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.

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.

Jeanni Floyd

Jeanni Floyd, MS/LIS student
I'm from New York, and I have a bachelors in history with a minor in anthropology from American University. I worked in a small public library in Missouri for five years before grad school. At the iSchool I'm a graduate assistant the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library, VP of the Queer Library Alliance, and a member of the ALA Student Chapter's Intellectual Freedom, Public Libraries, ACRL, and Youth Services committees. I've worked at the law library, volunteered at the Center for Children's Books and the Zine Library, and presented at the Masters Student Showcase. I'm a member of the Illinois Library Association. I'm interested in resource sharing, reference, and instruction. 

Rebecca Greenlee

Rebecca Greenlee, MS/LIS student
I am from Davenport, Iowa originally, but have spent the better part of the last 14 years in Champaign-Urbana. I studied Comparative Literature for my bachelor’s here at the University of Illinois. Upon graduation, I worked in the legal field for several years, clerking at various law firms and working on both civil rights and death penalty cases. Currently, I am the graduate assistant for the Office of Advancement and Alumni Affairs at the iSchool. I am the president of the Student Chapter of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) here at the iSchool. I am interested in going into law librarianship with a focus on governmental law libraries.

Sheena Hayes

Sheena Hayes, MS/LIS student
I am originally from Tempe, Arizona, but have spent the last fourteen years living in Europe, Asia, and other parts of the U.S. as a military spouse. I studied history and English at ASU and chose the iSchool because of its reputation for support, resources, and flexibility. I currently work in the enrollment office at Tacoma Community College, helping students navigate the ins and outs of requirements to successfully completing their degree. I'm also a member of the student chapter of the the American Library Association (ALA) and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). My interests lie in the historical development of library science and what we can learn from it in a modern context.

Katherine Howell

Katherine Howell, MS/LIS student

I am originally from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. For my undergraduate degree, I studied economics and classics at Davidson College. After graduation, I worked as an investment banking analyst for three years. I chose the iSchool because it offered access to incredible faculty and a wide array of assistantship opportunities. I currently work as a graduate assistant in the Grainger Engineering Library, and last summer I was a Junior Fellow at the Library of Congress. I am involved with the student chapter of ALA as the head of the ACRL Committee, and I volunteer with the Champaign Public Library. My interests include academic librarianship (especially in STEM), reference services, and scholarly communication.

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.   

Clarissa Ihssen

Clarissa Ihssen, MS/LIS student
I am Clarissa Ihssen, a second-year MS/LIS student at the iSchool. My hometown is in Northern Illinois, and my undergraduate degree is in natural resources and environmental sciences, also from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I worked in a public library while I was in high school, and I currently work as a graduate assistant at the Funk ACES Library on campus. I chose the iSchool because many of my previous coworkers went here and highly recommended it. I also knew that it was one of the best schools for youth services, which is what I initially thought I wanted to do. Now that I have been at the iSchool for a year and worked in a variety of settings, I am more open to the work environment I end up in when I graduate. 

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.  

Christiana Keinath

Christiana Keinath, MS/LIS student
I am from Charleston, South Carolina, and I studied biological sciences and psychology at the University of South Carolina. After graduation, I worked as a K-12 tutor in reading, writing, and math. The iSchool's online MS/LIS program gave me the flexibility to explore my interests and take classes from anywhere while receiving a high-quality online education. I currently work as a student assistant at an academic health sciences library. I am a member of the Medical Library Association (MLA) as well as the MLA Southern Chapter. My professional interests are health sciences and STEM academic librarianship, along with reference and instruction. I am an active member of the iSchool Stitch ‘n’ Bitch club.

Haoyong Lan

Haoyong Lan, MS/LIS student
I earned my BS in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am currently a graduate assistant at the Grainger Engineering Library Information Center. Last summer, I worked as a software engineering intern at Health Care Engineering Systems Center, where I developed a mobile Flutter application. I have also worked as a website and database developer at the Illinois Fire Service Institute Library. I chose the iSchool at Illinois because it offers a wide range of excellent courses and opportunities. I am a We CU Community Engaged Summer Scholar at the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Institute and secretary of the Association for Information Science and Technology student chapter.

Jinhal Mehta

Jinal Mehta, MS/IM student
I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. I earned my Bachelor of Engineering in electronics engineering from the University of Mumbai. Prior to coming to the U of I, I worked as a software consultant for two years. I chose the iSchool at Illinois because of its excellent reputation, ranking, world class faculty, as well as the Research Park, which holds a mammoth number of corporate opportunities for students. I completed my internship at the company Rokmetro, which created the "Safer at Illinois" app for COVID contact tracing and human exposure notification at the U of I. I have worked as a student program coordinator at the Siebel Center for Computer Science and served as a student representative for an iSchool subcommittee.

Monil Mehta

Monil Mehta, MS/IM student
Having pursued my undergrad in computer engineering from the University of Mumbai, I wanted to explore and gain deeper insights and knowledge in the field of analytics and consulting. The iSchool at Illinois provides a complete pathway for the same. Apart from the design of the curriculum, there are immense employment opportunities as well, ranging from research companies to assistantships. There are many student organizations such as BIG, which help students gain professional experience in consulting. iSchool professors and advisors have helped me to a great extent by guiding me and encouraging me with my course and career path selection.

Amy Moy

Amy Moy, MS/IM student
My first introduction to the iSchool was as an undergraduate pursuing a degree in English Literature at the University of Illinois. In conjunction with my major coursework, I was able to pick up some wonderfully interesting and practical skills with a minor in Informatics at the iSchool. I returned as an MS/IM student to continue building a strong skillset in data analytics, data visualization, market research, knowledge management, and consulting. The variety of opportunities that the School offers is innumerous. I am currently serving as a student leader representative for the iSchool Alumni Association. I have worked as a digital project manager and a web administrator for the past ten years. The MS/IM program offers great flexibility for a working professional, partnered with diverse course offerings and excellent instructors. 

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.

Rahul Ohri

Rahul Ohri, MS/IM student
I was born and raised in Mumbai, India. After earning my B.Tech in information technology from NMIMS University, Mumbai, I worked as a risk analyst at Ernst & Young for 2 years where I worked in the cybersecurity and data analytics domain. I chose the U of I because of its pathway offerings and extensive optional courses. Last summer I worked as a senior analytics intern at Discover Financial Services, and I am currently working as a Tableau developer at the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning. My interests are in data science, business intelligence, market strategy, and management consulting. I am a senior manager at the Business Intelligence Group (BIG), which is a student consulting organization at the iSchool.

Shannon O'Rourke Kasali

Shannon O'Rourke Kasali, MS/LIS student
I earned a BA in political science and international studies from Illinois Wesleyan University and an MA in international development from The George Washington University. I worked overseas for ten years in the international development and humanitarian aide sectors. I founded a nonprofit organization, Books for Congo, which helps create and support libraries in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Last year, I worked as an apprentice at The Urbana Free Library and as a graduate hourly at the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs. I am currently the iSchool Student Leadership and Engagement Graduate Assistant and serve on the Progressive Librarian's Guild and the ALA Student Chapter's International Committee.

Olivia Palid

Olivia Palid, MS/LIS student
I am a second-year on-campus student from San Diego, California. I received my BA in religious studies from the University of Chicago. I previously worked for the Law Library and the iSchool as a graduate hourly, and I currently have a position at a nonprofit. I'm interested in working in academic libraries, but I have experience in museums, archives, and public libraries as well—for example, I am a practicum student at the Champaign County Historical Archives. I chose to attend the iSchool because I was drawn to the student opportunities available and to Champaign-Urbana. 

Pruthvi Patel

Pruthvi Patel, MS/IM student
I was born and raised in Ahmedabad, India. I earned my bachelor's degree in computer engineering from L.D. College of Engineering affiliated to Gujarat Technological University. After graduation, I worked for a product-based company called PaperSave as an associate technical engineer in their professional services team for over 2 years. I chose the Information Management program because of its flexible curriculum, enabling students to choose courses from a variety of domains, along with the University's ranking and its amazing career fairs. Since Fall 2019, I've been working as a data science intern with Graybar, a Fortune 500 company, at the University's Research Park. My interests lie in data analytics, business intelligence, and machine learning.

Shazmeen Shaikh

Shazmeen Shaikh, MS/IM student
I was born in Mumbai, India, and raised in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. I completed my bachelors in electronics and telecommunication, where I was a part of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) student branch. At the U of I, I am currently working as a teaching assistant at the GIES College of Business, research assistant at the iSchool, and also as a senior consultant in the Business Intelligence Group (BIG). I chose the iSchool at Illinois because of its flexible course curriculum and excellent teaching staff for data science and consulting. The options available at the iSchool have enabled me to explore different areas of information sciences and helped me choose the best possible combination of courses for my future career.

Simone Stone

Simone Stone, MS/LIS student
I was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia. I received my bachelor's in film and media studies and geography from Dartmouth College. Additionally, I have a Master of Fine Arts in film and television producing from Chapman University. I served for two years in the AmeriCorps program, in Reno, Nevada, and Chicago, Illinois. Lastly, I worked for the Chicago Public Library as both a teen and children's library associate. Currently, I am a graduate assistant for the Undergraduate Library. I am a member of the Students of Color at the iSchool.

Akash Sukhija

Akash Sukhija, MS/IM student
I am from Pune, India. I completed my bachelor’s in electronics and telecommunications Engineering from the University of Pune. I worked with Huawei, Accenture, and Think and Learn Pvt. Ltd. for about two and a half years. I chose the iSchool at Illinois because it offered excellent courses with excellent teaching staff for consulting,  data analytics, and data science. Currently, I am working as a data science intern at the University's Office of Corporate Relations. 

Shraddha Sutar

Shraddha Sutar, MS/IM student
I am from Mumbai, India. I earned my Bachelor of Engineering in electronics and telecommunication from the University of Mumbai. Before coming to Illinois, I worked as a decision scientist at Mu Sigma for around two years. I chose to pursue my master's at the U of I due to its excellent reputation and ranking. Further, the MS/IM program offers great flexibility in choosing from a wide range of electives. Thus, allowing me to design the program in alignment with my interest in the field of data analytics.
 

Devwrat Tanwar

Devwrat Tanwar, MS/IM student
I was born in Delhi and raised in Mumbai, India. Before joining the MS/IM program at the iSchool, I completed my bachelor's in information technology from Mumbai. I chose to join this program at the highly revered University of Illinois because of the flexibility in coursework. The high number of electives have allowed me to become adept in both–data science and information consulting. Furthermore, I am diving deeper into courses like Data Mining, Applied Business Research by gaining insights from erudite faculty. Currently, I am working as a data analyst for an organization on campus. I am also working as a graduate assistant for the CS 598 course.

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.

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.