (MS '10) is a curator, educator, and storyteller. His position was created in 2015 to curate exhibits for a campus welcome center that was under development at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center, develop public programming related to the history of the University, and serve as an advocate for University history. After nearly three years of work, the completed welcome center—known as the Richmond Family Welcome Gallery—opened at the Alice Campbell Alumni Center in October 2018 during Homecoming Week. Since October, more than 13,000 people have visited the Center's exhibits.
As the current president of the Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association (APALA), Paolo P. Gujilde aims to streamline the organization's workflow and processes, increase membership, and provide more opportunities for members to be involved. He credits the continued support from APALA members for making a very busy year a wonderful one as well.
Working on his application for graduate study at the iSchool at Illinois, Michael DeNotto (MS '12) wanted to make his personal statement stand out. DeNotto worked at an upscale wine shop after receiving his master's in English studies and communication from Valparaiso University. There he discovered a "fascinating wine classification system that determined whether a wine was a vin de pays or premier cru or grand cru." He used the wine classification analogy in his personal statement to demonstrate his interest in librarianship.
Assistant Director of Information Services and Archives Alisun DeKock (MS '07) is the "solo librarian and lone arranger" for Shedd Aquarium in Chicago. She enjoys the variety of her work as a librarian and archivist as well as being around some "seriously fascinating" creatures.
Librarian and writer Katie Dunneback (MS '03) became a fan of romance novels at the age of twelve, after reading The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. She started her first novel in college, at the advice of her anthropology professor, and after graduation became involved in Romance Writers of America (RWA). Dunneback recently received a 2018 RWA Service Award in recognition of her volunteer service to the association. "Being in RWA and a part of the romance community at large has helped shaped the adult I am today," she said.
iSchool alumna Soraya Silverman-Montano (MS '11) is the 2018 president of the Nevada Library Association (NLA). In this role, one of her goals is to work with library organizations across the state to get their staff involved and active in the organization. Silverman-Montano, head of Youth Services at the Las Vegas-Clark County Library District’s Spring Valley branch, was named the NLA's…
Evanston, Illinois, has a growing Latino population—over 10% according to 2015 figures. Building connections with the Latino community served by the Evanston Public Library is what Miguel Ruiz likes best about his job.