iSchool Announces Annual Alumni Awards
The iSchool (School of Library and Information Science) at Kent State University will honor its top alumni at its annual Celebration of Alumni and Student Success receptions in Kent and Columbus.
The events will take place on Thursday, April 20, in Columbus, at the iSchool site in the State Library of Ohio, for alumni, students and friends in southern/central Ohio, and on Tuesday, April 25, in Kent, at SLIS on the Kent Campus, for those in northern/northeast Ohio. Events in both locations start at 6 p.m. and are open to all; there is no charge to attend, but a reservation is requested.
Among the alumni to be honored are LIS Alumnus of the Year Joseph A. Salem, Jr., M.L.S. '99, Ph.D.; IAKM Alumna of the Year Hildy Pearl, M.S. '15; and Friend of the Year Carolyn (Carrie) Burrier, M.L.S. '86. See below for brief bios of all alumni award recipients.
- Get details about the 2017 Celebration of Alumni and Student Success events, including the complete list of award winners, scholarship recipients and other honorees.
- Photo above, left to right: (top row) Joseph A. Salem, Jr., Hildy Pearl, Carrie Burrier; (bottom): Julaine Clunis, Andria Morningstar-Gray, Laurie Katusin Swallen, Alexa Elgabri, Kristen Michele Zajac, Tasha Markovich
LIS Alumnus of the Year
Joseph A. Salem, Jr., M.L.S. '99, Ph.D., of Port Matilda, Pa., is currently Associate Dean of Learning, Undergraduate Services and Commonwealth Campus Libraries at Penn State University. In Fall 2016 he was named an ARL Leadership Fellow by the Association of Research Libraries, one of 28 people selected to participate in the 2016-2017 program designed to inspire and develop future leaders of ARL member institutions. Salem’s professional goals include solving problems related to unequal access to knowledge and the resources and skills to creating and managing it among students in increasingly diverse and inclusive learning environments. Read more about Joe Salem.
IAKM Alumna of the Year
Hildy Pearl, M.S. '15, of Solon, Ohio, holds an undergraduate degree in Dietetics from the University of Maryland, College Park, a Master of Science in Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University, and a Master of Science (2015) with a health informatics concentration from Kent State’s iSchool. Pearl is currently the Senior Application Analyst for the Oncology Team at University Hospitals of Cleveland. Her career goal is to make an impact on patient care through the use of health information technology. Read more about Hildy Pearl.
SLIS Friend of the Year
Carolyn (Carrie) Burrier, M.L.S. '86, of North Canton, Ohio, holds an undergraduate degree in elementary education from Hiram College and Master of Library Science (1986) from Kent State. A native of East Lyme, Conn., Burrier is currently the youth services coordinator at the Akron-Summit County Public Library, a position she has held since 1999. Burrier has served as a part-time instructor for the iSchool as president of the Alumni Council. Read more about Carrie Burrier.
August Alpers Award
Julaine Clunis, M.S. '16, M.L.I.S. '16, of Kent, Ohio, has received the August Alpers Award, given to a graduate who contributed the most to the school as a student, while maintaining a good grade point average.
Clunis holds an undergraduate degree in information science from North Caribbean University, as well as a Master of Library and Information Science and a Master of Science (with a concentration in health informatics) from Kent State’s iSchool. Originally from Jamaica, Clunis currently serves as the graduate student assistant for the Center for Scholastic Journalism in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, while pursuing her doctoral studies in knowledge management. Clunis hopes to obtain an academic tenure-track position that would allow her to conduct research in her areas of expertise and teach in a health informatics or library and information science program.
According to one faculty nomination, Clunis “completed a M.L.I.S. and M.S. in IAKM (information architecture and knowledge management), and is now pursuing her doctorate at Kent State. Her master's thesis was excellent, advancing the professional profile of SLIS in research. Julaine volunteered for academic professional organizations in the region, and served the school on faculty searches and facilitating school activities. Julaine's easy-going nature, willingness to help, inquisitive mind, professional attitude and demeanor serve to help other new KSU graduate students realize that they are in the right place to advance the science and themselves. She also represented Kent State by volunteering on her own time at the IHE/HIMSS International Connect-a-thon.”
Another faculty nomination stated, “During the year Julaine was pursuing her MLIS and MS-IAKM (health informatics) degrees, she worked as a graduate assistant and also as a research assistant. She demonstrated the ability to work effectively with great creativity and enthusiasm. Her contribution to our team's project (that uses data to research the history of innovation by the Liquid Crystal Research Institute) was tremendous, and the outcomes of her work were included in our report to the LCI's 50th Anniversary. Among her peers, she stood out by demonstrating consistent interest and knowledge of current topics in information. She completed her thesis successfully and set a good model for other students.”
Dan MacLachlan School Library Media Award
Andria Morningstar-Gray, M.L.I.S. '16, of Newton Falls, Ohio, and Laurie Katusin Swallen, M.L.I.S. '16, of Canton, Ohio, have each received the Dan MacLachlan School Library Media Award, given to iSchool graduates who have exhibited creativity, leadership and dedication to the K-12 audience.
Morningstar-Gray holds a Bachelor of Science in Education, K-12 Language Arts; a Master of Education, Gifted Intervention Specialist; and a Master of Library and Information Science, School Library Media concentration (2016), from Kent State University. A native of Southington, Ohio, she currently is the Lakeview High School 8-12 library media specialist and 8th-grade gifted English teacher. Her career goal is to empower students to learn in the way they choose and provide the tools needed to collaboratively solve problems and connect to the world in ways that make learning authentic and rich and less test-driven.
Katusin Swallen holds a master’s degree in English and Education from Kent State University, as well as a Master of Library and Information Science, School LIbrary Media concentration (2016). Currently, she is the district library media specialist at Tuslaw High School.
H.F. Group Preservation Award
Alexa Elgabri, M.L.I.S. '15, of Columbus, Ohio, has received the H.F. Group Preservation Group Award, given to an iSchool graduate who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship and an interest in the area of library preservation.
Elgabri holds an undergraduate degree in art history from The Ohio State University and a Master of Library and Information Science (2015) from Kent State’s iSchool. A native of Upper Arlington, Elgabri is currently working for the Upper Arlington Public Library, a position she has held since 2003. She hopes to find a professional position in libraries where she can utilize both her love and knowledge of art and media.
According to the faculty nomination, “During her culminating experience internship in the Rare Books Department at the State Library of Ohio, Alexa digitized and transcribed a diary/autograph book kept by a young girl from Tiffin, Ohio, during the Civil War. The results of her work -- including portions of the book -- were added to the Ohio Memory Project. Alexa also conducted genealogical research about the author, Clara Stone, and her family. She documented her research in fascinating blog posts on Ohio Memory about autograph books and Clara's family. Her work on this project made a significant contribution to the preservation of an historical artifact representing a forgotten piece of Ohio history.”
Janice Smuda Children’s Librarianship Award
Kristen Michele Zajac, M.L.I.S. '16, of Richmond Heights, Ohio, has received the Janice Smuda Children’s Librarianship Award, given to an iSchool graduate who, as a student, demonstrated creativity, leadership and dedication to children’s librarianship through outstanding academic achievement.
Zajac holds an undergraduate degree in Communications in Theater with a specialization in Youth Theater and Puppetry from Bowling Green State University and a Master of Library and Information Science (2016) from Kent State. A native of Wickliffe, Ohio, Zajac is currently the youth services librarian at Euclid Public Library. She hopes to inspire young children to pursue their curiosities and passions through the many resources that are available to them.
According to the faculty nomination, Zajac “is highly deserving of this award. As an excellent student with a 4.0 GPA, Kristin's work has been exemplary throughout the program, exhibiting both theoretical strength and great creativity. In addition, Kristin presented her work at the Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium in Summer 2016, which demonstrates maturity in her work, and future leadership in the field.”
Thomas J. Froehlich Award
Tasha Markovich, M.S. '15, of North Royalton, Ohio, has received the Thomas J. Froehlich Award, given to a graduate who demonstrates academic excellence and promise for leadership in the field of information architecture and knowledge management.
Markovich holds an undergraduate degree in computer science and engineering from the University of Toledo and an associate’s degree from Lorain County Community College, as well as a Master of Science with a concentration in user experience design (2015) from Kent State’s iSchool. A native of Elyria, Ohio, Markovich has been the User Experience Product Designer for IBM since 2016. Her career goal is to design software products people need and that are easy to interact with.
According to the faculty nomination, “Tasha has a rich and diverse background in software development and photography, and has parlayed her experience and learnings in the IAKM program into a UX position with IBM. Tasha has been a leader in the local UX community for several years as the leader for the UXAkron Meetup group. This group holds regular events, has welcomed over 200 individual guests during its existence and serves to increase the knowledge of UX in the greater Akron area. Tasha's professional accomplishments and community participation are fine examples of what IAKM graduates can achieve.”