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news & notes: july 2020

Fifteen iSchool students named 2020-2021 ALA Spectrum Scholars

A record-breaking fifteen iSchool master’s students have been named 2020-2021 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. Read more.

Alma Mater 
iSchool to convene diversity working group

Plans are underway to convene a working group to identify and create opportunities to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the iSchool in order to foster social justice and anti-racism. Members will include faculty, staff, students, and alumni, who will explore the School’s culture, educational programs, research, and public engagement and recommend a plan of action. If you are interested in sharing ideas to support the work of this group, please contact Interim Executive Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs Linda Smith.

Charlotte Roh 
Get to know Charlotte Roh (MS ’14), scholarly communications librarian

Charlotte Roh, scholarly communications librarian at the University of San Francisco, enjoys working in a position that combines her interests in scholarly communications and social justice. Read more.

Hagar’s crisis informatics research informs COVID-19 challenges

Chris Hagar (PhD '05) first used the term "crisis informatics" in her PhD dissertation about the 2001 UK foot and mouth disease outbreak. However, there are many similar information challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic of today. Read more.

Benson and Koscielski to receive 2020 ILA awards

The 2020 Illinois Library Association (ILA) award recipients include two iSchool alumni, Sara Benson (MS '17), adjunct assistant professor at the iSchool and copyright librarian at the University Library, and Roberta Koscielski (MS '82), deputy director of the Peoria (IL) Public Library. Read more.

Alumni career fair and mentor program presentation

Join Michele Plante, assistant director of employer relations, and Jill Gengler, director of alumni affairs, on Thursday, August 6, at 7:00 p.m. CT for a discussion about plans for the 2020 iSchool Career Fair and the iSchool Professional Mentor Program. The session will be held via Zoom. Please register by noon CT on August 6. Alumni can also assist students by adding information to the iSchool Summer 2020 Resource Guide, which is designed to help students keep busy, develop skills, and find opportunities.

Mentorship opportunities

The University of Illinois Alumni Association is starting a new mentor program called IlliniLink, a campuswide system where students and alumni can contact alumni for “flash mentoring” to ask a quick question as well as broaden their professional networks. Alumni will be invited to sign up in late summer/early fall, and students will sign up mid-to-late-semester. The iSchool Professional Mentor Program will return to its three-month, three-meeting student/mentor format this fall. Please contact Michele Plante with any questions about the iSchool's program.

iSchool Alumni Recruiter Network

Help the iSchool recruit top talent by joining our new alumni recruiter network! To participate, complete a brief interest form, which will be used to pair you with a potential student. Should you be an appropriate match, the iSchool will alert you and share your email address with the interested student. We ask that you respond to any email from the potential student as soon as you are able. The time commitment should be less than an hour. If you have any questions, please email the iSchool Advancement Office

Fall recruiting opportunities for employers

Employers are invited to take advantage of these opportunities to recruit iSchool students for internships and full-time positions.

  • The School of Information Sciences Virtual Internship & Career Fair will be held on Wednesday, September 23, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT. This fair is designed for organizations seeking to recruit talent in data science and analytics, business intelligence and consulting, and UX research. Registration is currently open for recruiters. Student registration opens this fall.
  • The GLAM Virtual Fair will be held on Wednesday, October 7, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. CT. Government, Library, Archives, and Museum employers can recruit LIS students from eight of the top library programs in the U.S. during this collaborative career fair for full-time, internship, and practicum opportunities. Professional organizations are welcome to recruit at this event.
  • Custom recruiting is available at any time. We also offer virtual Information sessions, in-class guest spots, resume critiques, mock interviews, and mentoring opportunities to employers. Please contact Michele Plante to get connected.
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. You’ll find information about your fellow alumni, discussion on professional activities, and updates (some serious, many humorous) about the School and University. It’s a great way to reconnect!

Emergency fund established for students impacted by COVID-19

Show your support for iSchool students who have had their lives upended because of COVID-19. Through the iSchool Student Emergency Fund, we are committed to helping our students who are struggling with loss of employment because of the pandemic and facing tough decisions of whether to buy groceries or pay rent. In addition, we are thankful for our alumni and friends who contribute to the iSchool Annual Fund, which supports activities and programs benefiting students throughout the academic year. Learn more about the campaign and the iSchool’s priorities.

student at laptop 
iSchool participates in ALA online recruitment event

The iSchool was one of ten ALA-accredited institutions to take part in an online recruitment event held during the virtual ALA annual conference that generated over 100 attendees from across the country and abroad. During the event, iSchool’s Assistant Director for Employer Relations Michele Plante presented a session on the career outlook for the information profession. In the upcoming academic year, the School plans to continue this collaborative effort to recruit students into the information profession.

MS students, recent alum selected for LOC Junior Fellows program

Master's students Katherine Howell and Randi Proescholdt and recent graduate Patty Templeton (MS '20) are spending this summer as Library of Congress Junior Fellows. Read more.

Grace receives NASIG scholarship

Master's student Madina Grace is the recipient of a Fritz Schwartz Education Scholarship from NASIG, an independent organization working to advance and transform the management of information resources. Read more.

Internship Spotlight: Amazon

MS/IM student Adarsh Agarwal is currently interning at Amazon-Seattle as a software development engineer intern. In this role, he is working on building software as services and AWS cloud infrastructure to support those services. Read more.

Willis defends dissertation

Doctoral candidate Craig Willis successfully defended his dissertation, "Trust, But Verify: An Investigation of Methods of Verification and Dissemination of Computational Research Artifacts for Transparency and Reproducibility," on June 15. Read more.

Turner receives CARLI Scholarship

Master's student Victoria Turner has been selected to receive a scholarship from the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois (CARLI). Read more.

Barbosa and Wang receive grant to design privacy controls for ad targeting

iSchool PhD student Natã Barbosa and his advisor Associate Professor Yang Wang have received a $65,053 grant from Facebook for their project, "In-Situ Privacy Controls of Profiling and Ad-Targeting." Read more.

Internship Spotlight: Salesforce

MS/IM student Manshi Shah is interning as a technical product manager at Salesforce, where she is acquiring hands-on experience in Python and the development of machine learning algorithms. Read more.

New HRI Research Clusters include iSchool faculty

Two projects led by iSchool faculty members have been selected as Humanities Research Institute (HRI) Research Clusters for 2020-2021. Associate Professor Anita Say Chan and Assistant Professor Rachel M. Magee, with other campus researchers, were awarded a Research Cluster for their project, "Community Research Cooperative: Methodologies for Research Justice." Affiliate Professor Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe and Associate Professor Yang Wang will lead the cluster, "AI & Society." Read more.

Martaus joins the iSchool’s Research Services staff

Alaine Martaus (PhD '19) joined the iSchool on March 16 as research development coordinator. In her new role, she supports faculty during different stages of the research process, helps identify funding sources and pair researchers with specific solicitations, monitors compliance with different research protocols, and provides support to facilitate publications and publicity. Read more.

CHIME in Illinois brings together students, international health agencies

The Center for Health Informatics (CHI), under the direction of iSchool Research Scientist Ian Brooks and in collaboration with the World Health Organization/Pan-American Health Organization (WHO/PAHO), has developed the CHI Mobilizing Experts in Illinois (CHIME in Illinois) initiative to provide data science skills for timely COVID-19-related projects. Read more.

Ian Brooks 
Sanfilippo to join iSchool faculty

The iSchool is pleased to announce that Madelyn Sanfilippo will join the faculty as an assistant professor in August 2020. Her research empirically explores governance of sociotechnical systems, as well as outcomes, inequality, and consequences within these systems.  Read more.

Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub announces leadership changes

Associate Professor and MS/IM Program Director Catherine Blake is the new principal investigator for the Midwest Big Data Innovation Hub (MBDH), which is co-led by the National Center for Supercomputing Applications and the iSchool. MBDH serves a twelve-state region and is part of the National Science Foundation's regional Big Data Innovation Hubs program  Read more.

Emily Knox 
Knox elected president of Beta Phi Mu

Associate Professor and Interim Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Emily Knox has been elected president of Beta Phi Mu, the international honor society for library and information studies. Knox has served as the faculty liaison to the Alpha Chapter (Illinois) since 2014. She was elected director of the national organization in 2015 and appointed treasurer in 2018. Read more.

Pintar named University of Illinois Distinguished Teacher-Scholar

Teaching Associate Professor and Acting BS/IS Program Director Judith Pintar has been selected by the Office of the Provost and the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs as the University of Illinois Distinguished Teacher-Scholar for the 2020-2021 academic year. Read more.

Schneider awarded Linowes Fellowship

Assistant Professor Jodi Schneider has been named a 2020-2021 Linowes Fellow by the Cline Center for Advanced Social Research at the University of Illinois. The fellowship "provides exceptionally promising tenure-stream faculty with opportunities for innovation and discovery using the Cline Center's data holdings and/or analytic tools." Schneider will work on her project, "Assessing the Impact of Media Polarization on Public Health Emergencies." Read more.

Jana Diesner 
Diesner to join IAspire Leadership Academy

Associate Professor and PhD Program Director Jana Diesner has been named a fellow in the second cohort of the IAspire Leadership Academy, a leadership program aimed at helping STEM faculty from underrepresented backgrounds ascend to leadership roles at colleges and universities. Read more.


Bashir authors article on privacy protection and COVID-19

Hinchliffe receives ALISE Best Conference Paper Award

Stodden proposes guide for developing common data science approaches

Wong edits book on reference and information services


Visit our newsroom page to see the latest School news.

 Submit your own class note.

Vanna Bells (MS '10) graduated from the 2020 Carson City Chamber of Commerce Leadership Institute and celebrated her one-year anniversary as creative learning librarian at the Carson City Library.

Darnetta Bolton (MS '19), youth services reference librarian at the Orland Park (IL) Public Library, is the recipient of the Illinois Library Association's 2020 Robert P. Doyle Conference Grant for Support Staff, which is presented by the ILA Reaching Forward Forum. 

Kristyn Caragher (MS '14, CAS '16) and Teresa Moreno (MS '19) are serving on the new Building Cultural Proficiencies for Racial Equity Framework Task Force. The task force is a joint initiative of the Association of College and Research Libraries; Association of Research Libraries; American Library Association's Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services; and Public Library Association. Moreno was recently featured on the Association of College & Research Libraries website as an ACRL Member of the Week. 

Suzanna Conrad (MS '11) has been named Dean of Libraries at Towson University. She begins her position August 1.

The Rare Book School has selected Dale Correa (MS '19) to be part of an inaugural cohort of fifteen Andrew W. Mellon Fellows for Diversity, Inclusion & Cultural Heritage. Fellows will participate in a three-year program that includes an orientation, Rare Book School coursework, community symposia, and other activities relating to multicultural collections and trainings.

Darin Fox (MS '94) has been named interim dean of Oklahoma University libraries.

Nisha Mody (MS '17) has been named interim associate director of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine Pacific Southwest Region.

Jian Qin (PhD '96) has been selected as the recipient of the 2020 Frederick G. Kilgour Award for Research in Library and Information Technology, sponsored by the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) and the Library and Information Technology Association (LITA).

Margaret Thrasher (MS '64) passed away on April 29, 2020. She was the branch manager of the New Carrollton (MD) Branch Library before retiring in 2000. 

Sara Tompson (MS '87) retired at the end of January 2020. She has been keeping busy with the Special Libraries Association (she was named an SLA Fellow in 2017), chairing the Engineering Community for 2020. She is also pursuing additional aviation ratings and has a large tomato-dominated garden.

Michelle Urberg (MS '16) received an Early Career Fellowship from the Society for Scholarly Publishing in May 2020.

Kayleigh Van Poolen (CAS '18) is working with The Atlantic on The COVID Tracking Project. As a volunteer on the data entry team, she scours posts from states and territories for information for the project's website.


Visit our class notes page to see more.


Please check our events calendar in coming weeks for fall events. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events are either canceled or being held online.

Alumni Virtual Event: Alumni Career Fair and Mentor Program Presentation
August 6, 7:00-8:00 p.m.