Kendra Albright, Ph.D. – Faculty Spotlight

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and areas of focus.

Professional practice: I spent 15 years in professional practice, including my own consulting business.  My first job out of my MSLS was as Business Information Center Manager for a publishing company that published Esquire magazine; followed by six years at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), heading up an in-house consulting company that provided information professionals to work on dedicated single, long-term projects for scientists and engineers.

When I started my family, I worked part-time as the Chemistry Librarian.  Having never had a chemistry class in my life, I spent time with chemists in their labs, read textbooks, and attended multiple training courses in molecular structure searching at Chemical Abstracts in Columbus.  I learned lots from the chemists who loved to share their work (and letting me participate) in their experiments!

I left ORNL to head up a multi-year, multi-million dollar contract with a private company called Information International Associates, Inc.  There we abstracted and indexed up to 32,000 scholarly articles per year to enter into the Department of Energy’s Energy Science & Technology Database.  I also worked on contracts with the U.S. intelligence community and private business. I left to pursue my PhD.

My PhD research brought together my B.S. in Human Development (i.e., developmental psychology), my MSLS, and my PhD focus of Communications/Information Sciences with a concentration in Information Economics.  I investigated the economic, social, political, and cultural impact of information and communication technologies on global development.  Since then I have focused on the ways in which information changes behavior, beginning with a multi-study over several years in Uganda, to explore how they were successful in reversing the spread of HIV through behavior change.  My doctoral student at the time, Dick Kawooya, is from Uganda, and we were able to secure funding and a research team on the ground in Uganda, to complete multiple studies, the last one working with the Uganda AIDS Commission.  Ask me about it and I’ll tell you what we learned!

I then took what we learned and with my colleague, Dr. Karen Gavigan at the University of South Carolina, worked with incarcerated young men, ages 15-17, at the South Carolina Juvenile Justice Department to write a graphic novel about AIDS prevention specifically for African-American teens in the state which has one of the fastest growing rates of HIV increase in the U.S.  The result was AIDS in the End Zone, a story of football mayhem and treachery in a South Carolina high school.  It was written up in the New York Times and interviews were picked up by the press, including USA Today on their website.  We tested the knowledge gains of teens, ages 15-19, and found that it had a statistically significant increase in knowledge over materials created for teens by the CDC.

In my academic career, I’ve had the opportunity to live and work in three countries: the U.S. (U. of Tennessee, U. of South Carolina), England (U. of Sheffield), and Georgia (former Soviet Union – the Georgia Institute of Public Affairs).  These experiences have enriched my understanding of people; our similarities and differences.  Of all my professional and academic experiences, the knowledge I’ve gained from travel is the most valuable.  I strongly encourage students to pursue study or work abroad.

Describe recent projects or research that you’ve been working on.

As the recently appointed Goodyear Endowed Professor in Knowledge Management (KM), my focus is shifting to research in this area.  Currently, I am working with a team of researchers across the world; our original focus was to investigate KM programs offered around the world.  What we found when we started is that KM is a very fluid term and hard to define and measure.  We decided to take a step back and review a large amount of KM literature and develop our own understanding of what KM is, and the criteria that exist to define and recognize it.  We built a taxonomy to represent our collective understanding, which is currently being finalized.  Our next step is to refine our original criteria for identifying programs in KM so that we can proceed to catalog those programs around the world.  There are additional offshoots to this work that are also proceeding.  This is a long-term body of research that will benefit from the efforts of many people involved in the project.

What is your favorite part of teaching?

It is very easy to say that it’s working with the students.  But in order to do that well, developing a sound and interesting course is the best place to start.  So while it may not be glamorous, building a good course with the students’ interests in mind is a very important part of teaching.  Especially in an online environment, finding ways to convey knowledge that are both helpful and interesting is certainly a challenge!

Do you have a favorite teaching moment?

I do!  It happens when a student has been struggling with a particular issue and suddenly the light bulb comes on for them and you can see or hear it in their work, in their postings, etc.  That is what makes it all worthwhile.

How have your professional experiences influenced your teaching?

The best thing about having professional experience is that it allows me to give concrete examples to illustrate points for students and makes it easier for them to understand.

What issues related to information interest you most?

The answer to this changes day to day, hour by hour.  Our field is both expanding (i.e., interdisciplinary), and fragmenting (going in many different directions), making it difficult to choose which direction to go.  I believe students have a similar experience when trying to select their courses to take each semester, which is why having an advisor is really important.  My general interest is in understanding how information is used to improve the quality of life for all people.

Are there any websites, apps, podcasts or other resources you’d recommend students explore?

This year, there is a lot of focus on the role of information and professionals in contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. See how information professionals are responding:

asis&t Annual Meeting 2020
IFLA: Libraries, Development and the United Nations 2030 Agenda
EBLIDA: SDGs and Libraries – First European Report
ALIA: Support the Sustainable Development Goals
Libraries Aotearoa: Libraries and UN 2030 Agenda SDGs
Informative Flights: SDGs in the Library
2017 Mortenson Center Associates

If you had one superpower:

Hahaha….not needing sleep!

How do you like to spend time outside of work?

During the pandemic, it’s just to get outside.  Biking, walking, hiking, tennis, anything that gets me moving is how I like to spend my time.

Do you have any advice for students?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions and speak your mind.  If you are in the MLIS profession, you are an advocate by choice.  Remember that advocating for freedom of expression and freedom of access to information are core to a democratic society and you play an important role in ensuring that freedom is preserved.

What class(es) are you teaching for Kent’s iSchool?

LIS 60030: People in the Information Ecology
KM 60304: The Information and Knowledge Economy

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Have fun while doing good work.

Mary Anne Nichols, M.L.S. – Faculty Spotlight

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and areas of focus.

When I look back, I have spent two-thirds of my life in library services! I began shelving books as a high school student. It was a great environment, so when I was in college and a paraprofessional job became available, I couldn’t resist. We had a rather spirited staff and I eventually met the man who would become my husband there. I received a fellowship to earn my MLS at Kent State so I took a year off and completed the program. I was then hired as a youth services librarian, but teens have always been my favorite age to work with. In addition to working as a librarian, I started teaching part-time for the iSchool in 1995. I took a break from library work in 2000 to focus on my family. In 2006 I was hired as a full-time faculty member for the iSchool focusing on youth services but also teaching courses in public libraries and marketing library services. 

Describe recent projects or research that you’ve been working on.

I am constantly trying to improve my courses, so that is always a focus. I am particularly interested in strengthening the teen services course and am working on some exciting opportunities that should allow me to take it to the next level. 

What is your favorite part of teaching?

Working with students who are passionate about the possibilities in the field. Every student has some sort of experience or knowledge to bring to the discussion. When I witness students learning from each other in addition to the knowledge gained from the course, it is a good thing to observe. It is also very rewarding to watch students learn new things and apply it to the current issues in the field. 

It is also fun when students complete the Engaging Teens class and then tell me how surprised they are at the richness in the quality of teen literature. They can’t wait to use it with teens in a work setting. 

Do you have a favorite teaching moment?

I have the opportunity to teach two core classes. Students usually take LIS 60040 Information Institutions and Professions early in their program and explore different types of information institutions and also think about where and how they best fit in the information environment. I also teach LIS 60280 Master’s Portfolio in LIS which is the last required course for MLIS students. It is rewarding to see students’ journeys through the program and how that journey culminates in this last class. Students are able to showcase their progress and highlight their knowledge and skills. It is very cool to see how students grow from their first core courses to their final one. 

How have your professional experiences influenced your teaching?

I remain active in professional organizations such as ALA’s Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA). I am also connected to professionals working on the front lines (and many are former students of mine). I constantly draw upon my own experiences working in libraries – even though it was a while ago and some things have changed – the core ideas are still present. The assignments in my classes are practical in nature and help to solve questions and issues that current library professionals face. 

What issues related to information interest you most?

Advocacy is a big one for me, especially for those who have little or no voice. How can we make sure that those who need access to information get what they need, and better yet, know how to interpret and use it to make decisions? We also have to learn to advocate for ourselves and the profession so that we can make an impact. 

Are there any websites, apps, podcasts or other resources you’d recommend students explore?

I had a mentor in a leadership group say something that has stuck with me…one of the first things he read every day was job ads/postings.  He was always looking for new challenges, what skills were needed/changing and how and where he could contribute his talents. He typically didn’t stay in one place for a long time but always had an impact.

To further this thinking… complete an inventory of your skills to see what you can improve upon, including soft skills. Don’t just look at traditional institutions for jobs, think about how you can apply your skills and experience across disciplines. 

I try to read widely and keep abreast of trends and think about how they can apply to my field. Find the thinkers and doers in this world and read what they have to say. 

If you had one superpower:

I would love the ability to be in two places at once! I could get so much more done and finally catch up on things!  

How do you like to spend time outside of work?

Ha – I need to be better with the concept of time outside of work.  I like to spend time with my husband and since we have been working at home together, we usually go for long walks or watch Netflix. I work out every day. My oldest son is away and my younger son is in college, but we manage to connect somehow every day. I also spend a lot of time with my family, including my siblings and nieces and nephews. We are Italian so there is always food to make and eat and loud conversation to join. I read teen literature to stay up on authors and titles – but mostly because I enjoy it, not because it is work.

Do you have any advice for students?

One of my favorites is “never show up late to a meeting with a fresh cup of coffee in hand!” (In case you haven’t figured it out… make a good impression. The fresh coffee demonstrates that it is more important to you than the job/meeting).

But to be a bit more profound…
Be inquisitive. Be informed. Be present. Be active. Find something that you are passionate about. Join professional organizations to immerse yourself in the field and network. Start with student groups, such as the iSchool’s Graduate Student Advisory Council (GSAC) to meet with other students and make a difference.  We need new leaders to energize in the field of Information Science who can problem solve, think creatively, advocate, and continuously push the envelope to try new things. Are you up to the challenge to make a difference? 

What class(es) are you teaching for Kent’s iSchool?

This academic year, I will be teaching LIS 60040 Information Institutions and Professions, LIS 60609 Marketing the Library, LIS 60626 Engaging Teens, and LIS 60280 Master’s Portfolio in LIS.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Be good to yourself. It is hard to carve out time for yourself when you are going to school and working and have other life responsibilities. Stress affects you in more ways than you know, so be careful to take an appropriate course load that you can handle. Learn to manage stress.

Be good to others….even when you don’t agree with them. 

Rebecca Meehan, Ph.D. – Faculty Spotlight

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and areas of focus.

After earning my doctorate in medical sociology and gerontology from Case Western Reserve University, I spent many years conducting applied research in hospitals and long term care facilities sponsored by grants from the National Institute of Health.  I was part of teams looking at the influence of the social and physical environment for persons with dementia, the impact of a forced disruption in a doctor-patient relationship based on insurance changes, and the user experience of staff and residents of long term care facilities who were using a new motion sensor technology to prevent falls, get help when needed and to preserve resident privacy.  Throughout my work I always had an interest in technology and what it can mean to the end user.  So, I made a change, and took a job in industry. I met great people and learned so much here!  I worked in product management, user experience and usability research for an enterprise level software company serving a global market.  My focus areas now bring together my past worlds by exploring ways to improve usability in health information technology (e.g. electronic health records, mobile health), and measuring ways in which this improves patient safety outcomes and creates less burden on clinicians.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to teach and continue my research here at Kent State in the iSchool!    

Describe recent projects or research that you’ve been working on.

I am evaluating the process of how both hospitals and electronic health record (EHR) developers work to improve the EHR, mitigating errors in order to improve patient safety outcomes.  I am also working with an interdisciplinary team here at Kent State to develop a digital language identifier, called STREAMTM (patent pending). The tool uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to listen to a speaker and determine what language is being spoken.  I am also working with the HIMSS Health App Guidelines Workgroup to improve usability of mobile health apps.   

What is your favorite part of teaching?

The students are amazing people!  Teaching also gives me an opportunity to learn more about the topic as it changes, or about new ways to look at the issues.  

Do you have a favorite teaching moment?

The “aha” moment when course material makes sense, and they get it!  I am energized by students who are curious and inspired by courses or certain course topics.  All of us get better in these moments! 

How have your professional experiences influenced your teaching?

This is a huge influence for me!  I often talk in class about how concepts in information science, health informatics and user experience design are actually used in the workplace whether it is in a hospital, home environment, or software company.  I talk about the “reality” of working in the job.  

What issues related to information interest you most?

I am most interested in using information to help people in need, to answer big questions, and to improve the quality of our lives.  I am also interested in making information more accessible, verifiable, and actionable by improving usability or the user experience.  

If you had one superpower:

Flying! 🙂

How do you like to spend time outside of work?

I love being with my family, cooking and walking in beautiful places.  

Do you have any advice for students?

Take advantage of all of the amazing courses, events and research going on in the iSchool here at Kent State!  Look at other iSchool courses you can take as an elective to try something new and allow you to learn more about other ways of managing and working with information.  

What class(es) are you teaching for Kent’s iSchool?

In Spring 2021, I am teaching UXD 60001 User Experience Design Principles and Concepts. In Fall 2021, I will be teaching HI 60414 Human Factors and Usability in Health Informatics. 

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

Please know what an amazing community of talented students, faculty and staff you have here at the iSchool!  These extraordinary people here at Kent State University continue to impress me and inspire me. 

Christine Hudak, Ph.D., RN-BC, CPHIMS, FHIMSS, FAMIA – Faculty Spotlight

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and areas of focus.

My Bachelor’s degree was in nursing. I am a Registered Nurse that has used that background to move into Health Informatics. Both my M.Ed. and Ph.D. are in Education; the first in Adult Education & Instructional Design and the Ph.D. in Educational Administration. 

In my career, I’ve been a public health nurse, a staff development instructor and manager, as well as the first health informatics specialist at MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland. Also at Metro, I managed the first implementation of a hospital information system, managed the help desk and worked in computer security. 

I didn’t come to the Academy until 1995 when I became faculty at the CWRU Nursing School. I was there for 17 years and started the Master’s program in Nursing Informatics as well as NurseWeb (a website for Nursing Informatics) and was architect of the undergraduate courses in nursing informatics. 

My foci within health informatics are: organizational culture and its impact on system implementation, interoperability of health information systems, project management, and systems analysis and design. Obviously, education is an overarching concept.

Describe recent projects or research that you’ve been working on.

Most of my recent research has focused on the way clinicians respond to electronic medical record systems. What we’ve found is that they all see the value added from the systems, but they, to a person, dislike pull down menus, alarms, having to chart while patients are with them, and non-intuitive applications. We’ve also found that they are very frustrated when systems don’t talk to each other.

As far as projects, I’m working on setting up a dual degree with Public Health, program accreditation, and building up admissions. The program also sponsors, along with the local chapter of the Health Information & Management Systems Society, a monthly webinar series.

What is your favorite part of teaching?

First, let me tell you my mantra: without any of you, the students, there would be no need for us, the faculty. I never forget that. So, obviously, watching students grow and learn is an absolute joy. I love being a person who can help lead a student to understanding without giving them the answer. When you see that understanding occur, the ah-ha moment, that’s the real joy.

Do you have a favorite teaching moment?

There are so many but here’s the funniest one. I was teaching a group of sophomore nursing students epidemiology. I was waxing rhapsodic about the first incidence of Ebola virus, about 1980 or so. I kept saying, it was in the news, you should have read about it. They all looked at me as if I had grown a second head or third arm. Finally, one of them sheepishly raised their hand and quietly said, Dr. Hudak, we weren’t even born in 1980! Huge wake up call, but tremendously funny.

How have your professional experiences influenced your teaching?

Since I didn’t come to the Academy until I’d been working for almost 25 years, my teaching is very practical. I tend to look at the real world and apply that to theories. Hence, I use a ton of examples from the real world in my teaching. It helps make what we do as informaticians in our classes make sense when students go out into practice.

What issues related to information interest you most?

Computer security for one. With the price for a purloined medical record going for over $1,000 on the dark web, it behooves hospitals to have the most robust systems they can. Unfortunately, as fast as we develop security measures, a black-hatted hacker finds a back door to steal records. Additionally, I’m interested in how hospitals respond to ransom attacks. Do you or do you not pay the ransom when your hospital’s system is shut down until you pay the ransom? Interesting conundrum. 

I’m also interested in the interoperability of different systems. If we are ever to have a truly complete health record, then every system has to be able to share information with every other system and now, they don’t. 

Women in Health IT is another issue. When I first started in IT, it was primarily men. Now, women are becoming more influential and we are no longer an oddity.

Are there any websites, apps, podcasts or other resources you’d recommend students explore?

There are so many but those with the most reliable and current information are the Health Information & Management Systems Society, the American Medical Informatics Association, and the Office of the National Coordinator of Health Informatics

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our HI Listserv. We have lots of information about HI, job opportunities, free conferences and webinars as well as student information. Anyone can join it – just email me and ask. 

I will be posting, within the next week or so, a list of free HI-related newsletters. This is the best way to keep up with what’s been happening in HI.

If you had one superpower:

I’d like to be invisible. I’d like to be able to go unnoticed into hospital board rooms and see how they make decisions about which system to buy.

How do you like to spend time outside of work?

I like to garden. I’m a certified Master Gardener through Ohio State Extension. I volunteer at the Cleveland Botanical Garden and do online diagnostics around the state.

 I also do needlework, mostly counted cross stitch and Assisi stitch.

I love music and my husband and I have subscriptions to the Cleveland Orchestra, Apollo’s Fire, and the Cleveland Chamber Music Society. Unfortunately, Covid-19 has moved most of those subscriptions online; acceptable but not the same as the live experience. I volunteer on political campaigns. And I love, love the Cleveland Browns! I also collect Teddy Bears!

Do you have any advice for students?

Never, ever, preface a question with,  “This is a dumb question”. There are no dumb questions. Seriously, if you have a question, you are asking it for a reason.

Also, don’t be afraid to explore opportunities out of your major area. Sometimes, what seems to be in the outfield, is a perfect fit. Look at me, nursing to Program Coordinator for Health Informatics. 

Learn to use social media intelligently. Utilize LinkedIn to network like crazy; read your posts on Twitter before you send them; stay safe on Facebook and Instagram.

Find a mentor and use them. I identified my mentor in graduate school and I still communicate with him. In fact, he’s writing a chapter in my book! 

What class(es) are you teaching for Kent’s iSchool?

HI 60401 Health Informatics Management 

HI 60403 Health Information Systems 

HI 60417 Public Health Informatics 

Also Individual Investigations and Culminating Experiences.

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I know this is self-serving but it makes me proud: in 2019, I was chosen as one of the Most Influential Women in Health IT by HIMSS. This year, I was named a Fellow of the American Medical Informatics Association. In 2013, I was named a Fellow of HIMSS. When you’re recognized by your peers, it’s very special. 

G. Kim Dority, M.L.I.S. – Faculty Spotlight

Tell us a little bit about your professional background and areas of focus.

Okay, I’m going to take a bit of a shortcut here and do what we tell our students never to do, i.e., self-plagiarize! But this is a good description of my background and areas of focus from my DorityAssociates.com website:

I’m an information professional whose somewhat eclectic career has included research, writing, editing, online content development, and LIS career advising, among other activities. In fact, I love what an adventure my LIS career has been! Since receiving my MLIS in the ‘80s, I’ve used my LIS skills to:

• conceptualize and create the first virtual academic library, working with a team of amazing academic librarians and LIS subject specialists

• create an information center literally “from the ground up” for a major industry association

• license and/or create the content for the first website devoted to helping people with disabilities live their fullest lives

• work with recognized thought leaders in the positive psychology field to create content for the first website devoted to mental health and well-being resources

• create and teach the first course on alternative LIS careers

I love my career today, but I can easily remember many moments when, despite my MLIS and my diverse set of skills, I was unsure of what professional path to pursue or next step to take. That’s why my most rewarding work has been the opportunities I’ve had as an LIS careers expert to help individual students, alumni, new professionals, mid-career practitioners, and others achieve their best LIS careers.

As a part of that commitment, I’ve written over 400 articles and two books on information careers, including LIS Career Sourcebook (Libraries Unlimited, 2012) and Rethinking Information Work, 2d ed. (Libraries Unlimited, 2016).

In 2016, I chaired SLA’s Students and New Professionals Advisory Council, working with graduate program student groups, their boards, and faculty advisors to help create a high-value, sustainable relationship between these passionate, hard-working volunteers and SLA. In addition, I founded and manage the LinkedIn LIS Career Options group, with over 14,000 members from 80 countries. I continue to be amazed and gratified by members’ willingness to share knowledge and insights with each other. In 2017, I was honored to receive SLA’s Rose L. Vormelker award (the Rosie) in recognition of my work “actively teaching and/or mentoring students or working professionals.”

Over the past twenty years, I’ve worked with numerous graduate programs and professional associations to help them create outstanding career content, resources, and programs tailored to the needs of their specific constituencies, whether students, alumni, and potential student recruits or existing/new/potential association members. Throughout my career, I’ve tried to live by this simple commitment:

Be kind, do awesome work, and have fun!

Describe recent projects or research that you’ve been working on.

I’m currently working on two basic research projects. 

The first is assembling a guide to what student/new professional programs, resources, and benefits LIS associations offer to students.

The second is gathering information to create an overview of all of the government job opportunities that exist for those with LIS skills, including types of agencies, level of government (e.g., state, federal, regional, etc.), job responsibilities/requirements, and job titles.

What is your favorite part of teaching?

Connecting with students and their goals and circumstances. Every student is different, and having an opportunity to get to know those differences and to be able to respond supportively (and, hopefully, knowledgeably!) to support them is simply incredibly rewarding. Plus, students are smart and know tons of stuff I don’t, so I’m always learning and laughing a lot!

Do you have a favorite teaching moment?

At the beginning of each course, students provide a brief bio or background statement about who they are. I put together a document that captures all those bios, so that when I’m reading a journal entry, discussion post, or assignment, I can put those into the context of who that person is, what they may or may not have experienced yet, what their dreams and goals and assumptions are. So my favorite teaching moment is when I can see and respond to that individual student, rather than just evaluating their work against a deliverable metric.

How have your professional experiences influenced your teaching?

When I graduated with my MLIS, I had no idea what sort of career I should pursue. I was extremely fortunate to be recommended to my first post-grad employer, an LIS publishing company (Libraries Unlimited), by my program’s administration. But I never forgot that moment of panic when I realized what I was good at – research and writing – but had no clue how to connect that to a job, let alone a career path. I learned through trial and error to build strong relationships with my colleagues, to seek out new opportunities, to be curious and, most importantly, to aim for being fearless rather than perfect. The end result has been a career that I’ve loved every day, and, I hope, one where the opportunities I’ve been given or created have had positive results for those around me. 

When possible, I try to share that same approach with my students, especially those who are perfectionists!

What issues related to information interest you most?

• How to create a true community information system, mapping out all the information resources in a given community, and then have the library be the beating heart and connecting hub of that CIS.

• How many ways LIS professionals can deploy their information skills, and how to present this information with the multitude of variables involved so students can easily visualize and understand career path relationships and interconnectedness.

• LIS career pivots – how librarians and other information professionals can create highly adaptable careers that position them to fairly easily pivot and bridge into a new information role should they want or need to do so.

Are there any websites, apps, podcasts or other resources you’d recommend students explore?

I’m a firm believer in reading outside the profession because I think it helps us have a more expansive context within which to consider LIS issues (and possible solutions). So one of the things I’ve done for years is a monthly “magazine cruise” through all of the magazines at our local independent bookstore (shout out to Tattered Cover!). 

I’ll check out the Tables of Contents for all of the magazines that are discipline-specific, such as history, art, foreign policy, science, technology, business, politics, etc. What I’m looking for is a trend, statistic, quote, idea, innovation, etc. that can be adapted to thinking about LIS work. For example, I first came across the wonderful discipline of “design thinking” in the Stanford Review, and I’ve found great ideas in Scientific American and the MIT Technology Review (keep in mind that I was a comparative literature major undergrad, so I occasionally struggle a bit here….)

In terms of e-newsletters, I cruise through things like The Aspen Institute’s Five Best Ideas of the Day, The Conversation, Futurity.org, The Scout Report, and the discussion groups for ALA, SLA, and AIIP, all of which I’m a member of. 

Currently reading Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by Epstein (Riverhead, 2019), Designing Your Life by Burnett and Evans (Knopf, 2016), and The Creative Habit (Simon & Schuster, 2006) by choreographer Twyla Tharp.

If you had one superpower:

To remember everything I’ve read! 🙂

How do you like to spend time outside of work?

Playing in Colorado, coming up with cool information projects to pursue, watching baseball (even though the Rockies are pretty awful), attending classical music concerts, practicing on my drums, and bodysurfing when I can get to California.

Do you have any advice for students?

Don’t focus on your GPA too much in grad school; instead, explore as much as you can, build as many lasting friendships and relationships as possible, and do as many informational interviews as possible while people are still willing to talk to you (i.e., while you’re a student!). 

Vet your assumptions about what certain career paths are like, and let yourself change your mind and your direction. Plus, remember that your first job is ONLY your first job, so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have it be the perfect job. It’s meant to launch your LIS career, not define it.

What class(es) are you teaching this semester for Kent’s iSchool?

60040 Information Institutions and Professions (2 sections!)

Is there anything else you’d like to share?

I’ve absolutely loved the work I’ve done with my information skills over the past 30 years, and although I’ve been laid off 3 times, I’ve always ended up being asked to take on a new project almost immediately. That’s not because I’m particularly brilliant but rather because I know that information is a strategic asset and I’ve developed the confidence to treat it as such, plus the professional relationships that continually open doors. Also, I’ve found that my LIS skills are infinitely adaptable….

So basically, I think you’re getting the coolest degree anyone can get, and if I had to make the choice between this degree and any other one, I’d choose LIS skills every time.