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.
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.
After graduating from UCLA with a degree in Spanish and Portuguese, Jessica Zaldana set out to find a graduate program with flexibility, research possibilities, and opportunities to explore her other interests in digital humanities, information, and technology.
Michael Torres, a senior from Chicago, has used the skills he gained from his iSchool courses in his internships and student organizations. Following his graduation this spring, he will work as an IT rotational analyst at the Federal Home Loan Bank of Chicago.
When she isn't taking classes through the iSchool's Leep (online) program or working part time in the library at Hong Kong Academy, Lynn Lawrence-Brown is writing book reviews (including this review of a book by renowned children's poet Janet Wong) and blogging for We Need Diverse Books. Last month she completed a discussion guide for an upcoming middle-grade novel, The Not-So-Uniform Life of Holly-Mei by Christina Matula. Lawrence-Brown, a Taiwanese American who grew up in Maine but now lives in Hong Kong, wants to continue "doing work that helps promote diverse books and writers of color and help put diverse books in the hands of readers of all ages."
In the spring, MS/LIS student and school librarian licensure program graduate assistant G Trupp will graduate from the school librarian licensure program, having received their master's, an Illinois Professional Teaching License, and in-depth experience working among other library information specialists. Trupp enrolled in the iSchool with a focus on public libraries and archives but, after working at a school library as a library assistant, decided to switch to the school librarian licensure program. This program gave them the skills to serve young people in library spaces and helped them prepare for a future career as a middle school librarian.
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."
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.
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.
Cassidy Russell wears many hats—theater director, improv teacher, visual artist, and MS/LIS online (Leep) student. However, she still finds time to be involved in service activities. Russell recently joined Students Advising on Graduate Education (SAGE), a student advisory board and leadership opportunity for graduate students at Illinois that fosters active engagement with Graduate College programs and initiatives.
Cayden Boyer, a senior from a small town near Peoria, Illinois, has expressed his appreciation for the BS/IS degree program by starting the Information Sciences Academic Fraternity. This new fraternity is an official student organization with a focus on helping future information professionals network and find more internship and career opportunities. Boyer's goal is to create a community of people with similar interests and advocate for their success.
Yosra Abdulwahid, a junior from Oak Forest, Illinois, is sharing her enthusiasm for her School through her service as an iSchool ambassador. She has had the opportunity to present to high school students about the BS in information sciences, participate in a student course showcase event, and attend the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference.
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.
This summer, BS/IS student Christopher Dowd had the opportunity to put what he learned in his iSchool classes into action as a data and analytics intern at Discover. He found out about the company's summer undergraduate internship program when Discover Campus Recruiting contacted him through Handshake.
MT Campbell recently earned her Project Management Professional (PMP) certification from the Project Management Institute. This certification required 35 hours of professional training, an application process, and passing a test. She looks forward to implementing what she learned "to provide first-rate support to research faculty in managing their grant projects."
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.
When she is not working as a library assistant at Clive (IA) Public Library or taking care of her large family (four boys!), Megan Okesson is pursuing her MS/LIS degree through the iSchool's Leep (online) program. After graduation, she would like to work as a public or academic librarian but would also be thrilled to receive a job offer from the Library of Congress.