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School of Library & Information Science to Celebrate Alumni Awards Oct. 17

Posted Oct. 3, 2011

The School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) at Kent State University announces its alumni award winners for 2011, including honors for Alumni of the Year, Friend of the Year and nine other awards based on areas of scholarship and specialization. The recipients will be recognized at a dinner program on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011, at the Kent Student Center. Details about the dinner are available at

The Alumna of the Year Award is given to a graduate who has made a significant contribution to the profession. This year's winner, Andrea Muto, M.L.S. '98, is a senior legal advisor for a USAID project in Pristina, Kosovo, where she has been working since April 2011 to develop a new master's program (LL.M.) in contracts and commercial law. She is also responsible for library materials selection and acquisition for the program, which began in fall of 2011.

Prior to Kosovo, Muto spent more than three years in Kabul, Afghanistan, working for USAID projects and the World Bank.  From 2007 to 2009, she was a senior attorney in charge of legal publishing, which involved designing and staffing a new 5,000-volume law library with the country's first Web-based catalog on Kabul University campus. She also managed 24 Afghan staff working alongside the Ministry of Justice and Supreme Court to organize, publish and distribute laws and case decisions to the judiciary and government legal professionals. As a World Bank consultant, she advised and assisted the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court and Attorney General's Office in drafting proposals to create and implement their internal training programs, as well as to establish provincial libraries.muto-web4

In addition to her M.L.S. from Kent State, Muto holds a Juris Doctorate from Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, a certificate in EU comparative law from the Institute of Comparative and International Law and a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the Ohio State University.

(Read the Kent State Magazine article about Muto.)

(Photo: Muto [center] and colleagues celebrate the opening of the law library in Afghanistan)

The 2011 SLIS Friend of the Year Award, which honors an individual who has made a significant contribution to the school, goes to Deva Walker, M.L.S. '01, of University Heights, Ohio. Walker holds a Bachelor of Science in biochemistry from Eastern Michigan University and an M.L.I.S. from Kent State University. Through the years she worked in almost every library department from children to adult, most recently as interim branch manager for Cleveland Public Library, until her retirement last year. She currently volunteers in two different school libraries and is self-employed. On behalf of SLIS, she served as president of the Alumni and Friends Council for a number of years and was instrumental in creating a minority scholarship awarded by the council to M.L.I.S. students. She has mentored many minority students and librarians to help increase diversity in the profession.

Derek C. Zoladz, M.L.I.S. '10, of Columbus, Ohio, will receive this year's August Alpers Award, given to a student who has contributed the most to the school while maintaining a good grade point average. Zoladz holds a B.A. in cultural studies from The Ohio State University. While working as a periodicals assistant at Columbus State Community College, he enrolled in graduate school to earn his M.L.I.S. and attended classes at the SLIS-Columbus location at the State Library of Ohio. He was an officer in the Columbus/Associated Library Science Students of Ohio and also served as a student lab monitor. After graduating in December 2010, Zoladz was promoted to a reference and instruction librarian at Columbus State Community College. His current projects include the creation of a series of research-related video tutorials and designing a strategy for the implementation of "Clickers" technology into face-to-face library instruction sessions.

The Beta Phi Mu Student Achievement Award is given to the student who demonstrates scholarship, leadership and service, as valued by Beta Phi Mu, the International Library and Information Studies Honor Society. Tony Nguyen, M.L.I.S. '10, of Columbus, Ohio, is this year's recipient. Nguyen received his Bachelor of Arts in Japanese in 2002 at the Ohio State University. After working as the marketing and outreach director for The Princeton Review for several years, he returned to school and completed his Bachelor of Arts in International Studies in 2009 at the Ohio State University, and his M.L.I.S. at the SLIS-Columbus location, where he served as an officer in the Columbus/Associated Library Science Students of Ohio group and was active in numerous school activities. His interest in medical librarianship, technology, outreach, and marketing led him to volunteer at the Mount Carmel Consumer Health Library after graduating, and he recently started his career as a health sciences librarian through the Mount Carmel Health System.

Elisabeth Ruiz-Flint, M.L.I.S. '10, of Solon, Ohio, is winner of the 2011 Dan Maclachlan School Library Media Award, honoring graduates who exhibit creativity, leadership and dedication to the K-12 audience. She holds a B.A. in Spanish and English, as well as a Master of Education and Spanish literature in addition to her degree in library and information science.  She currently works as a Spanish teacher at Seton Catholic School in Hudson, Ohio, where she often collaborates with her school librarian and incorporates many media literacy activities into her classroom.  She also serves as her church librarian, working toward expanding and enhancing the collection as well as publicizing its resources, and coordinates author visits for her children's school.

Winner of this year's H.F. Group Preservation Award is Emily Lockhart, M.L.I.S. '10, of Akron, Ohio. The award is given to a student who demonstrates outstanding scholarship and an interest in the area of library preservation. Lockhart has an M.A. in public history from Kent State University and a B.S. in history and English from Heidelberg University. She works as an archives associate senior at the University of Akron, processing archival collections relating to the university and the local region.  She previously worked as a processing archivist at Oberlin College and an archives assistant at Youngstown State University. She is especially interested in arrangement and description, preservation and website usability tests.

Jessica Harshbarger, M.L.I.S. '10, of Grove City, Ohio, and Kimberly Castle-Alberts, M.L.I.S. '10, of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, are this year's recipients of the Janice Smuda Children's Librarianship Award, given to students who demonstrate creativity, leadership and dedication to children's librarianship through outstanding academic achievement.

A 2000 graduate of Mary Washington College, Harshbarger attended the SLIS-Columbus location. She began her library career five years ago as a customer service specialist (circulation) at an inner-city branch of Columbus Metropolitan Library. A year later she was given the opportunity to open a Homework Help Center at a suburban branch. Upon finishing her M.L.I.S., she was promoted to a Team Leader on the Ready to Read Corps, a program that goes beyond library walls to take on the challenge of improving kindergarten readiness in at-risk communities.

Castle-Alberts holds a B.A. in theatre and business administration from Baldwin-Wallace College. Prior to pursuing the M.L.I.S., she began her career in libraries by holding makeup workshops for the Twinsburg Library Drama Club. Her first library job after graduation was at the Medina County District Library, where she began at the Adult Reference Desk. She gradually transitioned to working with teens and started a drama club of her own. She is currently the children's librarian for the main branch of the Stark County District Library and writes book reviews for School Library Journal.

The student who maintains an excellent academic record and demonstrates potential for future scholarly research and publication receives the Jesse H. Shera Memorial Alumni Award. This year's recipient is Elizabeth Kuilman, M.L.I.S. '10, of North Olmsted, Ohio. She holds a B.A. in English and writing from Nazareth College of Rochester and currently works at Westlake Porter Public Library.

Jacquelyn McCloud,M.L.I.S. '10, of Kent, Ohio, and Darlene Kerr, M.L.I.S. '10, of Columbus, are recipients of this year's Rose L. Vormelker Alumni Award, given to students who rank high academically and show the most promise for special library work.

McCloud holds a B.A. in paralegal studies from Kent State University and a J.D. from the University of Akron School of Law. After practicing as an attorney, she returned to graduate school to pursue an M.L.I.S. at Kent State University and worked as a graduate assistant for University Libraries. She began her career after graduation as a digital content services/reference librarian at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, where she focused on developing the Legal Landmarks in Cleveland History Collection. Recently, McCloud joined the library staff at The University of Iowa Law Library as the electronic services librarian. She is responsible for the Computer Services Department, the acquisition of electronic resources and the law library's website.

Prior to pursuing her M.L.IS. at the SLIS-Columbus location, Kerr served as vice president for public policy at the National Consumer League, the oldest national consumer organization, in Washington, D.C. While a student she volunteered at the Ohio Historical Society Library and Archives and as a researcher at WOSU Broadcast Media.She is currently manager of Library and Information Services at Edison Welding Institute, which provides applied research, manufacturing support, and strategic services to nearly 2,800 member companies in the aerospace, automotive, defense, energy and chemical, government, heavy manufacturing, and electronics industries.

Kent State's School of Library and Information Science offers the only Master of Library and Information Science degree program in Ohio that is accredited by the American Library Association, and one of the nation's few master's degrees in Information Architecture and Knowledge Management (IAKM). The school is recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nation's top 20 graduate schools, and its youth librarianship program is ranked 13th. It is one of the largest library schools in the country, with nearly 700 students enrolled.