The 2018 IRDL Scholars

Smita AvasthiSmita Avasthi is a Reference & Instruction Librarian at Santa Rosa Junior College, a position she has held for 6 years. Previously, she worked at Southwestern Oregon Community College, Seattle Public Library, and the University of Washington Libraries. Before becoming a librarian, she taught English at Portland Community College, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon. She has a particular interest in integrating information literacy instruction in acceleration programs.

Megan BellMegan Bell serves as Reference Librarian, Instructor and School of Health Professions’ Liaison at University of Alabama at Birmingham. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Biology from Xavier University of Louisiana and Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University. She enjoys hiking and photography; and, as a native of southern Louisiana, enjoys gumbo and jambalaya. Her research explores flipped classroom and active learning as tools for citation management software instruction.

Sean BucknerSean Buckner is the Digital Preservation Librarian at Texas A&M University where he administers the digital preservation program. Sean attended the Minnesota Institute for Early Career Librarians and was an ALA Emerging Leader, and his research interests focus on diversity and inclusion in libraries. Sean received his MSI from the University of Michigan in 2012 and holds an MA in Linguistics. Sean is an Afghanistan War veteran and currently serves in the Army National Guard.

Rosalind BucyRosalind Bucy is a Research and Instruction Librarian in Research Services at the University of Nevada, Reno. She is a liaison to the Departments of History, Philosophy, Gender, Race, & Identity, and English, with a special focus on Core Writing in the first year. Rosalind is especially interested in empowering students to view themselves as interlocutors in scholarly conversations. She is a past chair of the New England Chapter of ASIS&T and is the co-author of “Giving Voice to Students: A Rhetorical Analysis of the Frameworks” in Rewired: Research-Writing Partnerships within the Frameworks.

Sarah ChristensenSarah Christensen is the Visual Resources and Outreach Specialist at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests focus on the role of academic libraries in supporting the public engagement mission of land-grant universities. Sarah holds a B.A. in art history from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, an MLS from Simmons College in Boston, MA, and is currently in the graphic design program at the U of I.

Jewel DavisJewel Davis is an Education Librarian in a PreK-12 Curriculum Materials Center at Appalachian State University’s Belk Library and Information Commons. She primarily works with pre-service teachers and education faculty on teaching with diverse youth literature, incorporating STEM and emerging technologies into classroom practice, and developing practitioner-based research skills. She received an MA in teaching from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and an MLIS from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Ariel DeardorffAriel Deardorff is the Data Services Librarian at the University of California, San Francisco Library. In her role at UCSF, Ariel teaches classes and offers consultations in data visualization and data management, with a particular focus on open science tools and reproducible workflows. Her research interests include data visualization, assessment, and reproducibility in the health sciences.

Christopher DollChristopher Doll is the Assistant Director of Technical Services & Archivist at the University of Dubuque. Because his other Advanced Degree is in Korean Studies and he lived overseas for 12 years, his research interest focuses on how International students use American libraries and how American students use International materials. In his free time he enjoys racing trail ultra-marathons.

Megan Goins-DioufMegan Goins-Diouf is the Reference Archivist at Bowling Green State University’s Center for Archival Collections. At present, her research interests include manuscript and archival appraisal processes and forums; collecting and collectors; as well as object-based inquiry and special collections journalism.

Glenn KoellingGlenn Koelling is a learning services and English liaison librarian at the University of New Mexico. She holds an MA in English literature from Portland State University and an MLIS from the University of Denver. In her pre-library life, she taught English at a community college. She is interested in exploring how English studies can inform library studies and vice versa. Finally, she has a labradoodle who is a good boy.

Christopher MarcumChristopher Marcum is the Access and Outreach Services Librarian at the University of San Diego’s Copley Library. He is responsible for daily supervision and management of Access Services staff and resources, as well as Copley’s outreach efforts. He holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of Arizona. He loves librarianship, cats, and college football.

Angela RathmelAngela Rathmel is the head of the Acquisitions & Resource Sharing department at the University of Kansas (KU) Libraries. Her professional interests include organizational responses to change, particularly with respect to organizational communication, information seeking, and knowledge management. She is a regular blogger for Her research explores the reference interview, traditionally used by public services, and how it may be applied in technical services and electronic resources troubleshooting.


Eric RobinsonEric Robinson is the Campus Librarian at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in San Marcos, California. There he provides reference assistance and instruction for faculty and students in the health sciences and liaises with program departments in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy. He holds a Master of Library and Information Science degree from San Jose State University. His research interests focus on the intersection of information literacy and scholarly communication.

Sophie RondeauSophie Rondeau serves as Technical Services Librarian at Virginia Wesleyan University. In this role, she manages electronic resources, acquisitions, digital collections, digital preservation, and cataloging. Sophie also leads several library teams including Diversity, Disaster Response, and Home Page Redesign, as well as serving on the Collection Development and Social Media teams. Sophie is a member of the Faculty Standards and Welfare Commission, the President's Environmental Issues Council, and VLA's Continuing Education Committee.

Kortney RuppKortney Rupp is the Chemical Information Librarian and liaison to Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley. Through research and instruction in chemical information Kortney hopes to understand the information seeking behavior of chemists and seeks to facilitate effective data management in academic laboratories in the physical sciences. Kortney obtained an MS in analytical chemistry from Purdue University and her MLIS from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dana StattonDana Statton is a research and instruction librarian at Murray State University in Murray, Kentucky where she also serves as a liaison to the College of Business. She holds a MLIS, MA in Art History, and MFA in Studio Art from Louisiana State University and a BA in Journalism from Washington and Lee University. Her research interests include visual literacy, news literacy, and assessment.

Joanna ThielenJoanna Thielen is an Assistant Professor in the Library at Oakland University in Rochester Hills, MI. She serves as Research Data Librarian, providing consultations and training on how to effectively store, organize and preserve research data. She is also Science Librarian for Biological Sciences, Chemistry, and Physics, providing reference, instruction, scholarly communication, and collection development services. She earned her MSI in 2016 and MS in chemistry in 2014, both from the University of Michigan.

Mary WahlMary Wahl is technical services librarian at Pasadena City College where she focuses on cataloging and metadata. Her professional interests include metadata wrangling, digital preservation, media collections and personal digital archives. In her spare hours, Mary enjoys Netflix-ing and editing Wikipedia. Mary holds an MLIS from San Jose State University and a BA in Film & Television from Chapman University.

Susan WenglerSusan Wengler is an Assistant Professor at Queensborough Community College, The City University of New York. Her research focuses on information literacy instruction and community college student information-seeking behaviors. Wengler holds an M.L.I.S. from Rutgers, The State University of NJ, an M.B.A from Columbia University, and a B.A. from Wellesley College. She also moderates Books, Bytes & Beyond’s “Conversations with Authors” series, interviewing such children’s literature luminaries as Julie Andrews, Laura Bush and Kelly Clarkson.

Ning ZouNing Zou is the Learning Design and Research Librarian at Harvard Graduate School of Education. She holds an MIS and MLS from Indiana University as well as an MBA from Dominican University. She has worked in five universities, providing information services, leading first-year initiatives, and serving as Instruction Coordinator. She has also been a teaching faculty member, academic advisor, and Director of the Study Abroad Program. Her research interests include adaptive learning, instruction design, user experience and human development.

Advisory Board spotlight: Selenay Aytac

Selenay Aytac photographMy passion for learning started as a little girl, I was a frequent patron in my school library, and always had that great sensation of climbing stairs up to the knowledge center. This was one of the most beautiful school libraries in Istanbul, Turkey. Not surprisingly, I chose to be a library science major in college and pursued my dream to learn more and help others to learner more as a librarian. I worked at a variety of college libraries in Istanbul Turkey while I was pursuing my master’s degree in Business. During my studies, I have examined the total quality management principles and the use of quality standards in college libraries. I was awarded a very prestigious international IFLA/OCLC fellowship in Dublin, Ohio and started Ph.D. classes in New York. I began to focus on general research in librarianship in 2003. During my doctoral studies, practitioner research was one of my research interests. I was awarded ALISE/Bogdan Wynar research paper award for the study titled: “Recent Library Practitioner Research: A Methodological Analysis and Critique.” After completing my doctoral studies, I taught both undergraduate and graduate courses at Dowling College, Long Island University, St. John’s University, Pratt Institute, SUNY Farmingdale, and Valencia Polytechnic (Spain). Since I have received tenure at Long Island University, I have been able to allocate more time to research and scholarship particularly mentoring researchers. I also won a Fulbright senior scholar award for the year 2015. I am a professional student, and during my journey to excellence, I have taken courses both offline and online format from a variety of institutions including Harvard and Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Currently, I am enrolled in a master’s degree program in Education at Long Island University.

1) Why are you participating in the IRDL Advisory Board?

IRDL is a fantastic program with many excellent participants. It is very likely that many of them will publish in many prestigious LIS journals soon. In the end, this is one of the reasons of this program; to assist young scholar-practitioners to develop the capacity to conduct exceptional research. This is why I have participated in the IRDL Advisory Board, and hope to contribute to the advancement of practitioner research. I also hope that each one of our participants will excel and this is what we can do to assist them in this rigorous research process.

2)  What impact do you hope IRDL has on the library community?

IRDL is a one of a kind program, and I believe that this program will improve and increase practitioner research across the country. Furthermore, in today’s society, research is needed more than ever for libraries to remain relevant and sustain their reputation for knowledge discovery and innovation. I do hope that IRDL will help to close the gap between research and LIS practice.

A note of thanks

As we wind down and recover from the work of the 2017 summer workshop ( we would like to take the opportunity to thank our partners and sponsor for making IRDL what it is. The funds that the IMLS awarded us ( enabled 20 Scholars to have the workshop experience, and to have the ongoing mentoring throughout the upcoming year, at no personal cost. That’s pretty incredible, and is a unique opportunity in our profession. We recognize Loyola Marymount University, the home of IRDL, for matching those IMLS funds, to support their two librarians who are the co-directors of the program.

We are grateful to our partners, the San Jose State University School of Information ( and SCELC (, for their support.

We thank SAGE Publishing, a sponsor of IRDL now for three years. SAGE provided each of the 20 Scholars with four textbooks to use during the workshop and throughout their research careers.

In IRDL we talk a lot about the network that personally surrounds and supports us in advancing our research agendas. That network is also evident here, in the organizations supporting us to make IRDL happen. Thank you, team!

Advisory Board spotlight: Don Jason

Don Jason photographI serve as the Clinical Informationist for the University of Cincinnati Health Sciences Library. In this role I provide library resources to the UC Medical Center. I teach classes on library databases, citation management tools, and data collection software systems. I also provide research assistance to students, staff and faculty in the form of literature searches and support for systematic reviews and meta-analyses. In addition to my job duties, I am also heavily involved in UC Libraries’ diversity and inclusion initiatives. I help plan events that celebrate diversity on the UC campus and in the community. These programs encourage students to step outside of their comfort zones, challenge stereotypes, and explore other cultures.  I have presented at the UC Equity and Inclusion Conference twice and at the ARL National Diversity in Libraries Conference once.  Prior to joining the faculty at UC, I completed the National Library of Medicine’s Associate Fellowship Program. Some of my research interests include: defining core competencies for health information outreach and measuring the impact of library instruction. I earned my MLIS and MS in Health Informatics from Kent State University. I also hold a BS in Journalism from Ohio University.

1) Why are you participating in the IRDL Advisory Board?

I am participating in the IRDL Advisory Board because I believe it is important to give back to programs that have invested in me. IRDL has made a huge investment in me over the past few years. This investment started when the program selected me for the 2015 cohort. The investment has continued with opportunities to present on webinars, and present during the LMU/SCELC Research Day.  I am honored to give back in any way that I can.

I am also participating in the IRDL Advisory Board because I am an advocate for diversity and inclusion in libraries. I believe that it is crucial for both library science students of color and information professionals of color to see themselves reflected on library leadership teams and advisory boards. It is my sincere hope that my presence on the IRDL Advisory Board will empower other people to apply to IRDL. I want them to say “If he can apply to IRDL and be accepted, so can I!”  I hope that my visibility inspires a student to consider a career in libraries or affirms an entry level librarian’s decision to pursue librarianship.

2)  What impact do you hope IRDL has on the library community?

I hope that IRDL raises awareness of librarian-led research in the STEM fields. I especially hope this occurs in the medical research world. Many members of the medical community are unaware that librarians engage in research. Several clinicians have come to my office, and they are shocked to see diplomas on the wall. They are unaware that librarianship is an actual profession that requires education and specialized training. I make sure these medical professionals are aware that librarians are well versed in the scientific method and have experience with qualitative and quantitative research. I also inform these clinicians that librarians understand the importance of the Institutional Review Board (IRB). In fact, I am a librarian and I am a member of the University of Cincinnati IRB. In closing, programs such as IRDL are crucial to raising awareness of librarian-led research!

The Institutional Homes of the IRDL Scholars

With the 2017 cohort IRDL has Scholars in 33 states!

The IMLS grant that supports IRDL

If you have wondered how IRDL is made possible, it is through a federal grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The grant awarded to Loyola Marymount University for IRDL is a Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program grant. You can read about that grant program at the IMLS website, IRDL has a special page at the IMLS website, if you’d like to read a summary of the project or the grant application materials we submitted, at

The 2017 IRDL Scholars

Julie AdamoJulie Adamo is a research and instruction librarian and an instructional technologist at Mount Holyoke College where she also serves as liaison to the departments of Anthropology, Africana Studies, Gender Studies, and Religion. Previously, she was a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow. Julie holds a BA in literature from Antioch College, an MSLS from UNC-Chapel Hill, and is a current student in the Stonecoast MFA in Creative Writing program at the University of Southern Maine.

Steve AmmidownSteve Ammidown is the Manuscripts and Outreach Archivist for the Browne Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State University. When he’s not leafing through movie posters or reading classic comic books, he thinks a lot about ways to make the library’s manuscript finding aids work better for its diverse audience of researchers. In his spare hours, Steve enjoys reading romance novels and spending time with his family.

Catherine BairdCatherine Baird is the Online and Outreach Services Librarian at Montclair State University, New Jersey, where she is also serves as the liaison librarian to education, counseling and modern languages. She holds an MLIS from the University of Western Ontario and an MA from the University of British Columbia. Catherine’s research interests include information literacy, information behavior, and online teaching and learning.

Jill Barr-WalkerJill Barr-Walker is the Clinical Librarian at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, part of the University of California, San Francisco. Her research interests focus on the intersections of LIS and reproductive health, including health literacy among underserved populations and information-seeking behavior around abortion. Jill holds an MS(LIS) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and an MPH from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Jeannette Bruno is an Instructor Librarian and Library Department Chairperson at Wilbur Wright College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. While completing her MLIS at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign she served as a Mix IT Up! Fellow working with youth at the Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos High School in Chicago. Her research interests include information literacy for community college students, information seeking as social justice, and empowering underrepresented students.

Tina ChanTina Chan is the Reference Services Program Manager & Social Sciences Librarian at MIT Libraries, where she coordinates reference services in four library locations. She also provides reference, instruction, outreach, and collection services, and she collaborates with colleagues in the interdisciplinary areas of energy and the environment. She is active with the Asian Pacific American Librarians Association and the American Library Association as a councilor-at-large.

Merete ChristiansonMerete Christianson is the Health Sciences Librarian at North Dakota State University in Fargo, North Dakota, where she provides liaison services and information literacy instruction to students and faculty in the College of Health Professions and the Health, Nutrition and Exercise Science department. She earned her MLIS from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2013. Her research interests include ethics and collection development.

Kristen CooperKristen Cooper is the Plant Sciences Librarian at the University of Minnesota, and is the liaison for the departments of Plant Pathology, Agronomy & Plant Genetics, and Plant & Microbial Biology.  She earned her BS in Marine Biology from Texas A&M University at Galveston in 2006 and her MLIS from St. Catherine University in 2015.

Carla-Mae Crookendale Carla-Mae Crookendale is the Visual Arts Research Librarian at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA. She holds an MLIS from Valdosta State University, and a BFA in Metals & Jewelry and MFA in Fashion from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Gabrielle M. Dudley Gabrielle M. Dudley is Instruction Archivist and QEP Librarian at the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. She earned her M.A. in Public History and MLIS with a concentration in Archival Studies and Preservation Management from the University of South Carolina. She also holds a B.A. in History from the University of Montevallo. Dudley has co-authored two articles on instruction and was the co-organizer of the "Teaching with Primary Sources" pre-conference workshop at the 2016 Society of American Archivists Annual Meeting.

Michael FlierlMichael Flierl is an Assistant Professor of Library Science and Learning Design Specialist at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN. In this position he aims to empower Purdue students in transition (e.g. first-year, international, transfer experience, etc.) to use information intentionally, critically, and creatively to learn. His research interests include informed learning, self-determination theory, and active learning.

Andrea HebertAndrea Hebert is the Human Sciences, Education, and Distance Learning Librarian at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge.  Andrea received her MLIS from Louisiana State University in 2009. Her research interests include the information literacy skills of library science graduate students, library services to distance learners, and leveraging social capital to further library liaison outreach. She has also worked as a school librarian, copyeditor, and Latin teacher.


Taryn MarksTaryn Marks serves as the Faculty Services Librarian at the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law’s Legal Information Center, where she teaches legal research and focuses on international and business law. Prior to joining UF in 2014, Taryn was the inaugural Judith M. Wright fellow at the University of Chicago. She earned her M.L.I.S. at the University of Washington, and both her J.D. and LL.M. in International Law from Duke University School of Law.


Camille Mathieu Camille Mathieu is an Information Science Specialist with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory's technical library section. Her work primarily focuses on metadata development and standardization, intranet search improvement, and internal information organization. Camille holds a Master's degree in Library and Information Science from UCLA's Department of Information Studies, and her undergraduate work was in literature with an emphasis on Romanticism.

Michael RodriguezMichael Rodriguez is Licensing & Acquisitions Librarian at the University of Connecticut, where he spearheads contracts and procurement for UConn Library collections, manages system migrations, and optimizes workflows to reflect Henry David Thoreau’s aphorism: “Simplify, simplify.” Michael leverages these responsibilities to facilitate a more equitable and open scholarly communication ecosystem. He earned an MLIS from Florida State University in 2014. His research interests center on copyright and licensing, open access, and electronic resource management.

Kai Alexis SmithKai Alexis Smith is the Subject Librarian at Cal Poly Pomona and liaises to the College of Environmental Design, Ethnic and Women’s Studies and Foreign Languages. She was a 2014 ALA Emerging Leader and a 2013 Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Career Enhancement Program Fellow at the University of Michigan. In 2013, Kai was the Art Library Association of North America (ARLIS/NA) Wolfgang Freitag Internship Award winner, which she completed at the National Gallery of Art. Kai received her BFA in Writing for Publication and MSLIS in Library and Information Science from Pratt Institute.

Jenna StebbinsJenna Stebbins has been a Reference & Instruction Librarian at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury, CT since 2015. She participated in NVCC’s Assessment in Action project to study the effects of an FYE-Library partnership on student success, and with IRDL will be researching ways that the community college library can best serve second-year students. Jenna serves as liaison librarian to Arts & Humanities and on the Honors Institute Advisory Committee at NVCC.

Yen TranNgoc-Yen "Yen" Tran is a science librarian at San Jose State University with academic liaison responsibilities for biological sciences, chemistry, physics & astronomy, geology, and meteorology. She received her MLIS from the University of Washington and her BAs in English and art history from Willamette University. Yen’s current research interest is mostly focused on how libraries can partner with other departments in order to employ high-impact educational practices to promote student learning and success.

Rob WalshRob Walsh never thought he’d grow up to be a librarian – but, he’s glad he did. After finishing his MA in African American Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and not wanting to be a hapless PhD candidate, he moved back East and eventually pursued his MLS at Southern Connecticut State University. For the past seven years, Rob has served as the Social Sciences Librarian at Trinity College in Hartford, CT. When not at the library, Rob can be found reading comix, making mixtapes, or racing bicycles competitively.

Jingjing WuJingjing Wu began her path to librarianship as an assistant librarian at the Library of Chinese Academy of Sciences. She then switched her career towards technical communication. After years of experience in industry, she resumed her profession in academic libraries focusing on new technologies and data processing. Just prior to joining Texas Tech, she served as a Web Services Librarian for University of Mississippi Libraries.

Key words of the 2017 IRDL applications

One of the things we enjoy about reading all the IRDL applications is that we get to keep a finger on the pulse of the current research interests of academic librarians around the United States. When an applicant submits their proposal we ask them to list five key words or phrases that represent the topic of their proposed research. Here’s a word cloud of the key words from this year’s applications. In the image below, the larger the word, the more times the word was given as a key word in the applications.

2017 IRDL call for applications

We will be accepting applications from December 1, 2016 to January 13, 2017. Scholars accepted to the Institute will be notified in early March 2017. Application information may be found at

IRDL is changing

Are you thinking about applying for IRDL in 2017? There are a couple changes to the program you need to know about:

1. The summer workshop will now be one week long. When we think about sustainability of a model such as IRDL we realize that being away from home/work for two weeks — that was the length of time for the summer workshops in 2014-2016 — can be a hardship. In 2017-2019 we are condensing the curriculum into 7 full days. In 2017 you will arrive to LMU on Saturday, June 3, begin the workshop on Sunday, June 4, work with us through the week, finishing the program Saturday night. You will return home on Sunday, June 11 and be back to work that next day; you’ll only be away for one week. Good, right? Read on…

2. You will be paired with a formal mentor. Your peers in IRDL cohort will still be your best research supporters after leaving the summer workshop but we want to make sure you have all the help you may need to complete your research. With a mentor you can expect consistent communication from a librarian who has designed and executed their own research projects. During the academic year after your workshop experience you will be matched with a mentor to help cheer you on and give guidance as you complete your IRDL project.

We look forward to reviewing your proposals. The application center opens on December 1, 2016.