Lori Harris and Erin Foster, SILS Alumni, Selected for NLM Fellowships

June 4, 2014

Two recent University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science (SILS) graduates, Erin Foster (MSLS ’14) and Lori Harris (MSLS ’13) have been selected for the Associate Fellowship Program at the National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, MD.

The one-year training program offers fellows “an insider’s view of the world’s largest medical library” and includes a wide range of project work from data analysis to outreach via social media, to creating online tutorials and videos, to Web site enhancement, legislative tracking and more.
The program includes an optional second year to work in an academic health sciences center, hospital or other health-related organization. Along with gaining leadership skills and exposure to advancements in technologies, issues and trends and other activities that are shaping the field of information and library science, fellows receive a stipend of $52,146, funding to support health insurance, relocation support and “full support for attendance at local and national conferences.”

While a student at SILS, Harris was a recipient of the American Library Association Spectrum Scholarship 2012-2013; the Society of American Archivists’ Harold T. Pinkett Minority Student Award 2013-2014; and was awarded the SILS Diversity Advocate Certificate in December of 2013.  Most recently, she was inducted into the Beta Phi Mu International Graduate Honor Society in Library and Information Science.  She worked in the North Carolina State University’s Special Collections Research Center as both a Library Associate and Project Archivist arranging and describing large manuscript collections by examining patterns of documentation following archival principles. Harris worked as an archivist intern during a semester at the Black Women’s Health Imperative in Washington, D.C.  Lori’s current research included conducting a focus group study of African American women to analyze their information seeking behavior as it relates to social media with a primary focus on their use of Facebook to retrieve, share and utilize health care and other types of information.  In addition to her MSLS, she holds a B.A. in American Studies and two Certificates:  Archival Studies and Museum Studies from Smith College.

"Being invited to join the National Library of Medicine Associate Fellowship 2014-2015 cohort is an incredible honor and opportunity," said Harris. "I am looking forward to working with and learning from some of the top industry leaders at NLM who are on the cutting edge of public service, information technology and preparing newly graduated ILS students to develop as leading professionals in the information library science field."
Erin FosterWhile completing her MSLS, Foster worked as a research assistant at UNC at Chapel Hill's Health Sciences Library providing reference and instruction services, as well as faculty and student research support. Last summer, she completed a field experience at Duke University in Rubenstein Library's Technical Services Department. Prior to her graduate studies, she worked as a library assistant and data manager at an aerospace and defense company. Foster completed her undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz where she double majored in Literature and Feminist Studies.

"I am honored to have been selected as an associate fellow,” said Foster. “The NLM Associate Fellowship Program offers wonderful opportunities for training and development as a library science professional. In addition, as an associate fellow, I look forward to working on projects that have national impact. I am excited to start my professional career as part of an established program in such a dynamic setting."

The Fellowship program curriculum is overseen by Dr. Kathel Dunn (MSLS ‘91), program coordinator and SILS alumna. She provides mentorship and guidance to the fellows and recruits for the program. “Dr. Dunn also leads the Workforce Development efforts in Library Operations within NLM, including succession planning, leadership programs and staff development.”  She received her Ph.D. from the School of Communication, Information and Library Studies at Rutgers and her bachelor’s degree from Mary Washington University in Virginia.

Previous SILS alumni and students who have been selected for this prestigious fellowship includes Nicole Lehotsky Pettinati (MSLS ’13), Julie Adamo (MSLS ’10) and Emily Vardell (current doctoral student).