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College of Information and Communications


Our Team

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Vanessa Lynn Kitzie, Principal Investigator

Dr. Vanessa Kitzie is an assistant professor in the School of Library and Information Science in the College of Information and Communications at the University of South Carolina. Kitzie studies the information practices of marginalized groups, with a focus on individuals identifying as LGBTQ+. Her research findings inform how information centers, such as libraries, and systems can better serve these individuals. Kitzie's work is interdisciplinary, spanning library and information science, communication, sociology, and critical studies.

Travis L. Wagner, Research Assistant

Travis Wagner is a Ph.D. student in the School of Library and Information Science at USC, as well as an instructor in USC’s Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Their primary research interests include: critical information studies, queer archives, and social advocacy in librarianship. Their recent publications include chapters in Advances in Librarianship; Organization, Representation and Description through the Digital Age, and a forthcoming piece in Ethical Questions in Name Authority Control. Wagner is also the co-creator of the Queer Cola Oral History and Digital Archives Project.

Valerie A. Lookingbill, Research Assistant

Valerie Lookingbill is a MLIS candidate from the University of South Carolina, where she is concentrating on health sciences librarianship. She received her bachelor’s degree in English literature from Elizabethtown College. Her research interests include information poverty and health information practices.

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Nicholas Vera, Research Assistant

Nick Vera is a doctoral student in the School of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. He received his Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. His research interests include understanding health and information behaviors of populations living in underserved communities. Prior to starting his Ph.D., he worked in the low country region of South Carolina with a local nonprofit SC Thrive to provide innovative and collaborative tools to help underserved communities efficiently access quality of life resources.    

Research Mentors

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Lynn Silipigni Connaway

Dr. Lynn Silipigni Connaway is a senior research scientist at OCLC and leads the User Research team. She is the 2017 ASIS&T past president. Connaway has held visiting scholar positions at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, the University of Sheffield, and at the Royal School of Library and Information Science. Her research has been funded by agencies in the US and the UK and she is the co-author of Research Methods for Library and Information Science, 6th ed.

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Laura Hein

Dr. Laura Hein's passion and work to improve the health of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people and their communities has spanned over a decade. A major perpetrator of LGBT health disparities is policy that excludes, harms, and oppresses LGBT people. These policies include absence of health coverage due to the Medicare gap, explicit exclusion of transgender care from health plans, absence of equal employment protection, and the legal subjugation of LGBT children to harmful therapies. Patient advocacy through policy is critical for progress on LGBT health disparities. Her experience and scholarship has been focused on health disparities education, LGBT cultural competency, community coalition building and national LGBT health policy. She is chair of the LGBTQ Expert Panel of the American Academy of Nursing and Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion committee of the Academy. She was pivotal in leading the Academy to expand their Diversity and Inclusion statement to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Through her work as co-chair, Hein petitioned the Academy to be co-signatories to amicus briefs, to issue statements supporting transgender health and transgender service members, and support for retaining section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. Hein serves on the Board of Directors of GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, a national inter-professional organization of health care professionals. Through her board service with GLMA, she works to build collaborative relationships with other organizations that support LGBTQ health equity. Locally, she serves on the Advisory Board of the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center in Columbia, SC.  

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R. David Lankes

Dr. R. David Lankes is a professor and the director of the University of South Carolina’s School of Library and Information Science. Lankes has always been interested in combining theory and practice to create active research projects that make a difference. His work has been funded by organizations such as The MacArthur Foundation, The Institute for Library and Museum Services, NASA, The U.S. Department of Education, The U.S. Department of Defense, The National Science Foundation, The U.S. State Department, and The American Library Association. Lankes is a passionate advocate for libraries and their essential role in today’s society earning him the American Library Association’s Ken Haycock Award for Promoting Librarianship in 2016. He also seeks to understand how information approaches and technologies can be used to transform industries. In this capacity he has served on advisory boards and study teams in the fields of libraries, telecommunications, education, and transportation including at the National Academies. He has been a visiting fellow at the National Library of Canada, The Harvard School of Education, and was the first fellow of ALA’s Office for Information Technology Policy. His book, The Atlas of New Librarianship won the 2012 ABC-CLIO/Greenwood Award for the Best Book in Library Literature. 

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Marie L. Radford

Dr. Marie L. Radford is a professor in the Department of Library and Information Science at Rutgers University. An award-winning author, she has one forthcoming book Conducting the Reference Interview 3rd ed. (with Catherine Ross & Kirsti Nilsen) and published two books in 2017: Library Conversations: Reclaiming Interpersonal Communication Theory for Understanding Professional Encounters (with Gary Radford), and Research Methods in Library and Information Science, 6th ed. (with Lynn S. Connaway). Her research focus is on interpersonal communication in virtual and face-to-face contexts, social media, qualitative methods, postmodern approaches to library problematics, and media stereotypes. She presents frequently at scholarly conferences and publishes widely in the highest-ranked LIS journals. She received the 2010 ALA/RUSA Mudge Award for distinguished contributions to reference.

Advisory Board Members

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Amelia Gibson

Dr. Amelia Gibson is an assistant professor in the UNC School of Information and Library Science. She graduated from the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida. Her primary research interests include information access and practices within communities, health information behavior and information policy, focusing specifically on place-based communities as information systems, and the effect of community structure on health and government information access. Gibson is currently conducting research on the information seeking and sharing behaviors of parents and caretakers of individuals with disabilities. She had previously been a research associate at the Information Use Management and Policy Institute, where she researched issues related to rural communities and e-government, and broadband adoption through community anchor institutions. Gibson received her MLIS from FSU, and her AB from Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. While at Florida State, Gibson was a McKnight Fellow, and she is a member of Beta Phi Mu.

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Devon Greyson

Dr. Devon Greyson is an assistant professor of health communication at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Department of Communication. Before this, Greyson was a postdoctoral fellow at the British Columbia Children’s Hospital Research Institute studying the role of information in decision making about prenatal and childhood vaccinations. At the Vaccine Evaluation Centre, Greyson worked with Julie Bettinger and the Canadian Immunization Research Network to better understand the ways that information affects health behavior. Greyson's primary areas of expertise are the health information practices of adolescents, parents, and families, as well as the ways health care providers and health systems use information in efforts to improve the health of populations. With research interests clustering around the intersection between information practices and health behavior, Greyson is particularly keen to investigate decision-making about health issues that are influenced by social marginalization and inequity, and the ways information systems can exacerbate or alleviate disparities. Greyson completed a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies at the University of British Columbia in 2015. Greyson's doctoral research, under the supervision of Youth Sexual Health Team leader Dr. Jean Shoveller, investigated how socially-constructed information practices influenced the health behavior and experiences of early-age parents. Greyson received a BA (with honors) in Women’s Studies and Music from Oberlin College, and an MLIS from the University of British Columbia’s School of Library, Archival and Information Studies. Greyson has taught about gender, sexuality, health, information and public policy at Capilano University and the UBC School of Library, Archival and Information Studies, and founded the Social Justice Librarian blog. Work experience in the non-profit sector (domestic violence and sexual assault), education (pre-school through adult), co- operatives, libraries, and health services and policy research informs Greyson's research and teaching.

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k8 hoffman 

k8 serves as the Footstep Fellowship Program Coordinator for Gender Benders. k8 has their B.A. in Political Science and Women's and Gender Studies from the University of South Carolina, with focuses in international human rights and American social politics. k8’s current studies are centered around combating adultism for marginalized youth and navigating bureaucracy to enact social change, specifically for transgender and gender nonconforming young people. Previously, k8 has served as the youth programming coordinator at an LGBT center, the statewide coordinator for the gay-straight alliance network in South Carolina, and also completed their gender studies practicum with the statewide interpersonal violence prevention organization. k8 is a Jewish non-binary queer activist, who enjoys cuddling their cats, attempts to survive capitalism, and works to uplift the power and voices of trans and gender nonconforming youth.

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Carol Hull

Carol Hull is the Inclusive Services Consultant at the State Library. She focuses on issues of equity, diversity, and inclusion within libraries and provides support to South Carolina public library staff. Her goal is to advocate for libraries that are truly representative of the diverse communities they serve. Hull received her Master's in Library and Information Science from the University of South Carolina. Prior to joining the State Library, she worked for the Charleston County Public Library in a variety of roles including Circulation, Technology Training, Reference, and Children's Services.

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catherine lockmiller

catherine lockmiller is a health science librarian at Northern Arizona University’s Phoenix Biomedical Campus. She has master's degrees in Library Information Science and English literature, and is a provisional member of AHIP. She is interested in critical health literacy initiatives that minimize the effects of health care disparities and social determinants arising from power imbalances and inequities in underserved populations. She is particularly focused on achieving health equity for transgender populations.

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Dusty Roether

Dusty Roether is the digital services librarian in the Walker Local and Family History Center at Richland Library. In this role, he manages digital collections, cataloging, and indexing of historic materials pertaining to Columbia and Richland County and works to make these collections more inclusive of all members of the community. He received his B.A. from Furman University and his M.L.I.S. from the University of South Carolina.

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Charles Senteio

Charles Senteio is a health informatics researcher focused on improving chronic care outcomes. His is an Assistant Professor at the Rutgers School of Communication and Information in the Department of Library and Information Science. He uses mixed methods to investigate how health care practitioners and patients can better use information to improve chronic disease outcomes for at-risk patients – while reducing cost of care – through financially sustainable care delivery models. He develops and enhances innovative, scalable approaches to care delivery, with a particular emphasis on community-based participatory (CBPR) research strategies. In 2015 he received a PhD in health informatics from the School of Information at the University of Michigan, and also completed a Masters in Social Work during the doctoral program. He began his IT strategy consulting career in the high-tech industry after receiving an MBA from the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan and started a health care consulting practice in 2002 to concentrate exclusively on health care. He is a licensed master social worker (LMSW), certified health education specialist (CHES) and certified community health worker instructor (CHW-I).

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Kathia Valverde  

Kathia Valverde is the Reproductive Health Program Coordinator at PASOs, which is part of the Choose Well Initiative. Kathia is originally from Costa Rica and has a Bachelor's Degree in Accounting and Business Administration, a diploma in English as a Second Language; and two Associate Degrees in Early Childhood and Liberal Arts. She's the former Program Coordinator for the HABLA Project at the University of South Carolina. She has served as an interpreter and translator for South Carolina Department of Social Services, family court, several attorneys and other medical entities in the state. Kathia enjoys spending time with her wife and two children. She is an active yogi and gardener. She is a passionate activist and advocate for issues affecting our state’s diverse LGBTQ+ community.