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news & notes: may 2018

iSchool support propels Paralympian to success

Throughout her racing career, Paralympian Amanda McGrory (MS '18) has had many fans cheering her on, but she considers her fans at the iSchool to be particularly special. At Convocation, she presented the iSchool with the Order of Ikkos, a medal given to Olympic and Paralympic medalists to pass on to organizations or people who have supported them on their journey. Read more.

Roberts named 2018 Carnegie Fellow

Sarah T. Roberts (PhD '14), assistant professor of information studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, has been named a 2018 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Roberts joins thirty other Carnegie Fellows from across the nation as a recipient of what are often referred to as the "brainy awards." Roberts was selected along with the other 2018 fellows from among 270 applicants. Read more.

Student award recipients announced at Convocation

Each year, the School recognizes a group of outstanding students for their achievement in academics as well as a number of attributes that contribute to professional success. The student awards were presented at the School's Convocation ceremony on May 13. Read more.

Meet us in New Orleans for ALA

Alumni attending the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference in New Orleans are invited to visit the iSchool at booth #3630 from June 22-25. We also will be hosting an alumni reception for recent graduates (2008-2018) from 4:00-6:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, at Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House (144 Bourbon St., New Orleans). The alumni reception and ISAA annual meeting will be held from 6:00-8:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 25, at the Hilton New Orleans Riversidce (2 Poydras St., New Orleans).

Please email for more information or to request an exhibit hall pass, free of charge.

Recent graduates—Don't forget to take your Illini Outcomes survey!

The School is participating in the campus-wide Illini Success initiative to survey alumni about post-graduation career activities. If you graduated in August 2017, December 2017, or May 2018, please share your story using the Illini Outcomes Survey! You can receive your unique survey link here:

By completing the survey, you will be qualified for drawings to win a variety of prizes, including iPads and gift cards. In addition, your responses will provide critical information necessary to help us improve experiences for future students and help them with career and academic advising. We want to hear your story!

Join the Alumni Connections Facebook group

If you’re on Facebook and would like to be more involved with the iSchool, please join the iSchool Alumni Connections group. We now have more than 1,000 members! You’ll find information about your fellow alumni, discussions about professional activities, and updates (some serious, many humorous) about the School and University. It’s a great way to reconnect!

Participate in upcoming networking events in Champaign

Our Librarians & Libations networking event on May 22 was a huge hit! If you missed it, there are upcoming opportunities for you to get to know your colleagues better over appetizers (provided by the iSchool) and a cash bar. Please register to attend by using the links below.

If you have questions about these events, please feel free to contact Michele Plante, employer relations coordinator, at or Jill Gengler, director of alumni affairs, at

gifts open doors
With Illinois Campaign underway

The “With Illinois” campaign for the University was launched in October 2017 and is already making impressive headway to the campus goal of $2.25 billion. Learn more about With Illinois and the iSchool’s priorities. With Illinois, we can change the world!

student life
iSchool education lands Zhang a job with Boeing

Recent graduate Erica Zhang (MS '18) is heading to Arizona to start her new job as a junior taxonomist for Boeing. There she will work with the Information Services team to maintain metadata and controlled vocabularies to facilitate employee access to information. Read more.

Kacunguzi discusses preserving indigenous knowledge at QQML 2018

Doctoral candidate Dianah T. Kacunguzi presented her research at the 10th Quantitative and Qualitative Methods in Libraries International Conference (QQML 2018), which was held on May 22-25 in Chania, Greece. Her talk was titled, "Preservation of Endangered Indigenous Knowledge: The Role of Community Libraries in Uganda." Read more.

around the School
Summer Getaway returns this summer

Back by popular demand, Summer Getaway 2018 will be held at the iSchool from July 12-14. This year’s conference will explore collaborative partnerships, community-wide reading celebrations, literacies in the making, design thinking, digital citizenship, virtual reality, game-based learning, grant-writing, and so much more! Read more.

iSchool INDABA videos are now available

The iSchool hosted a special three-day gathering, INDABA: Conquering Racism, in April. The event included presentations, panels, and sessions on conquering racism in libraries and other professions as well as culturally responsive pedagogy—what it is, why it matters, and how to incorporate it into the classroom. Videos of the presentations are now available. Read more.

Irish receives grant for book highlighting Stephen Willats

Sharon Irish, project coordinator for the iSchool's Center for Digital Inclusion (CDI), has received a grant from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts for her upcoming book highlighting artist Stephen Willats. Read more.

Corporate Showcase engages research partners

The first iSchool Corporate Showcase took place on April 24 at the University of Illinois Research Park. The event, which included a poster session and presentations, introduced employers to the strengths and expertise of information science professionals and celebrated the iSchool’s inaugural class of MS in information management (MS/IM) students. It attracted more than one hundred participants, including corporate partners and iSchool alumni, faculty, staff, and students. Read more.

faculty news
Chu receives Beta Phi Mu Award

iSchool affiliated faculty member Clara M. Chu, Mortenson Distinguished Professor and director of the Mortenson Center for International Library Programs at the University Library, has been selected as the 2018 recipient of the American Library Association's Beta Phi Mu Award. Read more.

Cooke authors special report on fake news

In "Fake News and Alternative Facts: Information Literacy in a Post-Truth Era," a new American Library Association (ALA) Editions Special Report, Assistant Professor and MS/LIS Program Director Nicole A. Cooke argues that the current situation represents a golden opportunity for librarians to impart these important skills to patrons, regardless of their age or experience. Read more.

Wickett to join iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Karen Wickett (MS '07, PhD '12) will join the faculty in August 2018. She is currently an assistant professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. Read more.

Blake discusses biomedical informatics at Carle Cancer Center

Catherine Blake, associate professor and associate director of the iSchool's Center for Informatics Research in Science and Scholarship (CIRSS), presented at the Carle Cancer Center in Urbana on May 18. She gave the talk, "Learning Health Systems that Leverage Informatics and Communities of Practice." Read more.


Wickes speaks on Python education at PyCon 2018

Cooke gives keynote at LIS conference on tolerance

Cole honored with Avner Professorship

Downie discusses HTRC findings at Harvard Library


Visit our newsroom page to see the latest School news.

class notes
 Submit your own class note.
Jeanie Austin (PhD '17) joined the newly formed Jail & Reentry Services program with San Francisco Public Library. In this capacity, they will provide direct library services within San Francisco jails as well as link recently released patrons to library resources.
Tara (Yoder) Caldara (MS '05) joined Lake Villa District Library (IL) as head of Adult Services, bringing twenty-one years of library experience specializing in technology and developing innovative services.

Jarrett Dapier (MS '15) recently sold his first picture book, which will be published by Chronicle Books in 2020.

Jason Kuhl (MS '99) began his new role as director and CEO of Saint Charles City-County Library District (MO) in January 2018.

Will LaChance (MS '16) (and his three animal children) moved to St. Louis and accepted a position as assistant branch manager at the Cliff Cave Branch of the St. Louis County Library.

Casey (Marks-McCoy) McCoy-Simmons (MS '14) has been elected as director-at-large for the ALA Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table for 2018-2020. She currently works as the program specialist at KidsTek, a nonprofit teaching tech-literacy skills to K-12 grade students in the Denver Metro Area.

Jhani Miller (MS '15) was promoted to library and information supervisor at the Ulmer Park Library Branch of the Brooklyn Public Library (NY).


Visit our class notes page to see more.

upcoming events

MS/IM Virtual Information Session
June 5, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

MS/LIS Virtual Information Session
June 7, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Data & Drinks: Professional Networking Event
June 12, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Quality, Champaign, IL

ALA Annual Prep and Q&A Virtual Session
June 12, 6:00 p.m.

iSchool  @ ALA Annual Conference
June 21-26, New Orleans, Louisiana

iSchool Recent Alumni ALA Reception
June 23, 4:00-6:30 p.m.
Dickie Brennan's Bourbon House, New Orleans, LA

iSchool ALA Alumni Reception & ISAA Annual Meeting
June 24, 6:00-8:00 p.m.
Hilton New Orleans Riverside, New Orleans, LA

MS/IM Virtual Information Session
July 10, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

MS/LIS Virtual Information Session
July 12, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Summer Getaway 2018: Professional Development for School Librarians
July 12-14, iSchool
On campus

Librarians & Libations, the K-12 Edition: Professional Networking Event
July 13, 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Quality, Champaign IL