iSchool Ambassadors

iSchool Ambassadors are a group of students dedicated to promoting the mission and vision of the iSchool at Illinois. These students work alongside Recruitment & Admissions and Student Affairs staff, serving as liaisons to prospective and incoming students. They also are valuable resources for sharing the iSchool experience and connecting students who have similar interests. Follow iSchool Ambassadors on Instagram.

Joshua Altshuler

Joshua Altshuler, MS/LIS student
I am a first-year student from North Barrington, Illinois. As an undergraduate at the University of Illinois, I passionately enjoyed my studies in history and Jewish studies. Following graduation, I served for two years as an Education Fellow for the Institute of Southern Jewish life based in Jackson, Mississippi. My work inspired me to search for a fulfilling graduate program connected to community support and empowering learning and literacy. At the iSchool, I work as a graduate assistant at the Center for Children's Books, assisting with research related to youth services and literature. I am always excited to engage in conversations about reference and instruction, information behavior, and the diversity and readership of comics.

Dhwani Desai

Dhwani Desai, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India. I earned my Bachelor of Engineering in information technology from Mumbai University. Before coming to the U of I , I worked as a system engineer in a software company for one year. I chose the iSchool at Illinois because of its flexible course curriculum, exceptional teaching staff for data analytics and consulting as well as employment opportunities. My interests mainly lie in business intelligence, data visualization, consulting, and data mining. 

Vedant Desai

Vedant Desai, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India. I earned my bachelor's degree in electronics engineering from Mumbai University. Prior to joining the U of I, I worked as a full stack developer for 3.5 years. After learning the nuances of software development, I wanted to venture into the data science and analytics track. I chose the U of I because of its pathway offerings and extensive optional course offerings as well as the Research Park, which provides career defining opportunities to students. Since joining the School in Spring 2021, I have been working as a GA and continue to participate in the plethora of opportunities offered by the U of I.

Sashi Donepudi

Sashi Donepudi, MS/IM student
I am from Hyderabad, India. After earning my bachelor's degree in the field of computer science engineering from GITAM University, I worked as an application developer at Accenture for 3 years. I love working with data and want to expand my expertise in the field of data analytics so decided to join iSchool at UIUC for its exceptional reputation and flexible curriculum as well as the immense internship opportunities available at the University's Research Park. There are also many reputed student organizations that help graduate students gain professional experience while still pursuing their master's. My interests lie in data analytics, business intelligence, and machine learning.

Niharika Gurjar

Niharika Gurjar, MS/IM student
I am from Pune, India. I earned my bachelor's degree in information technology from Pune University. Before joining the U of I, I worked with KPMG as a risk consultant and a cybersecurity analyst. I love playing with data and developing secured systems. I chose the iSchool because of its wide range of courses and flexible curriculum. The School offers courses that strike a perfect balance between technical and managerial subjects. I am currently working with AGCO in the Research Park as a cybersecurity analyst and see myself in the field of analytics or consulting.

Dyamond Hutton

Dyamond Hutton, MS/LIS student
I am from a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri, but currently live in Lawrence, Kansas. My bachelor's is in 20th Century U.S. history and a minor in human sexuality. I chose the iSchool because of the strength of the online program, the breadth of classes, and the reputation of the program. Around the same time that I began the Leep program, I began working for the University of Kansas in the reference department. Every day I go to work, I know I get to help someone with their research, and I love it. I am a member of the student chapter of ALA and the Kansas ALA chapter. I entered the iSchool with a focus on archives and special collections. Since then, I have focused more heavily on academic librarianship and reference work, but I hope to get a job that mixes all three of my library passions.   

Teja Inuganti

Teja Inuganti, MS/IM student
I am from Visakhapatnam, India, and earned my bachelor's degree in computer science from GITAM University. After graduation, I worked as a cybersecurity analyst for over 2 years and realized that cybersecurity and data science are rapidly emerging areas. I am focusing on applying data science to prevent, detect, and remediate expanding and evolving cybersecurity threats. I chose the IM program because we can tailor-make our degree. I am currently working on a project that predicts specific trends of the stock market prices in real time using machine learning and predictive analytics. I work as an analyst at Administrative Information Technology Services. My interests lie in machine learning, threat intelligence, malware analysis, and data governance.

Jeremy Kearse

Jeremy Kearse, MS/LIS student
I am a first-year MS/LIS student at the iSchool. I am from Atlanta, Georgia, where I earned my BS in computer science from Morehouse College. As an undergraduate student, I served as a fourth grade para-professional teacher over my last two years. At the iSchool, I am a graduate assistant serving in data management and data processing roles. After completion of the program, I plan to work in higher education as an adjunct professor while working primarily in a data management position. My interests are data management, education, and leadership. I am also a GEM Consortium Associate Fellow, which has helped fund my graduate studies.  

Aine O'Connor

Aine O'Connor, MS/LIS student
I am originally from South Bend, Indiana, but spent the last four years at Hope College, where I majored in English and history and worked as a resident assistant and in the archives. Now at the iSchool, I work as a graduate assistant in the Undergraduate Library; in that position, I get to teach undergrads about the library, meet with students to discuss their research, and work on a variety of library projects. I adore my job! When I'm not at class or working at the library, I love to spend time at UIUC’s Newman Center or try new restaurants in town. I also do a little bit of my own research, particularly relating to digital pedagogy, the role of vocation in librarianship, and the study of serendipity.

Anish Pai

Anish Pai, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India, and earned my bachelor's degree in information technology from Mumbai University. I worked as a senior analyst at Capgemini for over two years before deciding to join the iSchool to expand my professional skillset and dive deeper into the field of data science and analytics. I chose the iSchool because of its strong faculty profile, flexible course curriculum, and the opportunities offered by the Research Park. The U of I has a plethora of student organizations which means that finding organizations related to one's field of interest is not difficult. My interests lie in data science, analytics, business intelligence and consulting.

Hina Ramnani

Hina Ramnani, MS/IM student
I am from India and earned my bachelor's from Boston University, double majoring in economics and psychology. Prior to joining the MS/IM program, I worked as a performance analyst at a staffing firm in Boston. During my tenure there, I realized my growing interest in data analytics and related areas such as data visualization and human-computer interactions. I decided to pursue an MS/IM as it allows students the flexibility to explore various strata within data science and analytics, preparing them well to confidently return into the professional world with valuable skills. Since joining in Fall 2020, I have worked as a graduate assistant for CS598, and continue to delve into a wide range of opportunities available at UIUC.

Ananya Tiwari

Ananya Tiwari, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India. With a bachelor's in electronics and telecommunication, I joined the iSchool's master's in information management program in Spring 2021. There are endless opportunities at the University of Illinois that allowed me to secure a position as a consultant at Illinois business consulting working on various exciting projects. I also currently also work as a course assistant at the Geis College of Business. The exposure at this university has been immense and gives me great pleasure to a part of this esteemed institute.

Trisha Tiwari

Trisha Tiwari, MS/IM student
I am originally from Manendragarh (a small town in Chhattisgarh), India, and later moved to Bangalore for my professional education and employment.  I am currently pursuing my MS/IM and working as project manager with the Business Intelligence Group (BIG) on the Digital Marketing Campaign Automation project at the University of Illinois Research Park. Prior to this, I completed an MBA in lean operations and systems and bachelors’ degree in telecommunication engineering from India. I have three years of experience as a project manager and senior business analyst in software development, process automation, and consulting. I am passionate about continuous improvement and automation, quality control, lean best practices, UI/UX prototyping, and audit compliance in IT/software development projects.

Olivia Warren

Olivia Warren, MS/LIS student
After receiving my BA of Secondary English Education, I spent three years teaching English to middle and high school students. Currently, I am a program coordinator for the 4-H Youth Development program at the Extension office in Decatur, working with kids to help them be the best selves they can be. I chose the iSchool because of its flexibility of online classes that work with my schedule and the support I get from the faculty and staff. I began my MS/LIS journey as a LEEP student in 2019 and have aspirations of being a public librarian serving my community in the best way I can. My interests include working with youth and planning programs revolving around media literacy, STEM, and the arts in order to help them achieve their goals and express their individuality.

Anna Wiegand

Anna Wiegand, MS/LIS student
I'm in my first year at the iSchool. I grew up north of Indianapolis and received my bachelor's from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. After graduation, I interned at a refugee resettlement organization and spent two sessions as a legislative assistant for the Indiana House of Representatives. I then worked for over a year in public branch libraries in both Colorado and Florida. I also have experience working with children in school, camp, and library settings, and I hope to continue to work in public libraries and with youth after graduate school. Currently, I am the graduate assistant for the Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. 

Angie Zalatoris

Angie Zalatoris, MS/LIS student
I am a LEEP student in my first year at the iSchool. I completed my BA in urban and public affairs at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After graduation, I worked for Educational Perspectives, a nonprofit which creates education credential evaluation reports so individuals can continue their education and/or work in the United States. After a few years, I made my way over to the private sector and currently work for Alight Solutions as an analyst for an HR Service Center. My work and educational experience have taught me that I love to help people and want to build a better community. I am so excited to be able to do just that by becoming a librarian!

Emily Zerrenner

Emily Zerrenner, MS/LIS student
I am from Eau Claire, Michigan, and attended Grand Valley State University (GVSU) for my BS in writing with a minor in LGBT studies. While at GVSU, I worked as a lead writing consultant and lead user experience student assistant in the Mary Idema Pew Library. This led to my interest in academic librarianship and a passion for interacting with students and patrons, as well as studying the physical space of a library. I worked as a copywriting intern at an ad agency and as a page at my local public library in Eau Claire, which also made me interested in public librarianship. I am currently a graduate assistant in Research and Information Services.