In 2022, two School of Information Sciences alumni took part in the LEADING Fellowship Program through Drexel University’s Metadata Research Center. Justin Blair and Kay P Maye were among the 26 fellows to complete a data science project under the mentorship of information science centers across the United States. Maye (’21) is currently the scholarly engagement librarian for social sciences and data at Tulane University, and Blair (’21) continues to focus on publication of his research. We caught up with both to discuss their time in the program and its impacts on … Read more “SIS Alums Justin Blair and Kay P Maye Complete LEADING Fellows Program for Data Science”
Featured alumni: Roger Justus
Current position and location: Data Services Librarian at Miami University
Location: Oxford, Ohio
In May of 2022, Roger Justus was playing the job search waiting game. He’d left behind his 25-year career in IT to find a vocation that would “feed his soul,” and friends and family had encouraged him to explore librarianship. Ultimately, he chose to return, to some extent, to his roots: His first passion and his undergraduate degree were in geography, which led him to the pathway in geographic information sciences through the MSIS program. Fortunately, the same day Roger walked across the … Read more “Alumni Highlight: MSIS Alum Roger Justus Offered Dream Job on Graduation Day”
Videogames and information sciences may not sound like a natural fit, but Hannah Gunderman (’21) has found her niche at the crossroads of the two. She came into the MSIS program with a PhD in geography and a desire to be a librarian. Before she graduated with her master’s degree, she was hired on at Carnegie Mellon University’s Library in Pittsburgh as a research data management librarian.
After some time, Gunderman realized many of the students taking the workshops she taught on research data management weren’t engaging with the material—while it highly interests her, she recognized that not everyone is … Read more “Hannah Gunderman Given 2022 SIS Innovator’s Alumni Award”
Susan Jennings (’07) didn’t start out with the dream to be a librarian, but in hindsight, she believes it was pre-ordained. After all, she and her family were voracious readers, she was a library page in junior high school, and she drove her mother to the public library every Saturday where they’d spend an hour or two picking out books. It wasn’t until she ended up working in Appalachian State University’s (ASU) library after moving back home to Boone, North Carolina, that it all coalesced.
“Eleven years later I was still there and loved libraries and loved that I was … Read more “2022 SIS Distinguished Alumni Susan Jennings”
Every day, data is gathered in 12 East Tennessee counties about one of its most vulnerable populations: people experiencing homelessness. All of this data is entered into the Homeless Management Information System, which at the Tennessee Valley Coalition for the Homeless (TVCH), is handled by MSIS alum Savanna Sims (’20).
Sims started working at TVCH as a data specialist while she was finishing up the graduate program at SIS, and she’s since moved into the role of director of data management. The database she manages, the Homeless Information Management System (HIMS), houses data about people they work with throughout … Read more “Alum Savanna Sims Manages Data at an Org to Help People Who are Experiencing Homelessness”
Eric Dawson (’13) has been in the history-filled book stacks and climate-controlled rooms of the East Tennessee History Center ever since he was a student in the MSIS program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
His experience there started in 2012 when he took on a practicum with Steve Cotham, manager at that time of the Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection, and, since 1999, official Knox County Historian. Soon after graduating with his MSIS, Dawson began an almost decade-long tenure in archival positions at the Tennessee Archive of Moving Image and Sound (TAMIS), the audio-visual department of McClung. Now, with … Read more “Alumnus Eric Dawson Steps Into Calvin M. McClung Historical Collection Manager Position”
Jill Grogg and Teddy Gray were in the same cohort and both graduated from SIS in 2001 and went their separate ways but into the same career path: academic librarianship. Several years later, their paths converged again when both departed their academic librarian positions and began working for LYRASIS. It’s a job that combines their passions for making information accessible with building up communities in information sciences organizations.
Working at a Consortium
LYRASIS is a consortium, which means it does the work for its library, museum, and archives members when it comes to negotiating licenses, getting the … Read more “Alumni Jill Grogg and Teddy Gray Talk About Working at a Consortium”
Children’s picture book author and school librarian Alice Faye Duncan (’91) looks for those moments in history that define generations yet are not often discussed—and especially aren’t stories typically told via picture book.
She was the first-ever picture book author to delve into the Memphis Sanitation Strike and the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in her book “Memphis, Martin, and the Mountaintop,” and now she’s taken on Juneteenth and the Tent City civil rights movement in Fayette County, Tennessee, in her next two books to be released in January 2022.
Becoming a Writer
As a child of two teachers, … Read more “SIS Alum, Children’s Author & School Librarian Alice Faye Duncan to Publish Two New Books”
Like any good story, Stacey Smith’s (’14) has a thread of repeated themes; throughout her adult life she would be pulled back to her hometown of Memphis and she would consistently gravitate to libraries. The satisfying ending is that she went full circle and became the director of the library at her undergraduate alma mater, LeMoyne-Owen College, in 2019.
As many information and library science professionals do, Smith fell into library work by proximity. She was getting her master’s in English from the University of Mississippi but was at Oxford while conducting thesis research (which focused on Mary Shelley … Read more “Alumna Stacey Smith on Being Library Director at LeMoyne-Owen College, Her Alma Mater”
In less than two years, recent MSIS graduate Gillian Kelly (’21) went from being unfulfilled at her job to grinning ear-to-ear whenever she talks about her new chosen profession in the field of information sciences.
“I couldn’t really imagine a world in which I would be so happy in my work life. Work was always work, and although I knew other people who found fulfillment in it, I really didn’t think that was realistic for me,” she said. “I feel so differently now and I am incredibly excited about the opportunities that have come my way as a result of … Read more “Recent Alum Gillian Kelly Talks about Her New North Carolina Biotechnology Dream Job”