Current Students

The following students are part of the Library and Information Science PhD program. For more information, please contact us.


Farraj AlFaseedi


Reham Isa AlshaheenReham Isa Alshaheen

Reham Isa Alshaheen is a Teaching Assistant at the Department of Library and Information Science at Kuwait University (KU). She has worked for five years at the English Desk of the Editorial Department at Kuwait News Agency (KUNA). Her work included information retrieval, organization, and publishing. Alshaheen holds a master degree with honors in Library and Information Sciences (LIS) from Kuwait University and a bachelor degree with honors in Mass Communications and English Language and Literature from Kuwait University's College of Arts. She was honored by His Highness the Amir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah for her outstanding academic achievement.

Alshaheen was a member of the organizing committee of the 15th conference of the Special Libraries Association (SLA) – Arabian Gulf Chapter which was held in Kuwait in 2009. She believes in the importance of volunteering and managed many workshops in educational institutions and non-profit organizations on information skills as community service. Alshaheen is currently working on her dissertation which is about the user experience and information architecture of national library websites.


Bedour AlshakhsBedour Alshakhs

Bedour Alshakhs has finished her comprehensive exams and is now in the IRB stage for her dissertation, hoping to graduate in September 2018. In Spring 2017 she worked with the late Dr. Jim Matarrazzo as his teaching assistant for his online Special Libraries class. She assisted Prof. Matarazzo in preparing the recordings and publishing them online. She is now working on her dissertation with Associate Professor Naresh Agarwal as committee chair. Her dissertation topic is Information seeking behavior of family businesses in the food industries in Kuwait; she plans to interview people in Kuwait for her research. 


megan blakemoreMegan Blakemore

Megan Blakemore '04LS has over ten years' experience as a school librarian. Currently working in a K-5 school, she has also been the teacher librarian at the middle and high school levels. She has worked to make the school library a hub of creation as well as information gathering by implementing a Learning Commons model and launching a maker space. In the maker space she works to connect making with reading and writing. Blakemore is also a writer for children and young adults. Her novels include The Water Castle (Bloomsbury, 2013), and The Firefly Code (Bloomsbury, 2016), and Good and Gone (HarperTeen, 2017). She plans to study the impact of choice on reading stance for her dissertation. Other research interests include the intersection of making and literacy, student-centered learning, and student engagement.


Ceilyn BoydCeilyn Boyd

Ceilyn Boyd '08LS is the Manager of the Harvard Library Research Data Management Program. This new program connects members of the Harvard community to services and resources spanning the research data lifecycle and helps to ensure that Harvard's multi-disciplinary research data is findable, accessible, interoperable, and reusable (FAIR). Boyd's technical background includes the roles of analyst, research software engineer, and project manager at a variety of research and commercial organizations including SRI International, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Mitsubishi Electric, and BBN Corporation. Their areas of focus involved artificial intelligence; scientific data analysis and visualization; and computer graphics.

Boyd's work in academic libraries has involved management of large-scale strategic library programs and projects and research data management. Other library-related activities include taxonomy development; building sustainable data and visualization workflows; managing the large-scale digitization of manuscripts; and managing large, multi-library strategic projects and project portfolios. Boyd has a BA in Linguistics from Stanford University, an MA from Brandeis University in Anthropology and Women's Studies, and in an MS LIS from Simmons University.


Sylmari Burgos-RamirezSylmarí Burgos-Ramirez

Originally from Puerto Rico, Sylmarí Burgos-Ramirez graduated from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus with a B.A. in Sociology and a Master's degree in Information Sciences and Technologies. After graduating she worked as the library assistant and former Library and Media Services Coordinator at Saint John's School in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Prior to that, she worked as a Research Assistant for the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies. During her Master's at the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technology, she volunteered in various activities to promote Puerto Rican children's literature. Her admiration for Pura Belpré and her commitment to serve Hispanic and Latino communities led her to perform research in this area. In 2016 she had the opportunity to present her findings at Puerto Rico's REFORMA (The National Association to Promote Library and Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking) Chapter Conference.

In 2016, Burgos-Ramirez moved to Boston, MA to pursue a PhD in Library and Information Sciences at Simmons University, focusing on the information needs and behaviors of Spanish-Speaking communities living in the US. She has been awarded the NEASIST Travel Award and the Doctoral Student to ALISE Award in 2017. During her attendance at the 2018 ALISE Conference she participated in the works-in-progress poster session presenting her research, "Information Needs and Behaviors of Spanish-speakers in times of social, economic and political changes."

Burgos-Ramirez is the Student Representative at the American Library Association Membership Committee. She also works at the Public Library of Brookline as a Reference Librarian and at Simmons University as the Teaching and Learning Technology Specialist for SLIS.


Alyson GambleAlyson Gamble

Practitioner-scholar Alyson Gamble holds a Master of Library and Information Science from Louisiana State University, a Master of Liberal Arts from Tulane University, and a Bachelor of Arts from Spring Hill College.  Prior to entering doctoral studies, they worked as a science librarian.  

Alyson has held leadership roles in a variety of organizations, including the Association for Information Science and Technology's Special Interest Group in Digital Libraries (ASIS&T SIG-DL) and the Simmons SLIS Doctoral Student Association (DSA).  

Alyson's doctoral research is inspired by the concept of consilience as explained by Edward O. Wilson and involves the intersections of biomedical informatics, scholarly communications, and digital environments, with foci on equitable access and user experience.


Jonathan GoldenJonathan Golden

Jonathan Golden '17LS is the Systems Librarian at St. Mark's School, a private, secondary school in Southboro, Massachusetts. Prior to that he was a library assistant at Concord Academy, and the digital repositories assistant at the Whittemore Library at Framingham State University, where he earned his B.A. While earning his MSLIS at Simmons SLIS, Golden concentrated mainly on information science, technology, and the philosophy of information. He was part of a team tasked with evaluating the usability of the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners website, and the team was invited to present their findings at “Service Design: The Holistic Experience,” a one-day conference held by the New England Association for Information Science & Technology at Simmons in January 2017.

Golden's current research interests are in the areas of information evaluation, philosophy of information, doxa and epistemology, and the information lifecycle. He spends his summers teaching woodshop to young children at Concord Academy Summer Camp.


Jolie GraybillJolie Graybill

Jolie O. Graybill joined Minitex, a division of the University of Minnesota Libraries and a consortium serving libraries of all types in Minnesota, South Dakota, and North Dakota where she serves as Assistant Director for Digital Initiatives and Metadata Education. Previously she held multiple positions at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries: most recently as Image & Multimedia Collections Coordinator where Graybill was responsible for the Image & Multimedia digital collections, provided general reference services, and acted as the liaison for Communication Studies; previously as Multicultural Services Librarian where she supported Ethnic and Multicultural Studies faculty and students. From 2006 to 2008, Graybill was with Northern Arizona University Cline Library as Academic Programs Librarian/Social and Behavioral Sciences Team Leader. Graybill served as a Visiting Program Officer for the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Diversity and Leadership programs, mentored ARL multiple diversity scholars, and currently serves on the University of Arizona Knowledge River Steering Committee. She had the unique opportunity to participate in the 2007 ALA Emerging Leaders program, received a 2006 ALA Diversity Research Award, and was part of the University of Minnesota Libraries' 2006 Institute for Early Career Librarians.

Prior to entering the academic library field, she worked for the University of Arizona-Maricopa County Cooperative Extension and the University of Minnesota-Ramsey County Extension Service, respectively, as an assistant agent in 4-H Youth Development. Graybill earned her MLS from the University of Arizona as a part of both the ARL Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce and the University of Arizona's Knowledge River program; a Master's degree in Education-Youth Development Leadership from the University of Minnesota; and a Bachelor's of Science in Journalism from the University of Kansas.


Zhan HuZhan Hu

Originally from China, Zhan Hu has been a Boston resident for the past ten years. She graduated from UMass Boston with a bachelor's degree in Economics and Finance. After completing the graduate program in Economics in Tufts University, Zhan switched to the Library and Information Science field to pursue her interests in information/knowledge management research. She entered the Doctoral program in SLIS upon finishing the MLIS program in Simmons. The related experience includes a research assistantship in Massachusetts Export Center, a teaching assistantship in the department of Economics in Tufts University, and a library internship in Anna Maria College's Mondor Eagen Library. Beginning in Fall 2016, Zhan started her work as the Teaching and Learning Technology Specialist in SLIS, assisting faculty and students with Moodle problems and other teaching and learning technology related issues. She is currently serving as the co-chair of UXPA @ Simmons, and the treasurer of the Doctoral Students Association (DSA) at SLIS, Simmons.  

Zhan's primary research interests is information ecology and ecological approach to investigate library and information science issues; through her research, she wants to study the feasibility of applying holistic ecological approach to a wider range of research questions in the LIS field, and explore information ecology theories and research methodologies for empirical justification of the research questions. Beginning in fall 2017, she reoriented her research activity to knowledge management in academic libraries as pilot studies for dissertation topics. In addition, Zhan is interested in economics of information, more specifically, how to utilize information economics theories more effectively for research and practice in the LIS field.


Alexia Hudson WardAlexia Hudson-Ward

Alexia Hudson-Ward is the Azariah Smith Root Director of Libraries for Oberlin College and Conservatory, one of the nation's leading liberal arts academic library systems. Prior to assuming this role in July 2016, she was a tenured associate librarian at Penn State University Libraries based at the Abington College in Abington, PA. During her term at Penn State, Alexia was selected by senior administration as one of five university-wide Big 10 Academic Alliance faculty leadership fellows in 2014-2015.

Her librarianship philosophy rests upon the principles of accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Her professional points of pride include providing leadership in leveraging library resources to enhance and foster new pedagogies, strategic planning and organizational design, and educational technology deployment.

Alexia holds an M.L.I.S. from the University of Pittsburgh, a B.A. degree in English Literature and African American Studies from Temple University, and is currently a Ph.D. student at Simmons University. She is the recipient of several awards and recognitions, including Library Journal's Mover and Shaker honor (2008), ALA Emerging Leader (2007), the Pennsylvania Library Association's New Librarian of the Year (2007), and the University of Pittsburgh's School of Information Sciences Young Alumni Award in 2013. Alexia was also honored to receive an invitation to participate in a live White House Twitter Town Hall Tweet Up with former President Barack Obama and Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in 2011.

Alexia has served on the Executive Board of the American Library Association and has held several leadership roles in non-profit organizations. Her hobbies include researching pre and early post-Civil War African American history, arguing with Twitter trolls and increasing her ever-growing shoe collection. Since moving to Northeast Ohio she has enjoyed her new past time: teasing Cleveland Browns fans.


Ben HunterBen Hunter

Ben Hunter is currently Associate Dean of University Libraries at the University of Idaho. Prior to this position, Hunter served as the Head of Technical Services at the University of Idaho and as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at the University of Idaho, and was an Association of Research Libraries Fellow at the University of Washington. Hunter was named 2017 Idaho Librarian of the Year by the Idaho Library Association, a Library Journal Mover & Shaker in 2013, served as the 2010/2011 President of the Idaho Library Association, and is part of the ALA Emerging Leaders 2011 cohort. He has published numerous articles on a variety of subjects including change management, digital publishing, and music librarianship and frequently reviews books on topics such as electroacoustic music and the traditional music of Scotland and Ireland. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Music in Music Composition from the University of Idaho, a Master of Music in Music Composition from the University of Oregon where he also served as a Graduate Teaching Fellow, and a Master of Science in Library Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


LeRoy LaFleurLeRoy LaFleur

LeRoy LaFleur is the Associate Director of Library Services for Ginn Library at Tufts University's Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. In this role he provides oversight for library research and instructional support, access services, and collection development across a variety of disciplines, including international relations and law, business and economics, development and security studies. His background includes extensive experience in academic library public services and collection development, with a particular focus on applied and interdisciplinary social sciences research.

LaFleur is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) and a Councilor for the American Library Association (ALA). He is a past-chair of the Politics, Policy, and International Relations Section of ACRL, and a life-time member of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. He has written and presented on a number of topics related to library outreach and practice including information literacy, collection management, diversity, and recruitment. His current research interests are in areas related to leadership, collaboration, and culture in academic libraries.

LaFleur holds a master's degree in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a master's in Organization Development and Knowledge Management from George Mason University's Schar School of Policy and Government, and a Bachelor's degree in Sociology from Michigan State University. He is currently a doctoral student at Simmons University studying collaboration and leadership in libraries.


Cyndee LandrumCyndee Sturgis Landrum

Cyndee Sturgis Landrum has over 20 years of experience in the library and information science profession. She has worked in academic, medical and public libraries in Arizona, Illinois, Indiana and Pennsylvania. Cyndee is the CEO-Director of the Evansville Vanderburgh Library (EVPL) system in Indiana. As CEO, she is advancing a strategic direction that positions users as co-creators of library experiences, fosters internal experimentation and exploration, and cultivates community capital to support a vibrant and productive region. She is a member of the Public Library Association Equity Diversity and Inclusion Taskforce, Executive Board of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association and Co-Chair of 11th National Conference of African American Librarian to be held in Tulsa, OK in 2020.

Cyndee holds a B.A. in Linguistics from Northwestern University, an MLIS from University of Southern Mississippi and is a doctoral candidate in School of Library and Information Science at Simmons University where her research focuses on equity, diversity, inclusion, social justice and the lived leadership experiences of library leaders from underrepresented and underpowered groups. She has presented and published on these issues as well as in the areas of engagement, experience, inquiry and impact of libraries.


Kimberly LavoieKimberly Lavoie

Prior to studying at Simmons, Kimberly Lavoie worked as a high school librarian in both urban and suburban public school districts. She is certified as a school librarian and instructional technology specialist in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Her research interests include teacher-librarian collaboration in the digital age, e-learning platforms and school libraries, and information needs and behavior of young adults. Lavoie earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Boston College, a Master of Arts degree in History from Providence College, and a Master of Library and Information Science degree from Simmons.


David LeonardDavid Leonard

David Leonard, leads the 170-year old Boston Public Library, one of the city's great educational, cultural and civic treasures. Leonard began working at the BPL in 2009, bringing deep experience from the technology, management and consulting fields. Appointed president by the Library's Board of Trustees and Mayor Martin J. Walsh in June 2016, Leonard's focus is on developing the BPL as a twenty first century institution providing dynamic library experiences to the residents of Boston, of Massachusetts and beyond. Boston Public Library has a Central Library in Copley Square, twenty-five neighborhood branches, an archival center, and also serves as the ‘Library for the Commonwealth' of Massachusetts. In his role, Leonard oversees a collection estimated to be more than 23 million books, maps, manuscripts, prints, and an expanding digital collection. Prior to his appointment as President, Leonard served as Interim President for one year. During that time, he focused on the completion of the $78 million renovation of the Central Library in Copley Square, which opened in July 2016, as well as a significant number of branch and collections management improvement projects, enhancing access and the customer experience; collaborating with city departments and with local cultural institutions; and supporting Mayor Walsh's arts and culture vision.

Leonard's background prior to BPL spans academia, the non-profit sector, and most recently ten years in the private IT consulting world in roles that included business development, management, and technology consulting. Leonard is currently enrolled in the PhD program in Library Information Science at Simmons University. He holds a Bachelor's Degree in Philosophy and Mathematics and a Master's Degree in Philosophy from the University College Dublin.


Wenqing LuWenqing Lu

Wenqing Lu '14LS is a PhD student in School of Library and Information Science, Simmons University. Prior to studying at Simmons, she earned her Master's degree in Russian. She is fluent in English, Russian, and her native Mandarin. Lu is particularly interested in usability and user experience studies. In Fall 2015, she began work in the SLIS Usability Lab as a research assistant, providing training and technical support for the faculty members and students running usability testing. Lu was the teaching assistant for the course Usability and User Experience Research in Fall 2016 and Fall 2017. In Fall 2017, she also participated in the usability research project on PBCore website. Sponsored by WGBH, this project involved more than 50 participants' interactions with the website, analyzing the different performance among three website users: broadcast people, archivists, and in-between.


Sujei LugoSujei Lugo

Sujei Lugo, a former elementary school librarian in Puerto Rico, is a children's librarian at the Boston Public Library, Connolly Branch. She holds an MLIS from the University of Puerto Rico and is currently a doctoral candidate in LIS at Simmons University, focusing on anti-racism and children's librarianship. She is an active member of REFORMA, ALA and ALSC. A member of the We're the People Summer Reading Project and Latinxs in Kid Lit blog.


Zachary Newell

Zach Newell has worked in varied roles in libraries as both educator and administrator. He is writing his dissertation on creativity and information literacy. As part of his passion for shaping the future of the library, Zach continues to examine and reimagine the relationship the campus community has to the library and its space, and continues to cultivate the potential for cross-disciplinary collaboration in an effort to facilitate the library as a hub for transformative learning. As part of an ongoing interest in internationalization and student success, Zach also continues to work closely with colleagues to explore informational constructs and creative/artistic practice in a global context. Zach was previously a Fulbright Scholar at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina in Alexandria, Egypt during the so-called Arab Spring. Zach holds a B.A. in Philosophy, an M.A. in Art History and an M.S. in Library Science.


Sean NoelSean Noel

Originally from Maine, Sean Noel has lived and worked in Boston for over twenty-five years. In 1994 he received his BA in English Literature from Boston University (BU), Phi Beta Kappa, followed by two years in Aomori, Japan teaching English and studying Kendo. After returning to Boston, he completed a Master of Liberal Arts degree concentrating in Twentieth Century Narratives in 2002 from BU. Noel has spent 20 years at Boston University's Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center in several positions focusing on public service, and is now Associate Director. He lives in Waltham with his wife and daughter.

Noel was a co-author and an investigator on a series of grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation on the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Archival Collaborative (2007 – 2010). He was co-author and an investigator on a current grant from the NEH called “Expanding Common Ground - The Electronic Cataloguing Project for the Howard Thurman and Sue Bailey Thurman Collections at Boston University” (2012 - 2014), and co-author and investigator for a major grant from the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Inc. (2014 - 2015) to create an online finding aid for the Elie Wiesel archive at BU. He was the 2015 recipient of the Thomas J. Galvin '56LS Endowed Scholarship at Simmons University.

Noel's research interests include practice and theory of teaching with archival material in the undergraduate humanities curriculum; innovations in the creation of online inventories; and best practices for digitizing and accessing archival material online.


Heather PerryHeather Brodie Perry

Heather Brodie Perry is a Reference Librarian/Assistant Professor at The MacPhaidin Library at Stonehill College, in Easton Massachusetts. She teaches several courses at Stonehill on information technology, information ethics and the role of information in shaping public policy. Her research interests include information ethics, information literacy instruction, evaluation and scientific information literacy.

She received her MLS at the State University of New York at Albany, and is a Doctoral Candidate at Simmons University in Boston. Her dissertation is on Conflict of interest in scientific research: Does information literacy instruction improve undergraduate student understanding. She is the author of several articles including articles in College and University Libraries, portal: a Journal of Libraries and the Academy, and Currents in Teaching and Learning.


Jae Jennifer RossmanJae Jennifer Rossman

Jae Jennifer Rossman '00LS is the Director, Department of Area Studies & Humanities Research Support at the Yale University Library. She oversees a team of subject specialists, who provide services in collection development, reference, instruction, and outreach to multiple academic departments. Previously she was the Associate Director for Special Collections & Public Programs of the Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library at Yale where she oversaw collection development, exhibitions, education, and outreach. Additionally, she revitalized The Bibliographical Press in Sterling Memorial Library, founded by Yale University Printer Carl Rollins in 1927; this resource now continues its pedagogical mission in an updated and more accessible location through a team of newly trained librarian instructors. Her work emphasizes the integration of primary source research and education into the undergraduate curriculum with a focus on the book as both a concept and a physical object.


Watinee Sae-LimWatinee Sae-Lim

Watinee Sae-Lim is a current PhD student with research interests cover several topics all related to data. For her independent study, she researched data science programs in U.S. higher education, focusing on analytical skills, domain knowledge, and curriculum structure. The results of the study lead to shift her focus to people who work with research data, as all outputs arise from research. Academic research universities in the U.S. are her main interest.

Sae-Lim has co-written two articles with Associate Professor Rong Tang. “Data science programs in U.S. higher education: An exploratory content analysis of program description, curriculum structure, and course focus,” was published in Education for Information in 2016. “Data Science Programs in U.S. Higher Education: An Interview with the Authors,” published in Journal of eScience Librarianship in 2017.


Anna SarnesoAnna Sarneso

Anna Sarneso is a PhD student in the School of Library and Information Science at Simmons University. Anna earned her MLIS from Simmons in 2013, an MA in English Literature from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada in 2010, and a BA from Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA in 2008. Anna’s research interests include Open Educational Resources and information literacy. She is the Library Director at Lasell College in Newton, MA.


Matthew SullivanMatthew Sullivan

Like many library professionals before him, Matthew Sullivan moved into the library during grad school and never left. Beginning his academic career narrowly in biblical studies (B.A., Gardner-Webb University), he expanded his interests geographically and linguistically over the course of two graduate programs, first at Oxford University (M.St.) and then at Harvard Divinity School (M.T.S), where he began working in libraries. After graduating, Sullivan continued to work or volunteer in libraries or historical societies, while working as a copy-editor for academic presses. But mainly he haunted coffee shops and used bookstores, learning languages and discovering the world of ideas outside religion in the ancient Mediterranean. In 2010, he enrolled in the M.S. program at Simmons, where he pursued a general course of study. His current research is gravitating toward mis- and disinformation, particularly in the context of U.S. politics, and the role that information plays (or is thought to play) in political decision-making and democratic participation. Since 2013, Sullivan has worked at Harvard, where he is currently the Librarian for Collection Development and Planning, Widener Library.


Dawn Thistle


Anastasia WeigleAnastasia Weigle

Anastasia Weigle '98LS received her BA in Natural Science Illustration with a minor in Museum Studies from SUNY Empire State College in Rochester, New York and her MSLIS in Archives Management from Simmons University. She has a diverse background in libraries, archives, and museums. She is part-time faculty at the University of Maine in Augusta and Director of the Caribou Public Library in Maine.


Kate Wing

Although Kate Wing splits her time among an academic library, a public library, and a small business, she is a public librarian to the core. Her research interests center around intellectual freedom and access for all ages, and the way universal values of librarianship translate to the reality of running public libraries. In her professional work, she is acutely invested in maintaining patron privacy, breaking down barriers to access for patrons, and figuring out how to say yes. Kate works for the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives at Bowdoin College, and also for Curtis Memorial Library. She earned a bachelor's degree from Bates College, a master's degree in elementary education from Smith College, and an MLIS from the University of South Carolina. Her research interests include Access and Intellectual Freedom.

Wing owns West Wind Lobster Tours, a lobster harvesting education tour company. She lives with her husband, daughter, and dog a little north of Portland, ME.