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SIS Gary Purcell Award Recipient Sarah Gonzalez

Sarah Gonzalez photoSarah Gonzalez said it was a surreal feeling when she was announced as the recipient of the 2020 SIS Gary Purcell Award, which honors a student for overall excellence and who shows promise as a leader in the field of information sciences.

“I feel like there are other students who have done so much and I’m fully aware of all my shortcomings, and I’m very appreciative that I got this award. I took a class and one of the professors talked about imposter syndrome and that’s something I struggle with – especially as a first-generation college student. And to win something like this is way beyond what I thought would happen,” she said.

Gonzalez said she initially came into the MSIS program with her eye on data management and visualization, with no intention of following a librarianship pathway. But after taking several classes that centered around more traditional librarianship, such as academic libraries, she’s now interested in that path. She still has a love of data and said she’d like to explore the idea of using research data management as a way to work with libraries.

“That’s been the best thing about the program- you can look at these different paths and you don’t have to stick in your lane and if you find something that’s interesting to you, you can pursue that,” she said.

Gonzalez has worked full time at the University of Tennessee while pursuing her master’s degree, and balanced school and work with family life. She completed a practicum at UT’s Hodges Library, and was president of the student chapter of ASIS&T.