Kristen McBee said that receiving the news that she is the recipient of the 2020 SIS Outstanding Service Award was humbling and unexpected.
But perhaps it shouldn’t have been – McBee has gone above and beyond in her service to the school and information sciences. Here’s a bit of what she’s accomplished during her time at SIS: she was a graduate teaching assistant for SIS Director Diane Kelly; she was on the Graduate Studies Committee as the graduate student representative for SIS; she represented SIS at TLA as an intern in 2019; she participated in as many of the faculty candidate presentations as she could and contributed her feedback; she assisted with the 2019 SIS Hooding Ceremony and with the 2020 SIS Spring Orientation; and she volunteers at the Children’s Diversity & Justice Library at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Church in Knoxville.
The latter commitment has been a true labor of love for McBee, and embodies the reasons why she switched from a systems engineer career to information sciences.
“I went into this with a social justice pull. I’d been in engineering and in a corporate environment and I was squeezing in my social justice work when I could. I thought, ‘I’m in a good position, why not make this the work that I do?’ And I think public librarianship is one of the most socially just jobs that we have out there,” she said.
McBee has discovered a passion for cataloging, which marries her penchant for organization with a desire to see systematic change, such as changing problematic subject headings. While she is currently expecting the arrival of her second child in August, McBee said she looks forward to entering the information sciences workforce in 2021 in a role where she hopes to make a lasting impact.