iSchool celebrates more than 100 spring graduates

Congratulations to the spring 2024 graduates of the Information School! 

A total of 114 scholars completed an iSchool degree program this semester and will now launch into careers across the information professions. This semester’s graduates have completed the following programs:

  • BA/BS Information Science: 27 graduates
  • MA Library & Information Studies: 61 graduates
  • MS Information: 25 graduates
  • PhD Information: 1 graduate

On Friday, May 10, the iSchool community—including faculty, staff, students, alumni, graduates and their families—celebrated the newest graduates’ accomplishments with a lively reception in the iSchool Library overlooking Lake Mendota.

Professor Emerita Louise Robbins, former director of the School of Library and Information Studies (now the iSchool), offered remarks at the event, inspiring graduates and guests alike.

“Reciprocity matters,” Robbins said. “When you help others achieve their goals, you build a cadre of people who can help you achieve yours.”

Additionally, iSchool Professor and Director Alan Rubel reflected on the impressive range of skills and knowledge among the iSchool’s newest graduates and student body at large. “Our students understand information technologies, organization, systems, libraries, and archives in a functional way, but more importantly, they understand these all are ultimately about people, communities, relationships, democracy, and human values,” Rubel said. “It is enormously gratifying to see so many graduates across multiple programs, taking very different paths, who appreciate that.”

To illustrate the diversity of backgrounds, skill sets, and career aspirations in the iSchool’s class of 2024, it is worth highlighting the stories of several individual graduates.

Barbara Alvarez, PhD Information

Barbara Alvarez, a researcher at the intersection of information and public health, uses the tools of information science to study how individuals access reproductive health information and services in Wisconsin. Her work won her a 2022 Movers & Shakers Award from Library Journal. 

“We can’t make decisions about our health unless we’re given information access,” Alvarez said. “Social and legislative issues are making it difficult to share information about sexual reproductive health.”

iSchool highlights: “I’ve enjoyed learning, teaching, and studying in this department. Thank you to the wonderful faculty and staff for making my experience so positive,” Alvarez said. “I am particularly grateful to my advisor, Professor Rebekah Willett, for her constant encouragement and support throughout my PhD program.”

“Professor Alan Rubel’s ethics and policy class was one of my favorite classes,” she added. “It really helped cement the work that I want to do and provided space for me to research and write more about my topics of interest.” Finally, Alvarez said, “I will really miss the regular writing sessions with fellow PhD students. They were a highlight of my time in the program and a great way to get work done collaboratively yet independently.”

Post-graduation plans: Assistant Professor at University of North Carolina Greensboro, Department of Information, Library, and Research Sciences

Sveta Bartholomew, MA Library & Information Studies

Sveta Bartholomew says her time in the iSchool’s MA program has helped her “blossom professionally”, through fascinating courses and internship experiences.

iSchool highlights: While completing her MA degree, Bartholomew completed an internship with the University of Maryland Applied Research Laboratory for Intelligence and Security (ARLIS), applying her information science skills in a cybersecurity context. (She is set to begin a second internship at ARLIS after graduation.)

She also made note of her single favorite course at UW-Madison: “I am very grateful to my amazing advisor, Kristin Eschenfelder, for suggesting I take LIS 501 (Text Mining),” Bartholomew said. “I loved every class session and learned a ton.”

Post-graduation plans: Research for Intelligence & Security Challenges (RISC) Internship at ARLIS

Corey Black, MA Library & Information Studies

Corey Black has been deeply involved in various iSchool initiatives throughout her MA program, including research on digital engagement in Black and Hispanic communities and a role as a Project Assistant with the iSchool Library. She was selected as a Community of Graduate Research Scholars (CGRS) Advanced Opportunity Fellow by the College of Letters & Science.

iSchool highlights: In reflecting on her iSchool experience, Black emphasized several impactful courses and instructors. Her two standout courses were LIS 734 (Introduction to Archives and Records Management) taught by Amanda Smith and LIS 654 (Information Management) taught by Patrick Leeport. “Both of these courses were well organized, established a strong foundation for archival work and management within information spaces, more specifically libraries, and had instructors that created safe, engaging spaces to learn,” Black said. “Great courses, better instructors.”

“I also wanted to separately shout out Megan Adams,” Black added. “Megan has been an unbelievably supportive individual in the program for myself and others. She is a champion of the MA students.”

She continued, “I was extremely fortunate to have [Megan] as my supervisor at the iSchool library in my second year. I have received an unending amount of support and care from her, and I do not know any student that hasn’t received the same. She’s a rockstar and I hope she receives all of her flowers for how much she does for everyone involved in the iSchool.”

Melissa Ernst, MA Library & Information Studies

During her MA program, Melissa Ernst was involved in multiple student groups, including the Jail Library Group and the Tribal Libraries, Archives and Museums (TLAM) group — all while working full-time at Madison Public Library.

iSchool highlights: “Getting to be a part of the TLAM class and student group has been one of my biggest highlights,” Ernst said. “I am so proud to be part of a long line of students dedicated to collaborating with and centering our tribal communities in work we do.”

Ernst added, “I have been fortunate to learn from the many amazing people here at the iSchool, including Cassy Leeport, Dorothea Salo, DeAnza Williams, Rebekah Willett, and Megan Adams. I’ve also been so grateful for the opportunity to meet and connect with so many students in my cohort.”

Post-graduation plans: Youth Services Library Assistant at Madison Public Library

Chloe Foor, BS Information Science

A triple major in History, Computer Sciences and Information Science (iSci), Chloe Foor exemplifies the interdisciplinary learning that the iSci major enables.

iSchool highlights: Foor said the iSchool’s courses have helped her “focus on how technology impacts the world and how people access information, both online and in-person.”

“I have been able to take classes in all of my interests, and finding connections between them is what makes the work worthwhile,” she added. During her time at UW-Madison, Foor also completed an internship with the Dane County Historical Society and served as a Student Historian with the UW Archives, among other projects.

Post-graduation plans: Pursuing a PhD in History, University of Texas at Austin

Dev Khetan, MS Information

Dev Khetan has sharpened his data analysis skills through the iSchool’s MS program and practical experiences over the last two years. He has also been an outspoken advocate for the iSchool’s MS program, including an appearance on a UW-Madison podcast and articles on our website.

iSchool highlights: Khetan has worked directly with Brendan Casey, director of experiential learning, on his practicum as a project manager, working with the iSchool’s own datasets. He has also enjoyed being a peer tutor for other MS Information students.

Post-graduation plans: Technology Analyst at Barclays (Whippany, NJ)


Mackenzie Rhode, MA Library & Information Studies

Mackenzie Rhode, the winner of the 2024 iSchool Outstanding MA Graduate Student Award, has made the most of her iSchool experience, both in the classroom and in multiple roles at the Wisconsin Historical Society (WHS).

iSchool highlights: “One of my favorite courses that I took while at the iSchool was LIS 632: Metadata Standards and XML,” Rhode said. “In this course, we had the opportunity to create metadata for our own curated digital collections and learned how to implement and follow different metadata schemas based upon the content of our collections.”

In addition, in her roles as Serials Assistant and Archives Assistant at WHS, “The staff have been wonderful mentors to me, and I have learned so much about the field,” Rhode said.

Post-graduation plans: Continuing work as Serials and Archives Assistant at WHS while applying and interviewing for full-time roles.

Aiden Thekan, BS Information Science

Aiden Thekan is graduating with a Data Science Certificate in addition to his iSci degree, and he will be diving into the information security field soon after graduation.

iSchool highlights: “I found all the iSchool professors to be very knowledgeable,” Thekan said. “They were dedicated to teaching their students the content in a way that every student could understand, and they made sure to show us how course material can be applied outside the classroom.”

Post-graduation plans: Information Security Specialist at WEC Energy (Milwaukee, WI)

For more information about iSchool programs, visit the programs webpage.