The UNC School of Information and Library Science celebrated its 2020 and 2021 graduates, as well as graduates from the Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP), at its first ever virtual commencement on May 13, 2021. Watch the full ceremony on YouTube or below.

The event included a welcome from Mara Negrut (BSIS '21), remarks from SILS Dean Gary Marchionini and SILS Alumni Association President Hillary Fox (MSLS '14), and reflections from the 2020 and 2021 SILS Distinguished Alumni Award recipients Kathryn Cole (MSLS ’07), Meredith Evans (PhD ’06), Nathaniel King (MSLS ’09), and Jennifer Manning (MSLS ’91).

Scroll through this page for 2021 graduate names and awards presented this year. Visit the SILS 2020 Graduates web page for information on the Class of 2020 and related honors.

University Commencement

SILS also recognized its Class of 2021 at the University-hosted commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. May 15 in Kenan Stadium. SILS grads shared the field with graduates from the Kenan-Flagler Business School, School of Government, and School of Law.

“I am especially pleased and confident to be sending SILS graduates into a world increasingly more dependent on equitable access to information and knowledge,” said SILS Dean Gary Marchionini in his introduction from the main stage at Kenan. “Graduates, with your critical and human-centric perspectives on information and technology that you have acquired through your SILS education, I am certain that you will help us navigate the challenges ahead and seize opportunities for advancements and innovations that will not only create a more connected world, but also a more just and equitable one. Go forth to create, assess, manage, share, and use information and knowledge to make the world a better place.”

The ceremony at Kenan concluded with a video performance by the Clef Hangers, Harmonyx, and Marching Tar Heels as the names of all the 2021 graduates scrolled across the screen.

Virtual Doctoral Hooding

The Graduate School hosted a virtual doctoral hooding ceremony and website for August 2019 through May 2021 graduates on Saturday, May 15. The site features personalized graphics for each doctorate recipient, as well as messages from Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz, Graduate School Dean Suzanne Barbour, outgoing Graduate and Professional Student Government President Ryan Collins, and biochemistry alumna Mary Sue Coleman (PhD ’69). 

Recognition of Graduates and Award Recipients

Bachelor of Science in Information Science (BSIS)

Amore Arielle Allen

Elizabeth Anna Allen

Mohammed Abdullah Alshanteer

Jared Andrew Beavers

Darius Jordan Brown

Bobby Jack Cain III

Erica Chen

Yige Chen

Ariel Ann-Chi Chien

Alexandra Haines Churchill

Genivieve Christina Crites

Amy Luo Deng

Aman Kishor Depani

Jennifer Dominguez-Ayona

Zara Ehsan

Nadira Eley O'Reilly

Shaaheen Farahmand

Cameron Nicole Fisher

Firoz George V

Justin Hackeling

Ryan Michael Haynes

Yifan He

Ryan Franklin Hughes

Eva Michelle Janowski

Joshua Kutac

Chandlar Kristin Lanier

Wesley Michael Leonhardt

Jonah David Lewis

Yixuan Li

Katherine Jane Lindrum

Johnathan Earl Long

Coleman Raymond Manchester

Nicholas Lee Mewshaw

Lorenzo Muranelli

Jaelynn Brantley Murray

Anne Sophie Nachman

Mara Negrut

Jayce Andrew Ost

Natalie Marie Perez

Shelby Lane Poliachik

Davis Yirong Qian

Arshnoor Kaur Sangha

Neerja Shah

Katelyn Mary Shepard

Danielle Rose Shirilla

Carmen Francesca Silva

Alec Matthew Smir

Matthew James Stevens

Carissa Ting Tai

Eshika Noor Talukder

Joseph M. Taylor

Mai Xe Vang

Rebecca Wade

Tanvee Wakankar

Bridget Wallace

Tyler Joe Ward

Hannah Cameron Williams

Madelyn Williams

Rachel Elizabeth Wock

Jennifer Ying

Master of Science in Information Science (MSIS)

Yuepeng Chen

Christopher Hugh Cosgrove

Mary Hannah Currin

Yimei Fan

Criss Guy

Cassidy Ray Harding

Carrie Hill

Ziyang Jiang

Michelle Erin Johnson

Wanzhou Li

Zhenmin Li

Chloë T. Maddock

Stacy Stephanie McDonald

Kennedy McGuinness

Adrienne Frances Olson

Lidia Jo Morris

Hao Pei

Ruoyang Qin

Jeffery M. Robbins

Madeline H. Snipes

Zhuofu Wang

Ximing Wang

Goulin Wang

Lindsay Woods

Kai Yan

Gefei Yang

Haocheng Zhao

Master of Science in Library Science (MSLS)

Frank Alford

Taylor Alaska Barrett

Ariel Angelina Bates

Megan Kathleen Boland

Jade Marie Bruno

Illiana Teresa Burgos

Laura Vivian Carroll

Jess Marie Epsten

Mary Margaret Everist

Ann Sophia Fisher

Katherine Rose Greene

Olivia Jameson

Megan Elizabeth Kean

Allison Michelle Kittinger

Katherine Amelia Ledson

Zhu Li

Xinyao Liu

Jacob Whitcomb MacDonnell

Gillian Shea McCuistion

Kelly Nicole Miller

Kayla Catherine Olson

Mary Ann Orrell

Nicole Tavitian Pawelski

Mara Katherine Plantholt

Karly Richardson

Aramis Shancez, Jr.

Gavin Merritt Shelton

Emily Simmons

Florence Gregorie Sloan

Kari Margaret Spencer

Allyson Annette Take

Leah Christine Tams

Sarah Elizabeth Wall

Kiana Lynne Webster

Carolyn Grimes Welker

Ashley Pauline Marie Werlinich

Jenna Wine

Rachel Nevada Wood

Alexander Peter Youngman

Shi Zhang

Lulu Zilinskas

Master’s Papers

Electronic copies of these master's papers will be made available through the Carolina Digital Repository over the summer. 

Spring 2021

Graduate Name – Master’s Paper Title (Advisor Last Name).

Frank Alford – Current and Emerging Threats to Data- How Digital Curation and ARM Principles Can Help Use Brave this New World: A Case Study (Tibbo).

Ariel A. Bates – A Content Analysis of Academic Folklore Archives in the United States (Winget).

Megan Kathleen Boland – Class Consciousness in the School Library: An Examination of Equity and Book Fairs (Rawson).

Jade Squires Bruno – Filling in the Gaps: Building an Inclusive Library Instruction Guide to Cultivate Equity-Embedded Mindsets in (Future) Instruction Librarians Using Critical Pedagogy (Rawson).

Iliana T. Burgos – Exploring the Community Engagement Practices of Open Data Government Programs and Data Intermediary Organizations in the Research Triangle of North Carolina (Gibson).

Laura Vivan Carroll – Have You Heard Any Rumors Lately? Depictions of Librarians in Video Games (Rawson).

Yuepeng Chen – COVID Contact Tracing Apps and Programs: Comparison Analysis and Innovation Reference (Hemminger).

Christopher Cosgrove – An Analysis of COVID-19’s Effect on Individualized Education Plan Documentation  (Anthony).

Jess Marie Espten – Transformation Through Cultural Humility: Developing an Online Curriculum for Supporting the Transgender and Gender Variant People in Libraries (Rawson).

Mary Margaret Everist – The Effects of COVID-19 on Services and Operations of Public Libraries in North Carolina (Sturm)

Yimei Fan – The Relationship Between Twitter and COVID Pandemic with Sentiment Analysis (Rajasekar).

Ann Sophia Fisher – Prioritizing the Preservation of Born-Digital Artwork (Tibbo).

Nicholas Frederick – Living in a New Normal: How One Library and its Librarians Live in a Historical Moment and How Those Came Before Them Coped with Crisis (Bergquist).

Katherine Rose Greene – Catch Them If You Can: An Evaluation of Archival Security Practices in New England (Tibbo).

Criss Guy – Developing Instructional Interventions to Improve Access to Digital Oral History Collections in First-Year Writing Program Curricula (Rawson).

Cassidy Ray Harding – A User Analysis of the Environmental Finance Center’s Water and Wastewater Rates Dashboard Tool (Bergquist).

Carrie Hill – An Archive of One’s Own: What Users of a Fanfiction Archive Express Through Their Classification (Feinberg).

Olivia Jameson – Drawing Upon the Mission: Librarians’ Perception of Graphic Novels in Relation to the Mission of the School Library (Hughes-Hassell).

Ziyang Jiang – Predicting the Popularity of Independent Video Games on the Steam Platform (Wang).

Michelle Erin Johnson – Investigating the User Experience of Electronic Data Capture Systems: Perspectives of Clinical Research Coordinators (Yu).

Megan Elizabeth Kean – Digital Materiality: The Interpretation of an Archival Record’s Material Information Through Its Digital Surrogate (Shaw).

Allison Michelle Kittinger – ARMYPEDIA: A “Special Chronicle” of Multilingual Digital Crowdsourcing (Shaw).

Katherine Amelia Ledson – “An Impression Along the Verge”: A Content Analysis of Marginalia Art and Poetry and Digital Marginalia Collections (Winget).

Wanzhou Li – The Various UNC Course Building Styles on Sakai (Capra).

Zhenmin Li – UShareX: An Online Application Helper for Information Science Program (Shaw).

Zhu Li – An Analysis of Two Ontologies of Philosophy (Shaw).

Xinyao Liu – Art Museums at Home? A Content Analysis of Art Museums’ Websites During COVID-19 (Anthony).

Jacob Whitcomb MacDonnell – Covid-19 Contingencies: Disaster Management in Small Academic Archives (Tibbo).

Cholë T. Maddock – Old and New Horizons: The Information Resource Preferences of Hobbyists Before and After a Research Session (Capra).

Gillian Shea McCuistion – The Role of Conscious Archival Description in Primary Source-Based Education and its Influence on the Development of Historical Empathy: A Qualitative Content Analysis of Primary Source Ed Kits at the Minnesota Historical Society (Rawson).

Stacy Stephanie McDonald – Salesforce© CRM: A Library Management Solution (Haas).

Kennedy McGuinness – Climate Chat: An Integrative Review of Emerging Literature in the Field of Online Climate Change Communication (Gibson).

Adrienne Frances Olson McNair – Stirring Up the Ground: How Artists’ Reflective Practices Inform their Work and Shape Understanding              (Tripodi).

Kelly Nicole Miller – Manifest Destiny and Latent Content: A Qualitative Analysis of LibGuides on the American West/Westward Expansion (Hughes-Hassell).

Lidia Jo Morris – A Time-Based Comparative Analysis of Fan-made Online Information Resources (Winget).

Kayla Catherine Olson – Assessing the Use of Qualitative Data Analysis Software (QDAS) by Art Historians and Archaeologists (Bauer).

Mary Ann Orrell – Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder in Young Adult Realistic Fiction: A Content Analysis (Hughes-Hassell).

Nicole Tavitian Pawelski – Public Library Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in the Tar Heel State: A Content Analysis of North Carolina’s Public Library Websites (Flaherty).

Hao Pei – Heuristic Evaluations on Connect Carolina - UNC student Information System (Capra).

Mara Katherine Plantholt – Adapting to Evolving Needs: A Case Study of the Long Branch Free Public Library’s Social Work Program (Rawson).

Ruoyang Qin – How Americans’ Views on Mask-Wearing Has Changed in 2020: Sentiment Analysis Based on Twitter Data (Wang).

Karly Richardson – Purling Together: Information Seeking Behaviors of Knitters in the Internet Age (Winget).

Jeffrey M. Robbins – Material Similarity Expectations of Digitally Rendered Place Representations (Shaw).

Aramis Sanchez, Jr. – Community Oral History with Down Home NC (Tibbo).

Gavin Merritt Shelton – An Annotated Webliography of Materials for Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming (TGNC) Youth and Their Caregivers (Hughes-Hassell).

Emily M. Simmons – A Content Analysis of Effective Diversity Programs in Library and Information Science Education (Rawson).

Florence Gregorie Sloan – Special Collections Practice in Response to the Challenges of COVID-19: Problems, Opportunities, and Future Implications for Digital Collections at the Louis Round Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill       (Anthony).

Madeline H. Snipes – Identifying Research Trends in the Absence of Citation Metrics: An Exploratory Analysis of UNC-Chapel Hill School of Information and Library Science Master’s Papers 2012-2017 (Vargha).

Kari Margaret Spencer – A Content Analyses of North Carolina Public Libraries’ Responses to Covid19 Library Websites and Social Media (Bergquist)

Allyson Annette Take – A Content Analysis of “Scrapbook Houses” Description at Various Cultural Repositories (Winget).

Leah Christine Tams – Reference and Instruction Services in Academic Libraries during COVID-19 (Tibbo).

Sarah Elizabeth Wall – How Youth Services Librarians in North Carolina are Working to Serve LGBTQ+ Youth (Hughes-Hassell).

Guolin Wang – Relationship between Google Trend and Daily Trend of New COVID-19 cases in the United States (Arguello).

Zhuofu Wang – Data Science Programs in U.S. Library and Information Studies Schools (Rajasekar).

Kiana Lynne Webster – Audience Development for Academic Libraries: Adapting Museum Methods for Demographic Success (Rawson).

Carolyn Grimes Welker – Models of Institutional-Community Collaboration: A Case Study of the UNC Community-Driven Archives Grant (Melo).

Ximing Wen – Consumption Habits and Shopping Behavior of Generation Z People (Rajasekar).

Ashley Pauline Marie Werlinich – Teaching with Mass-Market Paperbacks (Shaw).

Jenna Wine – We Need More Diverse (Comic) Books: A Compilation of Graphic Novels Featuring Disabled Characters (Hughes-Hassell).

Rachel Nevada Wood – Exploring an Abolitionist Framework for Safety in Public Libraries (Melo).

Lindsay Woods – Exploring the Sociotechnical Factors Contributing to Burnout Among General Surgery Residents in the United State: A Systemic Review (Mazur).

Kai Yan – Data Mining for Analyzing and Predicting the Success of Movies (Rajasekar).

Gefei Yang – A Bibliometric Analysis of Ethics Considerations Regarding COVID-19 Resource Allocation (Yu).

Alexander Peter Youngman – A Content Analysis of Public Library and Academic Library Special Collection Development Policies            (Rawson).

Shi Zhang – The Development of Modern Chinese Libraries with the Help of Westerners (Bergquist).

Haocheng Zhao – Comparison of Left-wing and Right-wing Media Coverage on Coronavirus in Early 2020 (Tripodi).

Lulu Zilinkskas – Interpreting Desires: The Experiences of Artists in Archives (Melo)

Doctor of Philosophy in Information and Library Sciences (PhD)

Kimberly Hirsh 
"Where’d You Get Those Nightcrawler Hands? The Information Literacy Practices of Cosplayers"
Advisor: Sandra Hughes-Hassell

Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP)

PhD in Health Informatics 2021 Graduates

Fnu Manish Kumar

Ashley Clara Griffin

Master of Professional Science in Biomedical and Health Informatics 2021 graduates 

Meagan Leigh-Anne Foster

Rahul Mehta

Michael Fried

Ashlyn Nicole Zebrowski

Awards and Achievements

Dean’s Achievement Award
Laura Carroll
“Have You Heard Any Rumors Lately? Depictions of Librarians in Video Games.”
Advised by Casey Rawson

Kennedy McGuinness 
“Climate Chat: An Integrative Review of Emerging Literature in the Field of Online Climate Change Communication.”
Advised by Amelia Gibson.

Elfreda Chatman Student Research Award
Jess Epsten

Outstanding Service to the School Award
Jess Epsten

SILS Undergraduate Honors Thesis
Yifan He
"Evaluating Collaborative Filtering Algorithms for Music Recommendations on Chinese Music Data" (Graduating with Honors)

Mara Negrut
"Self-Presentation Strategies in the Platform Profiles of Successful Freelancers" (Graduating with Highest Honors)

SILS Diversity Advocate Certificate
Jade Bruno
Jess Epsten
Allison Kittinger
Mara Planholt
Emily Simmons
Kari Spencer
Sarah Wall
Jenna Wine

All ACC Honor Role
Jaelynn Brantley Murray

Carolina Academic Library Associate
Iliana Burgos
Criss Guy
Kayla Olson
Kiana Webster

Carolina Innovation Scholar
Cameron Fisher

Carolina Technology Associate
Adrienne McNair
Mara Plantholt

Danielle Elizabeth Liotta Award
Ryan Franklin Hughes

Environmental Protection Agency Library Internship
Mary Currin
Mary (Meg) Everist
Kelly Miller
Jenna Wine

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Kathryn Cole (MSLS ’07)

Kathryn Cole (MSLS ’07) is the School Librarian and Media Specialist at Northside Elementary School in Chapel Hill, N.C. Her efforts to make the library a more inclusive space and reach students during the summer months earned her an “I Love My Librarian Award” from the American Library Association in 2016. She currently holds the Mary U. Andrews Chair for Excellence in Teaching Literacy within the Chapel Hill-Carrboro City Schools. She actively contributes to local, state, and national school library conversations through conference presentations and leadership service. She has stayed closely connected to the school librarianship program at SILS, and this past year, she and SILS alumna Julie Stivers (MSLS’15) co-led a Project READY learning cohort with librarians from across the country.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Meredith Evans (PhD ’06)

Meredith Evans (PhD ’06) is Director of the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta and served as President of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) from 2018-2020. An archivist, historian, and scholar, her work focuses on the African-American experience in the United States, including the documentation of archival records from African-American churches in the Atlanta area and the preservation of social media from recent civil rights protests such as those of in Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of Michael Brown. She has been a member of the SILS Board of Visitors since 2017 and has chaired the board since 2020.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Nathaniel King (MSLS ’09)

Nathaniel King (MSLS ’09) is Director of the Marydean Martin Library at Nevada State College. His team received national recognition as a recipient of the 2020 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). Nevada State College is the first Hispanic Serving Institution to win the college category. Additionally, it is the first academic library in the state of Nevada to be honored with the award. The Library impressed the award committee with its supportive workplace culture, innovative approach to library services, and dedication to supporting the academic success of the college's students.

Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient Jennifer Manning (MSLS ’91)

Jennifer Manning (MSLS ’91) is a Senior Research Librarian at the Congressional Research Service in Washington D.C. Her primary subject areas are Congressional history and procedure, legislative branch operations, and legislative data. She also serves as U.S. liaison to a European Union-based organization of parliamentary research services and participates in data exchange projects with the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva. Prior to matriculating at SILS, she graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a double major in political science and international studies. She currently serves as Chair of the SILS Alumni Inclusion and Diversity (SAID) Committee and as a member of the University’s Alumni Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity (ACRED). 

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The SILS commencement ceremony traditionally includes the presentation of the Teaching Excellence Award. This year, SILS also elected to recognize an additional faculty member with a special proclamation for excellence. Congratulations to all the 2021 award recipients!

2021 Deborah Barreau Award for Teaching Excellence

  • Yue (Ray) Wang (Faculty Award)
  • Megan von Isenberg and Sarah Cantrell (Adjunct Award)

Proclamation for Excellence in Education Leadership

  • Whereas Casey Rawson has consistently demonstrated exceptional instructional skill, dedication, and effectiveness;
  • Whereas Casey Rawson has engaged students in meaningful community building experiences, both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Whereas Casey Rawson has shown inspired leadership over the past two years as the SILS faculty have endeavored to reevaluate and re-envision the curriculum for our master’s programs.   

Now, therefore be it resolved that the UNC School of Information and Library Science recognizes and thanks Casey Rawson for her ongoing devotion to student success and well-being, and her tireless efforts to improve the educational experience for future SILS students.

19 SILS graduates wearing black robes and yellow hoods.

Above: SILS 2021 graduates pose outside of Kenan Stadium before the University Commencement on May 15. Top photo: Carolina graduates celebrate at the end of the ceremony on May 15; photo by Jon Gardiner, UNC-Chapel Hill.