Alumni Spotlight

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Alumni Spotlight

UMD’s iSchool takes great pride in its graduates. See below to view some of our alumni talents and achievement! Click here to share a story! Also, learn more about our Alumni Awards & Recipients and our PhD Alumni.

Wendy Simmons, PhD, Class of 1990

Wendy SimmonsWendy Simmons is a retired Foreign Service Officer. She was also an adjunct lecturer for the College of Information Studies from 2015 to 2017. For almost three years, Wendy has been a reviewer for the Department of State's FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) program. The State Department is huge, with many bureaus in Washington and almost 300 facilities (embassies and consulates) overseas. FOIA requests come from the public, most often American journalists, academics, think tanks, non-profit organizations and independent researchers; but sometimes from overseas. When information is gathered from units relevant to the request, Wendy’s role is to review material that are found to see if they are truly responsive to the requests, and then for sensitivity, privacy and national security considerations, in accordance with FOIA and privacy law. Her work is then reviewed by a bevy of lawyers and ultimately sent to their requesters.

Wendy has reviewed materials for requests on Hillary Clinton's and Nikki Haley's schedules, as well as cases on the travel ban, sanctions on Russia, missing videotapes from press briefings, US refugee resettlement organizations, trademark issues with Cuba and many more. Many of her colleagues (retired Foreign Service) believe their time working overseas was much more thrilling, but as an information professional and an international policy junkie, it's a great fit for Wendy.

Kevin Beverly, MLS, Class of 1981

Kevin BeverlyiSchool Alumnus Kevin Beverly works to help disadvantaged children realize their potential through community outreach, mentoring, and service. Originally from the small African American community of Taylors Island, Kevin attended the University of Maryland receiving his Bachelors in Law Enforcement in 1979, and Masters in Library and Information Systems in 1982. He recalls his first part time job while attending UMD, in which he delivered mail at the National Library of Medicine. Upon graduation, this job eventually led to a full time position. His work ethic, interpersonal skills, and understanding of the movement of information allowed him to flourish in his career, but the hardships he endured along the way have stayed with him. His own journey along with the values instilled in him by his mother have motivated Kevin to use his experiences to help disadvantaged children find their own ambitions. His community work includes serving “on six boards, including the Montgomery County Community Foundation, the Universities at Shady Grove, and CollegeTracks, a program that helps disadvantaged students in local high schools pursue their education”, providing scholarships to students living on Taylors Island, building wooden boxes to serve as lending libraries for underserved communities, supporting an orphanage in Uganda, and more.

Alice Crites, MLS

Alice Crites, MLS Alice Crites, Washington Post researcher, has been a part of a half-dozen Pulitzer teams. Her latest Pulitzer Prize was announced last week for an investigation of Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama. The year before, she worked with David Fahrenthold on the Post’s Pulitzer-winning investigation of Donald Trump’s charitable giving.

Crites, the daughter of an NIH cancer researcher and a librarian for the Montgomery County Schools, said she always was a news junkie, but the idea of being a librarian never occurred to her. She studied Chaucer and got a master’s in literary criticism at Carnegie-Mellon before finding herself back in Washington, looking for work. Crites started working as a clerk at the Library of Congress, received her Master of Library Science degree at the University of Maryland College of Information Studies, and learned to find key materials before search vehicles like Lexis/Nexis existed. With her knowledge of legislation and current events, she began working a weekend shift at the Post in 1990 and was hired full-time in 1992. After nearly three decades at the Post, she has become the backbone of national political investigations. 

Tracy Jeffcott, MLS, Class of 2012

Tracy JeffcottTracy Jeffcott is the recipient of the 2017-18 Maryland School Librarian of the Year award, which honors a school librarian for exemplary service and outstanding achievements in the field of school library media. The award is presented by the Maryland Association of School Librarians (MASL). Tracy was born and raised in North Canton, Ohio. She received an Early Childhood Education BS from Miami University (Ohio), a Masters of Library Science from the University of Maryland, and is currently working on an Administration Certification from Hood College. Tracy began her career teaching third grade and currently serves as a Media Specialist to students in grades Kindergarten to 5 at Somerset Elementary School in Montgomery County. She works collaboratively with classroom teachers to support the integration of information literacy skills into daily instruction. Tracy utilizes Google Apps for Education (GAFE) to maximize collaboration, instruction, and student engagement.

Most recently, Tracy created a dynamic MakerSpace for all students to engage in independent STEAM related inquiry. She serves on the school leadership team, administrative core team, and STEM PLC. She is the representative for elementary school media specialists on the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) Councils on Teaching and Learning and a member of the Montgomery County Educational Media Specialists Association.  For the last three years, Tracy has worked as a mentor to first-year Media Specialists. She has spent summers participating in curriculum summits to create instructional resources for Montgomery County elementary educators. 

In October 2016, Tracy was honored to host Media Specialists from around the United States as a part of the School Library Journal Leadership Summit tour. She facilitates professional development for Somerset staff members and MCPS employees. During the 2017-2018 school year, Tracy began working with MASL members to build a professional development committee focused on supporting media specialists around the state of Maryland.  

Dr. Diane Ledbetter Barlow, MLS, Class of 1975

Dr. Diane Ledbetter Barlow, MLS, Class of 1975Dr. Diane L. Barlow, who passed February 6, 2018, was a monumental figure in the history of the University of Maryland College of Information Studies (iSchool). Diane was a part of the iSchool almost continually from 1975 through 2017 as a student, faculty, staff, dean, and mentor. Diane began her lifelong relationship with the iSchool as a graduate student in 1975, receiving her master’s degree in Library and Information Services in 1976. She returned to the iSchool as a doctoral student studying children’s literature, receiving her PhD in Library and Information Studies in 1989. Diane’s love of literature and libraries, and particularly of fostering connections among librarians, would continue to be a passion throughout her life.

Diane’s dedication to the field of information science led her directly into a leadership position at the iSchool in 1990 as the Director of Student Services, where for five years she adeptly led teams and brought advancement to the iSchool. From 1995 through 2016, she then served as Assistant Dean, Associate Dean, and Special Assistant to the Dean consecutively, retiring in 2016. Throughout these roles, Diane continued her championship of growth and advancement for the iSchool, which directly shaped what the college has become today – a top ten ranked information science school and nationally recognized public research institution.

Diane’s dedication to advancing and connecting the library community extended well outside the walls of the iSchool. She was actively involved in the American Library Association, Association for Library and Information Science Education (ALISE), Maryland Library Association, and Institute for Museum and Library Services. Her service to these organizations spanned over twenty years and ranged from committee and review work to serving on the Executive Board. Diane also served as Executive Director of the Citizen for Maryland Libraries from 2011 to 2017. She was known for her unrelenting dedication to this organization and to all Maryland libraries. Click here to learn more about Dr. Diane Barlow's legacy.

Jamuna Sundararajan, MIM, Class of 2005

Jamuna Sundararajan, MIM, Class of 2005Jamuna is currently the President and CEO of Cyberbahn Federal Solutions LLC. Cyberbahn Federal Solutions LLC was Jamuna's dream since 1995, which she transformed into reality in 2014 after 22+ years of experience in IT consulting Business development. CyberBahn Federal Solutions, LLC is one of the fastest-growing, woman-owned small businesses providing Information Technology and Management consulting and training services primarily to the federal government and other commercial clients. "There are countless number of lessons and techniques I learned during my MIM days; to cite a few that I learned from my professors: formulating a clear strategy and thinking critically when approaching a problem; gathering intelligence on competitors/doing due-diligence for informed, effective decision making/ being agile to adapt to the context/ to keep learning as an ongoing effort," shares Jamuna.

"The UMD iSchool helped me in many different ways; learning to network, adapt to work independently and as well as in team setting, approach a problem not to just solve the issue temporarily but to employ the right strategy with proper planning and critical thinking with some mitigation strategies, to be able to listen more effectively with anyone be it your employees/customers, leadership skills, tacit knowledge, presentation skills with your brand values, Establishing and maintaining Trust, Loyalty and integrity with your customers."

Her advice to current students: "Make an effort to build some professional contacts and industry connections in your respective field or core competencies while you are still in College. There are some great networking opportunities available; the relationships and associations that you make during the course of your classwork can bring you opportunities/ benefits for years down the road."

Melissa Wertheimer, MLIS, Class of 2017

Melissa Wertheimer, MLIS, Class of 2017 Meet Melissa Wertheimer, Archivist of the Music Library Association and Music Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress. Melissa’s impressive career has roots in a dual education in music and information science. She graduated from the iSchool with her MLIS in December 2017, with a specialization in Archives and Digital Curation. She also holds a Master of Music (MM) degree in Piccolo Performance from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Music (BM) degree in Flute Performance from Ithaca College. 

Melissa accepted the position of Archivist of the Music Library Association (MLA) for a five-year term through 2022. In this prestigious position, Melissa works with the MLA board, chapters, and local repositories to oversee both national and local archives. She is also spearheading the establishment of additional local archives. Melissa is an advocate of educating the public about the importance of the MLA’s music archives - developing engaging conference presentations and exciting online exhibits.

Melissa is also able to combine her passions for music, archives, and educating the public as a Music Reference Specialist at the Library of Congress. She works with individuals and groups, guiding them in collection use and helping them to find materials such as performing arts special collections, sheet music, and music copyrights.

In addition to these important positions, Melissa pursues her interests in music and archives by participating in public events, blogging, researching potential archive acquisitions, and curating exhibits.