LEADS-4-NDP Fellows

LEADS-4-NDP 2018 Fellows

Welcome LEADS-4-NDP 2018 Fellows! LEADS Fellows will attend a data science bootcamp at Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics in early June and spend 10 weeks in immersive data science internship, working with our National Digital Platform (NDP) partners. (LEADS is supported by IMLS grant #RE-70-17-0094-17)

Karen Boyd, PHD Student, University of Maryland’s iSchool, LEADS Fellowship Site: Historical Society of Pennsylvania (HSP)

Karen Boyd is a PhD Candidate in the School of Information at the University of Maryland, College Park, working with Katie Shilton in the Ethics and Values in Design (EViD) lab. She also earned an MBA from the University of California, San Diego and worked with the Design Lab there before returning to pursue a PhD.

She is interested in the beliefs and practices of technology builders. Her prospective dissertation work focuses on machine learning (ML) engineers, using mixed methods to build a picture of how individual beliefs, organizational environments, and work practices influence ML algorithms. After graduating, she hopes to find a position in which she can contribute to the understanding of ML development practice and communicate those findings effectively to researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, and students. The goal of her work is to contribute to the short- and long-term alignment of ML algorithms with the interests of the people they learn from and affect.

“I am excited by the LEADS-4-NDP program because the training and experience it offers will help me improve my research skills and prepare to train skilled, critical, contextual- and socially-aware data scientists.”

To learn more about Karen, visit her homepage here.


Souvick Ghosh, PHD Student, Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, LEADS Fellowship Site: OCLC

My primary research interest is in Conversational Information Retrieval, which includes but is not limited to searchbots and spoken dialogue systems. I am attempting to use deep learning and NLP techniques to create better models capable of context-aware responses while interacting with humans in information seeking platforms. Other goals would be to build a theoretical framework and performance evaluation metrics for voiced-based searches.

I am also interested in searching as learning (combining educational and retrieval theories for better search and learning experiences), assessing content quality for social question-answering platforms, and classification of fake news. My work is focused towards Goal 3 (Good Health and Well Being), Goal 4 (Quality Education) and Goal 10 (Reduced Inequality) of the 17 sustainable development goals proposed by the United Nations. They have the potential to influence the life of visually challenged people, of students, and promote social well-being.

“I’m excited by the LEADS-4-NDP Program because the fellowship fits my profile perfectly, and I will be working with the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) Research, who is a big name in ILS systems. I am also looking forward to meeting the project PIs at the Drexel Metadata Research Center. It is a great opportunity, and I am confident of doing some good research over the summer.”

To learn more about Souvick, visit his page at Rutgers here.


Sam Grabus, PHD Student, Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics, LEADS Fellowship Site: Digital Scholarship Center at Temple University

Sam Grabus is a second-year Information Science PhD student at Drexel University, working with Dr. Jane Greenberg at the Metadata Research Center. Her primary research interests are data sharing, metadata & ontologies, and information ethics. Sam also obtained her MSLIS from Drexel University, where she focused her studies on digital libraries and academic librarianship. Sam is the lead research assistant on an NSF Northeast Big Data Innovation Hub data sharing project, entitled “A Licensing Model and Ecosystem for Data Sharing,” which seeks to develop a data sharing platform with a licensing generator and robust metadata framework, for the purposes of facilitating sensitive and private data sharing between industry, academia, and government. Sam also served as a Research Data Alliance data share fellow for 2017-2018, where she performed an environmental scan of standards, tools, and communities at the intersection of rights management and licensing. Sam is currently focused on exploration of ontology as a means to standardize the specification of data sharing agreement requirements.

“I’m excited for the LEADS-4-NDP Program because I am both a passionate advocate for the importance of library services in the digital era, and acutely aware of the need for future academic librarian competency within the realm of data science. I’m looking forward to developing and applying these skills at Temple University’s Digital Scholarship Center this summer.”

To learn more about Sam, visit her homepage here.


Chris Holstrom, PHD Student, University of Washington’s iSchool, LEADS Fellowship Site: Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC)

I am a PhD student in Information Science at the University of Washington. My research interests includeknowledge organization, social tagging and folksonomies, metadata, faceted classification, machine classification, and information architecture. I focus on comparing classification approaches and building hybrid knowledge organization systems. Recently, I studied an online community that uses social tagging extensively and found that a group of retroactive taggers largely conformed to established community standards instead of introducing classification best practices like controlled vocabularies. I also built a tagging UI to study how enabling and disabling UI elements like suggested tags and autocomplete affected the number and novelty of tags submitted.

Prior to studying Information Science, I earned a MS in Technical Communication and worked as a technical writer and manager at IBM and Google. I led a series of projects to integrate Google’s internal documentation and its metadata with search tools and the code base. As Head of Documentation for Google Cloud Platform, I was responsible for information architecture, content design, and quality of all technical content on cloud.google.com.

“I’m excited by the LEADS-4-NDP Program because I think that data science and metadata are the right tools to solve the large-scale classification challenges that library scientists face today.”


Laura Ridenour, PHD Student, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Information Studies, LEADS Fellowship Site: University of Pennsylvania’s Digital Research Services

Laura Ridenour is a PhD Candidate at the School of Information Studies and member of the Knowledge Organization Research Group at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her doctoral concentration is Information Organization; she is advised by Professor Richard Smiraglia and is an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship recipient. She previously earned her Masters in Information Science from Indiana University Bloomington.

Laura was an invited speaker at the 2016 COST KNOWeSCAPE workshop on Alternative and Tailored Metrics in Warsaw, Poland. She co-organized the 2017 North American Symposium on Knowledge Organization and the 2017 ASIS&T SIG/CR workshop. She is currently serving as President for the International Society of Knowledge Organization, Canada/United States, and Secretary/Treasurer for the Association for Information Science and Technology SIG/CR (Classification Research).

Laura’s research examines conceptual overlap and divergence using the sociological notion of the boundary object to examine interdisciplinary areas of science. Her work incorporates themes and methods from knowledge organization, philosophy of science, infometrics, and natural language processing.

“I’m excited by the LEADS-4-NDP program because it provides me with an opportunity to apply my technical and theoretical understanding to solve a real-world problem in information and library science.”

To learn more about Laura, visit her homepage here.


Adam Johs, PHD Student, Drexel University’s College of Computing and Informatics, LEADS Fellowship Site: Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC)

Adam Johs is an information science PhD student in the College of Computing and Informatics at Drexel University. Prior to embarking on his doctoral pursuit, Adam first served in the U.S. Armed Forces and then spent several years in the healthcare information technology sector. Now, as an information science PhD student, Adam has an interest in investigating explanations from a lens of human-computer trust in relation to explainable artificial intelligence (XAI). Given the various research application contexts pegged thus far, Adam’s research aims to incorporate aspects from both library science and data science (DS). Specifically, a current research application context targeted by Adam is digital libraries (future efforts could see to orientation toward the Semantic Web). In terms of DS, Adam has learned there is extensive opportunity associated with textual data manipulation regarding how to inform said explanations. Overall, Adam believes through his research, several useful findings pertinent to the current trajectory and likely future state of technology in society can be realized.

“I’m excited by the LEADS-4-NDP Program because this will truly be a catalyzing moment in my doctoral path. The innovative, synergistic platform that is LEADS will see to a convergence of the multidisciplinary interests that comprise my research. The resources—technical, institutional, and intellectually interpersonal—are truly boundless. I feel honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with the renowned experts part of the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) at the University of Maryland’s iSchool, and greatly look forward to the growth, learning, and collaboration that is to come!”


Gretchen Stahlman, PHD Student, University of Arizona’s School of Information, LEADS Fellowship Site: Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL)

Gretchen Stahlman is a PhD candidate in the School of Information at the University of Arizona (UA). She holds a Master of Science degree in Library Science from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and she previously worked in United States and Chile as a Documentation Specialist for the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array. As a UA iSchool graduate student, Gretchen has participated in several projects exploring curation and cyberinfrastructure strategies for hidden or at-risk datasets in biology and astronomy, including assisting in development of the new “Astrolabe” repository and suite of tools for analysis and management of astronomical data. Gretchen also served as a Research Development Fellow in the UA Office for Research, Discovery and Innovation during the 2015-16 academic year. Currently, Gretchen is focused on a dissertation project that implements a mixed-methods approach to identifying indicators of potentially uncurated astronomical data in the scholarly literature. Overall, her work aims to provide deeper insight into scholarly communication and data practices in astronomy, situated within broader initiatives and discussions related to open science.

“I am excited by the LEADS program because it is an opportunity to learn and apply valuable data science skills as a member of a cohort of doctoral students from other LIS programs and iSchools!”

To learn more about Gretchen, visit her homepage here.


Timothy Kanke, PHD Student, Florida State University’s College of Communication and Information, LEADS Fellowship Site: Digital Public Library of America (DPLA)

Timothy Kanke is a doctoral candidate at Florida State University after having completed his Masters in Library and Information Studies there in 2014. His background includes academic and public library experience in cataloging, reference, and I.T. Additionally, he has taught courses on databases, spreadsheets, and informational architecture, as well as serving as the coordinator for the FSU iSchool’s internship program. His broad research interests include collaborative work organization and data practices, knowledge organization, and data curation. Currently he is focused on a dissertation project about Wikidata, a large scale peer-curated knowledge base Wikimedia project, and how their community creates and uses the knowledge base. He is looking primarily at their integration and reuse of data, as well as ontologies and controlled vocabulary.

“I’m excited by the LEADS-4-NDP Program because it gives me the opportunity to help the Digital Public Library of America make their collections more discoverable.”

To learn more about Tim, visit his homepage here.


Kerry Townsend, PHD Student, University of Missouri’s School of Information Science and Learning Technologies, LEADS Fellowship Site: Free Library of Philadelphia

Kerry Townsend is a PhD student at the University of Missouri with a focus on effective school libraries, media and digital literacy and mediated communication. She holds graduate degrees in Education Technologies (MEd) and Educational Leadership (EdS) from the University of Missouri. She has previously worked as a high school English teacher, middle school librarian, and instructional technology specialist and is now the Library Media Coordinator for Columbia Public Schools in Columbia, MO. She is also a 2017- 2018 Lilead School Library Supervisors Fellow focusing on evidence-based leadership and library program advocacy. Kerry works to help her school district and others support student and teacher learning through effective library media programs. Follow her on Twitter @kltown.

“I’m excited by the LEADS-4-NDP Program because I cannot wait to dig deeply into the use of data to make educated decisions about programming and resource promotion in libraries. As a program director in a school district, I am very interested in how academic research can illustrate best practice in the field. What I learn by working with the Free Library of Philadelphia can be directly implemented into my daily professional work.”


Mark Phillips, PHD Student, University of North Texas’ College of Information, LEADS Fellowship Site: California Digital Library at University of California-Berkeley

Mark Phillips is a PhD student in the College of Information at the University of North Texas (UNT). He holds a Masters of Science in Library and Information Science from UNT where he currently works in the Digital Libraries Division of the UNT Libraries. At the UNT Libraries he has worked with a team to design and develop The Portal to Texas History, the UNT Digital Library, and the Gateway to Oklahoma History. He has been involved in a number of research projects related to metadata change, metadata quality, user interface development for digital libraries, and Web archiving. He is currently working with a team at the UNT Libraries to better understand how metadata creators think about quality in their work, and what tools they have available for assessing the quality of the metadata records they create. His research focus is in ways to combine data science and analytics with user interfaces to help cultural heritage institutions better understand the quality of the metadata they are creating in an effort to improve online access to digital resources.

“I am excited to be a part of the LEADS-4-NDP program because it gives me an opportunity to apply data science techniques I’m learning in my doctoral program to a nationally significant project.”

To learn more about Mark, visit his homepage here.