Graduate Ambassadors

Follow the iSchool Graduate Ambassadors on Instagram, Facebook, TwitterLinkedInReddit, Weibo, and WhatsApp (Ambassadors At iSchool).

Schedule an appointment with an MSIM ambassador or MSLIS ambassador. You can also connect with the ambassadors via email.


Palash Badjatya

Palash Badjatya, MSIM student 
I'm from Indore, India, where I pursued my bachelor’s degree in computer science. I worked as a technical lead for a couple of years before joining U of I. I chose the iSchool because of its outstanding personnel and flexibility. My inclinations lie in data, information representation, and organization. UIUC gave me many chances on both individual and career fronts: I participated in a co-op and have been working full-time as a data engineer since January '22. I also interned at ZS over the summer. The openness in letting students work with companies to gain practical knowledge is what I like the most about the curriculum. 

Neha Bhujbal

Neha Bhujbal, MSIM student 
I am from Mumbai, India. I earned my bachelor’s degree in electronics and telecommunication engineering from Mumbai University. I pursued a short stint as a business analyst at Ketto — a medical crowdfunding firm, which piqued my interest in business intelligence and analytics. I joined the iSchool because of its curriculum flexibility, perfect blend of analytics and consulting, and extensive learning opportunities at Research Park. Currently, I am working on a healthcare informatics project with a PhD student. I look forward to leveraging the power of information to create a positive social impact.

Yi Chook

Yi Chook, MSIM student 
After graduating from UIUC in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and minor in business and informatics, I worked as an account manager. My minor spurred my interested in technology and data. I want to use data to tell a story and develop strategic plans. I realized I needed a deeper analytical and technical background to implement any solutions using information drawn from data. That is why I chose this program. I can customize the curriculum to match my career interest. My hope is to have a career in business intelligence/analytics.

Margot Cuddihy

Margot Cuddihy, MSLIS student 
I completed my B.M.A. in Bassoon Performance and International Studies at the Chicago College of Performing Arts (CCPA), where I fell in love with library work. I interned as a junior fellow at the Library of Congress, where I worked to increase the discoverability of music materials created by/about blind and visually impaired musicians. I am a graduate assistant at the Music and Performing Arts Library and serve on the executive boards for the iSchool’s American Library Association and Special Libraries Association chapters. The iSchool provides its students with so many resources for success!

Shruti Deekshitula

Shruti Deekshitula, MSIM student
I've always loved telling people and businesses stories woven out of data. Having worked as a data analyst in aviation for four years, after my bachelor’s degree in computer science, I wanted to explore further in the field and hence, I joined the iSchool. I am working as a research assistant for Illinois Water Survey. The iSchool's curriculum matches to my career interest and gives me the flexibility to tailor my degree with courses of my own choosing. UIUC provides a wide range of opportunities to its students both at the personal and career front.

Anjani Shivani Dhavala

Anjani Shivani Dhavala, MSIM student
I hail from the city of Destiny in India and have graduated from GITAM University with a bachelor's degree in computer science. Post this beautiful journey, I worked as a decision scientist in Mu Sigma where I dwelled deep into data and understood the magic it could create. I chose U of I for its intense yet flexible curriculum that would let me explore into my fields of interest like product management, consulting and business intelligence. I am currently working as a course assistant for iMBA 547 and can only say that U of I is filled with opportunities and is the best place to be at!

Angela Finochio

Angela Finochio, MSLIS student 
Reading, teaching, and art are my passions. It was my daughter’s birth, and our time spent learning and creating, that inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming a children’s librarian. I completed my undergraduate degree in footwear and accessories design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where I currently work as a classroom assistant. My family and I live on Long Island. We frequent the beach and spend lots of time outdoors. I hope to share my experience and encourage all to realize that, with the right mindset and support, it is possible to achieve your goals.

Sarah Rebecca Velazquez Gaglio

Sarah Rebecca Gaglio, MSLIS student
Originally from Brooklyn, New York, I moved to Chicago eight years ago for graduate school. I have a bachelor’s in religion, a graduate degree in women’s studies and gender studies, and worked for six years in nonprofit fundraising and volunteer coordination. Having worked in libraries previously, I decided to pursue an MSLIS to make my way back into research libraries. I am one of the CARLI Building Diversity graduate assistants, working in libraries at the University of Illinois Chicago and Loyola University Chicago. Outside of school, I spend my time watching movies, taking long strolls in cemeteries, and playing table-top RPGs. 

Jenni Diaz Garcia

Jenni Diaz Garcia, MSLIS student
I chose to study here because of the program offers the freedom to explore my library interests while working with top faculty. I currently work in the Teaching, Learning, and Academic support unit of the Main Library where I help undergraduates improve their research strategies. I also help manage social media sites that bring students closer to the libraries around campus. I hope to use the skills I gain at UIUC to work at a public library outreach program for first-generation students. I studied English and Spanish at Carleton College, and am a native Spanish speaker.

Manasi Joshi

Manasi Joshi, MSIM student
I spent four years as a data analyst with Accenture after graduating from Pune University with a bachelor's in information technology. I pursued a master's program to continue exploring the always-changing field of data. I chose the iSchool for its comprehensive curriculum and the opportunities for personal and career growth. With the technical skills I've acquired from the courses and the advisors' ongoing support and feedback, I secured an internship with Lumen. I previously worked as a research assistant with the Information Quality Lab and am now a data analyst at UI – Deloitte Foundation Center.

Gaurav Kalwani, MSIM student 
As an international student from Indore, India, I grew up in a generation that has seen multiple technological advancements. Hence, I was bitten by the technology bug early on. This paved my path to join iSchool to learn about the working and implementation of applications such as data analytics, information system design, and methodologies driving the informational insights leading business operations. The flexible coursework allows me to study and implement my learning at the same time. Currently, I work as an intern at AGCO in Research Park, as well as a lab assistant and proctor at CBTF Labs in Grainger College of Engineering.

Chia-Yi Lee

Chia-Yi (Joy) Lee, MSIM student 
I am a second-year graduate student from Taiwan. Prior studying at U of I, I work as an engineer for two years that gave me opportunities to explore my interest in data and analytics for better decision-making. Therefore, I joined the iSchool for a variety of courses that match my interests and can sharpen my skills. I really enjoy the time here and want to seize every opportunity I can. My interest is inclined toward cloud computing, data analytics, and consulting.

Jun Liu

Jun Liu, MSIM student
I am from Wuhan, China. I worked as an IT consultant in an artificial intelligence company for one year. I love science fiction and aerial photography, so I am interested in cutting-edge applications such as augmented reality, blockchain, and Web3. The MSIM program has a comprehensive curriculum and flexible structure, equipping students with the tools for exploring the next generation of technologies. I'm happy that my interests fit with what I'm learning, and I hope to share my experience with you.

Ketan Mahajan

Ketan Mahajan, MSIM student
My journey to the iSchool began when I started coding in my junior year as an aeronautical engineering major. My love for coding and technology eventually led me toward software engineering, data science, and machine learning. This program has efficiently familiarized me with the technical aspect while also letting me explore new topics where I might generate interests. My interests lie in solving problems with data using various techniques like machine learning and analytics. I currently work at ROKWIRE as a technical writer where I am exposed to open-source community.

Wardah Mohammed

Wardah Mohammed, MSLIS student
I earned my bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago. I studied bioethics and healthcare ethics, particularly in reproductive care, and coursework studying the modern revolutionary tradition and critical philosophy of race. I work with The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence as their policy intern and have earned a domestic violence certification. The iSchool offers many courses, specifically interesting to me are archival preservation and data analytics and management. I hope to grow as a learner, and be of service in providing communities access to information and cultivating spaces for others with others.

Uyen Nguyen

Uyen Nguyen, MSLIS student 
I am an international student from Vietnam. However, I finished my undergrad in Baltimore, where I majored in French transnational studies, international relations, and visual material culture. I’m interested in making information and knowledge more accessible and equitable, and how the library can be an agent for social justice. The iSchool provides bountiful academic and professional opportunities, with great resources and staff. Currently, I am also a GA in the Teaching, Learning, and Academic Support Unit for the Main Library where we collaborate with our wonderful librarians to support student success.

Kalyn Nowlan

Kalyn Nowlan, MSLIS student
I was born in Champaign-Urbana and earned my BA in English from UIUC in 2021. After spending so much time in our tremendous campus libraries, however, I slowly realized that I was interested in science librarianship. This fall I began my MSLIS, working as a graduate assistant in the Funk ACES library. There, I assist students, collaborate with other GAs, develop online materials and serve as exhibits coordinator. I couldn’t be happier as an iSchool student! Outside of the library, I am a coffee snob and a travel fanatic who loves to play board games with friends, spend time outdoors and binge historical documentaries.  

Precious Olalere

Precious Olalere, MSLIS student
I am an on-campus student from Nigeria. My undergraduate degree was in library and information science at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria, West Africa. I chose the iSchool because of the level of customization and flexibility for configuring your pathway. One key factor that influenced my choice of this field is my ardent love for helping people and connecting people to the information they are looking for. When I am not taking classes, you will find me balancing my graduate assistantship at the Scholarly Commons and my graduate position at the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center at the Funk Library.  

Spring Olivares

Spring Olivares, MSLIS student
I am from Baltimore, Maryland, and I am a graduate assistant with the iSchool Help Desk. Before coming to Champaign, I was working on my undergraduate degree in English from Florida Gulf Coast University. I chose UIUC for the flexible coursework and access to resources in the archive concentration. I’ve always had a deep love for literature and libraries, so I wanted to combine these interests into a career. I collect antiques, write, craft, and play video games. I am excited to delve into the library field and discover what makes them integral parts of society as well as vital to human connection. 

Ritesh Rajput

Ritesh Rajput, MSIM student
I am from Mumbai, India. I earned my bachelor's degree from Mumbai University. Before joining the U of I, I worked as a data analyst for two and half years where I realized my growing interest in the field of data analytics. The art of converting numbers to narratives has always appealed to me. I chose the iSchool at Illinois because of its flexible course curriculum, strong faculty profile, and the opportunities offered by the Research Park. Currently I’m working as course assistant at Gies College of Business. My interest lie in data science and analytics, machine learning and business intelligence. 

Rachel Riffe

Rachel Riffe, MSLIS student  
I am passionate about streamlining information access for STEM professionals and improving patient understanding on findind quality medical resources. I currently hold dual graduate appointments with Funk ACES Library and the Agricultural Communications Documentation Center. I had a summer internship with Forge Biologics, a gene therapy CDMO and research lab. I participated in a range of self-guided projects that included plain-language web resource development, leading a lecture on open access databases, and developing data models. MSLIS students can go in so many amazing directions, and the iSchool's curriculum provides an excellent foundation for your career!

Cassidy Russell

Cassidy Russell, MSLIS student
I am in my second semester in the iSchool LEEP program. I’ve moved around a lot, but currently live in Chicago where I work as a theater director, improv teacher, actor, and visual artist. I have a BFA in printmaking from the University of Notre Dame and an MFA in printmaking from Savannah College of Art and Design. I decided to pursue an MSLIS degree at the iSchool because of interests in storytelling and the stories we choose to tell, in creating artistic spaces where people feel comfortable being vulnerable, in information equity, and in literacy and language preservation. 

Aradhya Seth

Aradhya Seth, MSIM student
I am from Bhopal, India. I earned my bachelor's degree in information technology from Rajiv Gandhi Technical University. During an internship with an e-commerce firm in Croatia, I discovered my interest in the data analytics field. To get more expertise, I decided to join iSchool as it offered an excellent blend of knowledge management and data analysis whilst also providing an amazing opportunity to choose the subjects of my interest with a flexible curriculum. I am excited to engage in conversations about emerging topics in the field of data science.  

Saud Shaikh

Saud Shaikh, MSIM student
I am from Mumbai, India. It’s been wonderful here with many interesting courses, fun solo and group activities, representing the IM program both as a representative and an iSchool ambassador, networking at career fairs, and last but not least – cooking and hosting events! Currently, I am working as an advanced analytics intern at AGCO, here at Research Park. My experience with AGCO has required me to exercise my skills in Python, Tableau, AWS Services, and project management! Moving forward, I aim to build on the experience I have gained at the iSchool combined with AGCO and shape my learning.

Tejas Tumakuru

Tejas Tumakuru, MSIM student
I am from Bangalore, India. I earned my bachelor of engineering in mechanical engineering from B.M.S College of Engineering. Before joining the U of I, I worked as a software engineer for two years. This experience led to my interest in data science. I chose the iSchool because of the data science and analytics pathway, exceptional faculty, and the Research Park that opens many doors for students. My interest is inclined towards deep learning and natural language processing.

Kirti Tyagi

Kirti Tyagi, MSIM student
I fell in love with data when I started working as a data analyst in the e-commerce domain. I wanted to explore the different methodologies and tools that exist so I could become a top-notch data professional. My career interests and iSchool curriculum were a perfect match. Post-graduation I am looking to be a person who will be able to discover insights, find meaningful patterns, locate opportunities for improvement, and eradicate waste in business processes.

Gabriela Vieira da Cunha Prates

Gabriela Vieira da Cunha Prates, MSLIS student
I am an on-campus LIS student from Brazil. I attended undergrad at UDESC and graduated in 2018 with a degree in Library Science with a certificate in Information Management. I currently hold an assistantship with the iSchool Help Desk. In my free time, I enjoy reading historical fiction, watching an endless list of TV shows, and being with my family (even if only through technology). After graduation, I hope to be able to start a project for building a library in an underserved community back at Florianópolis, Brazil.