Marianne Martens, PhD – Faculty Spotlight

Please tell us a little bit about your current research interests and projects.

As always, I have a few projects in-progress: a grant-funded project with Dr. Campana at Maple Heights Public Library, and a collaborative USAID Grant with American University Nigeria, Columbia University, and Kent State colleagues. I also have a forthcoming book with Cambridge University Press called The Forever Fandom of Harry Potter: Balancing Fan Agency and Corporate Control. The Harry Potter franchise lends itself exceptionally well to fan-based activities, from fan fiction, to festivals, to charitable works, and many who started as childhood fans continue into adulthood. J.K. Rowling (and related corporate entities) have not always been supportive of fan activities, but arguably, fans’ ongoing activity is closely tied to the series’ success. I believe that it is mutually beneficial for corporations and fans to figure out how to work together.

Do you have any advice for students?

 Here are ten tips for students:

  1. Join a professional organization. Take advantage of student rates.
  2. Volunteer to serve on a committee—any committee—within this organization. Your openness will increase your chances of getting picked. Committee work enables you to build your professional network while gaining a broad overview of the field—and make lifelong friends. And you might just get a job out of it—I met former ALSC President and Kent State Professor Emerita Dr. Carolyn Brodie through ALSC committee work, which helped bring me to Kent State.
  3. Attend and present at conferences. Local, regional, and state conferences are great places to start, and are more affordable.
  4. Seek funding and volunteer opportunities.
  5. Partner with colleagues (there is a reason I assign group projects!) to present, or to organize a panel or workshop.
  6. Publish articles in professional publications – that will get your name out there. Co-authoring is a great idea, too.
  7. Post on social media, but spread positivity. Offer solutions to problems when you have them.
  8. Say yes to opportunities.
  9. Do your very best to keep your promises.
  10. Don’t give up.

Rebecca Meehan, PhD – Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Meehan has served as a full-time faculty member in the MS Health Informatics program since 2012.

Tell us a little about your background

I spent many years in the healthcare field conducting research, writing grants to the National Institute of Health, consulting, and working in software development testing. Throughout my work I always had an interest in technology and user research. One particular research project involved evaluating motion sensors in nursing homes and assisted living communities, to promote independence and protect privacy. The emphasis on user research and usability testing was fascinating to me, and led to a career change when I worked as a user researcher for a global enterprise software company.  I wanted to tie together my experience in software with my background in medical sociology and gerontology. After conversations with colleagues, I saw that there was a job opening at Kent State in Health Informatics, so I leapt at the chance to apply! I was thrilled to get the opportunity to teach and do research in the area of user experience, health information and aging.  

What are your research interests?

My current work is sociotechnical in nature and centers on long-term care facilities and how staff members (nurses, doctors and administrators) use electronic health records (EHR) and manage health information exchange.  I also work with Health Level Seven (HL-7) to research usability standards for all EHRs and how improving usability can minimize errors and help to reduce or eliminate unintentional consequences of patient harm. All of this is grounded in information science:  being able to identify, access, report, interpret and utilize health information for the right patient, in the right place, at the right time.  

What is your advice to students?

Lean in! We have so many amazing courses and opportunities to learn more, to be involved and to learn differently. Take the extra half-hour and look into the other projects and electives that Kent State affords. As information professionals, our job is to make sense of data, analyze data and report it. These are the threads that tie the iSchool together. Realize you are part of a wide rich community, and embrace it!