Published: May 14, 2020

This week, the University Libraries are bidding adieu to the hard-working, talented and innovative Class of 2020 graduates who have served as libraries employees, interns and volunteers, and who have made significant and memorable contributions to our library and university community. We are thrilled to congratulate you all on your graduation and we wish you the very best as you embark on the next chapter of your lives.

Celebrating 2020 Graduates Message with Flatirons in background

Image: "Celebrating Our 2020 Graduates" is a derivative of "lPO0VzF_4s8" by Jeff Burak on Unsplash

Drew Gaines and Conor O’Hara—both graduating with bachelor of arts degrees in history—interned for the Special Collections unit. While Gaines assisted with SCAP’s Documenting Community, 2020 project, digitally archiving the university’s response to COVID-19 and its impact on her final semester, O’Hara created a photobook based on his time-series photography of the 2011 nuclear disaster in Japan’s Fukushima Prefecture. 

Deborah Hollis, head of Special Collections and Sean Babbs, instruction and reference specialist, say they are impressed with the students’ achievements during their time with the Libraries. 

“Both Gaines and O’Hara are students who explore diverse opportunities to complement their academic studies, with each wringing as much as possible out of their time at CU Boulder,” Hollis said. “Sean and I are impressed with their curiosity, energy and enthusiasm. Personally, working with young people like Drew and Conor makes me hopeful for our future.”

Hattie Houser, graduating with a BFA in Dance and a BA in Geography, worked with both Special Collections and the Preservation unit during her time at CU Boulder. Houser supervised the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room, sewed pamphlets, applied protective “Colibri” cloth covers to books and more. 

“Hattie is very skilled in performing hands-on repairs, and was able to learn our procedures very quickly and turn out a high volume of quality work,” Kay Moller, a library technician, said of Houser. 

Jade Zimmerman also worked with both the Preservation and Archives units during her undergraduate years. Zimmerman is graduating with degrees in anthropology and classics. During her time as a student employee, Zimmerman provided access to collections of unique primary source materials and performed very detail-oriented data entry work, migrating collection inventories into the Archives’ database. She also worked on the conservation treatment of CU Boulder’s circulating and non-circulating library collections and helped teach bookbinding classes for both graduate and undergraduate classes.

“I've enjoyed working with so many friendly and kind people who enjoy hands-on learning as much as I do,” Zimmerman said of working with the Libraries. “From holding a Tony award to mending tears in World War II maps, I've been able to learn about history by handling the same materials that made history!”

The Libraries Services Media Lab is saying goodbye to Jennilee Steinmann, who is graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in anthropology and film production, as well as a minor in leadership studies.

During her time as a student assistant for the Libraries Services Media Lab—a hub for collaborative audiovisual production and digitization projects supporting academic research and university teaching—Steinmann was instrumental in preserving an archival film collection of high research value, contributing creative animation effects to published videos and bolstering the Libraries' efforts to publish videos in alignment with the university’s Accessibility Initiative.

"One of the best experiences I had during my time with Media Services was digitizing the Ira Current film collection,” Steinmann recalled. “To watch Current’s films is to peer into time immemorial and into the ever-changing landscapes that I’ve grown so fond of in the past three years living in Colorado. I felt like digitally preserving these images was my own gift to future Colorado residents." 

Thara Siriwardana and Alyssa Cordova with Security Operations Management will miss the graduating student employees who have supported Libraries security. 

“We have immensely enjoyed working with each and every one of these students,” Cordova said. “They have all worked hard and have created a fun environment for those they have mentored and helped along the way in the Security unit.”

Lacey Porter has worked with Libraries Security and Building Management since her first year at CU Boulder. This week, she will be graduating with her bachelor’s degree in English Literature through the elementary licensure program. She considers Norlin Library a second home.

“Norlin Library has become a huge part of my life,” Porter said. “I’ve made friendships and connections that I know will carry far beyond college. The memories and skills my jobs have given me are priceless.”

Graduating senior Fi Kamensis echoes Porter’s sentiments on building community through working in Libraries Security. 

“It’s been a great experience working with and meeting so many great people during my time here,” Kamensis said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity to be a working student and I’ll miss everyone.”

A number of graduates shared advice for their fellow Buffs: 

“Do not procrastinate! Those papers and exams come a lot sooner than one expects and it’s important to stay on top of your school work.”

— Cassie Marquez

“Get involved in/try as many things as possible on campus; you never know the friends you could meet.”

— Christian Reisbeck

“Advocate for yourself and make an effort to get to know your professors. More often than not, they want to help you and work with you to succeed.”

— Jake Elick

“Even when you’re feeling discouraged and down, you have to continue to build yourself up and keep on moving forward.”

— Rosebud Holbrook

“You can absolutely take that class or go study abroad! It’s an experience you may not get again, so my advice: just go for it. You won’t regret it.”

— Mishaal Jan

“The best advice I could give is to open up! Maybe it’s awkward, scary, or different, but this is your only time here. Make it count!”

— Mel Medrano Leyva

To all of the graduating seniors who have chosen to spend their time learning and growing with us over the years, we thank you for your service. We cannot wait to hear about your future endeavors. Happy graduation, Class of 2020! The University Libraries wish you all the best.