Student Award 2016 RMIT

The 2016 VALA Student Award for a student at RMIT goes to Kate Monypenny.

Kate Monypenny

Kate will graduate from the Master of Information Management in December 2016, achieving high distinctions in all subjects. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne, majoring in English Literary Studies and Theatre Studies. As her previous experience in libraries was largely humanities-based, Kate found the technology-related courses at RMIT a fascinating insight into the realities and possibilities of IT in libraries. She particularly enjoyed learning about coding and cataloguing, finding the acquisition of the new languages challenging and stimulating. Kate was also the 2016 recipient of the Enterprise Knowledge award for excellence in the course ‘The Professional Experience’ after undertaking an industry placement at the British Library.

Kate completed her Information Management studies alongside working for multiple public libraries, currently holding the position of Information Services Librarian at Stonnington Library and Information Service. Passionate about the promotion of early literacy, Kate began her library career as a Children’s Library Officer – devising and delivering Storytimes, Babytimes and parent education sessions – and continues to maintain an interest in all kinds of youth programming. In her current role, aside from providing frontline customer assistance and contributing to collection maintenance, Kate develops and delivers technology education for adults and STEM programming for children and youth. As part of her studies she investigated the potential use and impact of digital storytelling technologies for teenager and community engagement, and is now keen to incorporate more technology-based programs into her work. Approaching the end of her degree, Kate looks forward to applying the resulting skills and knowledge to contribute to digital literacy development in the wider community.

Congratulations, Kate, and good luck!

Student Award 2016 Monash

The 2016 VALA Student Award for a student at Monash University goes to Steven Graham.

Steven Graham 200Steven was an outstanding student, having completed the Graduate Diploma in Information and Knowledge Management at Monash University’s Faculty of Information Technology, with High Distinctions in all units.  He was the recipient of the Dean’s Achievement Award (Postgraduate), in recognition of outstanding academic achievement in 2015, and the Knowledge Management Excellence Award, for achieving the highest result in the Faculty in a knowledge management unit in 2015.  

Steven’s other qualifications include a Bachelor of Arts (with first class honours in Politics) at La Trobe University and a Bachelor of Creative Arts at the University of Melbourne.  

Steven is currently working as a Casual Library Advisor (Specialist) at the Deakin University Library in Burwood, and also doing some part-time weekend work as a Customer Engagement Shift Leader at Yarra Libraries in Fitzroy.

Congratulations, Steven, and good luck!

Student Award 2015 RMIT

The 2015 VALA Student Award for a student at RMIT goes to Karen Seligman.

Karen SeligmanKaren graduated from the University of Melbourne with undergraduate qualifications in both science and law. She worked in management consulting and as an industrial chemist before deciding to undertake the Master of Information Management at RMIT University. Karen pursued a wide range of interests while studying for her masters degree and has been academically successful across the board. However, Karen believes that her training in science particularly enhanced her understanding of the technology subjects and she found topics such as coding, database and thesauri construction, and classification to be elegant and intellectually stimulating. Her extremely high marks in the related subjects have resulted in her nomination for this award. Karen has also been involved with singing for and organising Off the Shelf, a Melbourne-based librarian’s choir, and she is currently working as a freelance blogger for the Booko Blog, writing on book- and library-oriented themes, and as a volunteer in the library at Brunswick South West Primary School.


Congratulations, Karen, and good luck!

Student Award 2015 Monash

The 2015 VALA Student Award for a student at Monash University goes to Viviane Hessami.

Viviane HessamiViviane Hessami holds degrees in History and Asian Studies and a PhD in Political Science from Monash University. She achieved outstanding results in the Postgraduate Diploma in Information and Knowledge Management at Monash University, receiving the highest marks in all the Library and Archives subjects and being awarded a Dean’s Achievement Award for her overall performance. She is also the recipient of the Australian Society of Archivists Margaret Jennings Award for the top student in an Archive course in Australia and the Mander Jones Award for the best student paper for her research essay on the Recordkeeping Issues Arising from the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

Viviane thoroughly enjoyed completing her Library professional placement at VicHealth during which she remodelled the way physical library resources were presented and she assessed VicHealth’s staff information needs and information access preferences in order to inform the development of a new Information Management portal. She is currently working at Monash University as a Teaching Associate and a Research Assistant in the Centre for Community and Social Informatics, collaborating on projects to facilitate access to Archives and Records and in the area of Community Informatics. She is also developing the website of the Records Continuum Research Group.


Congratulations, Viviane, and good luck!

Student Award 2014 RMIT

The 2014 VALA Student Award for a student at RMIT University goes to Jessica Sullivan.

jessica sullivanJessica achieved the highest aggregate score in the three technology courses we use to assess the award – Document Management 1 and 2 and Information Organization. She achieved a high distinction for each of the three courses and was a clear winner.

Jessica has completed the Graduate Diploma of Information Management consistently achieving very high grades throughout her degree, with outstanding results in technology-oriented units. During her studies at RMIT, Jessica has explored a number of different issues relevant to libraries today, ranging from readers’ advisory to the creation of database indexing policies. Throughout the course, she studied both on campus and online, to better accommodate the demands of work, study and industry placement.

In 2013, Jessica completed a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Melbourne, with a major in history. She began working in a public library during her undergraduate degree, and grew to enjoy the job so much that she decided to pursue further study in the realm of librarianship and information management.

She is currently employed as a Library Officer with the Geelong Regional Library Corporation, and is looking forward to exploring the variety of challenges and roles within the industry.


Congratulations, Jessica, and good luck!

Student Award 2014 Monash

The 2014 VALA Student Award for a student at Monash University goes to Greg Rolan.

Ailie SmithFollowing a 30-year career in IT, Greg returned to Monash to study community informatics and qualified as a librarian. He then went on to complete his Master of Business information Systems (Honours) degree in the archives stream. During this time, Greg was a recipient of the Dean’s Achievement Award for postgraduate study, the Australian Society of Archivists Mander Jones award for the ‘best academic work on archives or recordkeeping produced by a student in any Australian university course’, and the Penny Fisher Memorial Prize for the ‘most outstanding masters thesis in archives and records’. Greg also participated in research regarding the Australian Government’s Digital Hub programme in a public library setting, and presented the resulting paper at VALA 2014.

Greg is now a doctoral candidate, investigating archival systems interoperability. His research comprises design-science investigations of systems interoperability; conceptual modelling in information informatics; metadata standards-setting; and organisational/social factors in information systems design and implementation. As well as studying, Greg works as a Teaching Associate and Research Assistant at Monash University in the Faculty of Information Technology in the Centre for Organisational and Community Informatics.


Congratulations, Greg, and good luck!

Student Award 2013 Monash

The 2013 VALA Student Award for a student at Monash University goes to Ailie Smith.

Ailie SmithAilie Smith achieved outstanding results in the Masters of Business Information Systems (MBIS) at Monash University, having undertaken the archives and records management specialisation. Studying as a part-time, distance student, she has been adept at juggling study and work commitments. Among her notable achievements she prepared a research report analysing the 2012 ICA (International Council on Archives) Congress, analysing sample papers from the various conference themes against the literature in order to draw out professional issues and concerns, and using visualisation techniques to see what the titles of papers could reveal if treated as a data set.

Ailie is currently a Research Archivist at the University of Melbourne eScholarship Research Centre. Her work ranges from describing archival collections to building and maintaining databases, implementing websites, and managing data storage and virtual machine servers. She previously worked at the Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, Bethlem Royal Hospital Archives and Museum, and the Corporate Records Unit, Imperial College London.


Congratulations, Ailie, and good luck!

Student Award 2013 RMIT

The 2013 VALA Student Award for a student at RMIT University goes to Penny Cook.

Penny CookPenny Cook has just completed the Master of Information Management program at RMIT. She has the highest marks of all graduating students in the three major subjects which comprise the technology side of the program, with an average of over 90% in Information Organisation and Document Management parts 1 and 2. She has previously completed degrees in arts and science, majoring in linguistics, and atmosphere and ocean science, and has also worked as a baker. Penny says it’s quite a dramatic shift moving from baking to libraries, but she feels like she’s found where she belongs! She still loves baking as well as doing puzzles and also describes herself as a fairly lazy birdwatcher.

Penny is currently working in two jobs, as a school archivist at Emmanuel College, Altona, and as a librarian at the Melbourne Athenaeum Library. At the Athenaeum, as well as the usual circulation desk duties, she has also carried out some cataloguing projects, run an Australian classics book club, and she co-manages the library’s Facebook and Twitter presence. She also has an interest in special libraries which was strengthened during her industry placement last year at the Victorian Parliamentary Library.


Congratulations, Penny, and good luck!

Student Award 2012 Monash

The 2012 VALA Student Award for a student at Monash University goes to Kirsten Thorpe.

Kirsten Thorpe has worked as a Professional Archivist for the past decade creating spaces of engagement for Aboriginal people to connect archival sources documenting their history. Kirsten recently completed a Masters of Information Management and Systems (Professional) at Monash University, which included a Minor Thesis on ‘Creating an Aboriginal Community Archive in NSW’. Kirsten first completed Post Graduate archival studies at Edith Cowan University in 1999, and was encouraged to complete the Masters course at Monash by Professor Sue McKemmish. Kirsten was a successful recipient of the Monash University Indigenous Archives Scholarship, an initiative linked to the Bringing Them Home report, which recommended that Indigenous Australian archivists be involved in archival projects that enable Indigenous people to be able to locate records relating to their families and communities. Kirsten studied part-time at Monash, while working full time, to increase her knowledge on archival science and theory and its implications for Indigenous Australian communities and archives. Kirsten thoroughly enjoyed working with the Monash IT faculty, in collaboration with staff at the Monash Indigenous Centre, to explore Indigenous perspectives in the information field.

Kirsten is the current Project Officer for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Data Archive (ATSIDA), based at the Library of the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). This role is responsible for working with researchers and communities to manage Indigenous research data deposited into the Australian Data Archive (ADA), of which ATSIDA is a thematic node. Previously Kirsten worked as the Senior Archivist – Aboriginal Liaison at State Records New South Wales. Kirsten’s work involved assisting Indigenous people to gain access to historical records held as NSW State archives. Kirsten was also a part of the exhibition team that created ‘In Living Memory, an exhibition of surviving photographs’ from the records of the NSW Aborigines Welfare Board, from 1919 to 1966. Kirsten also contributed to the research undertaken to validate claims submitted to the NSW Government under the NSW Aboriginal Trust Fund Repayment Scheme.

Kirsten is actively involved with ATSILIRN (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Library Information Resource Network) and the Indigenous Issues Special Interest Group of the Australian Society of Archivists. Kirsten’s professional and research interests relate to the return of archival sources of material to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Kirsten is also interested in the opportunities that the digital domain present for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to be actively involved in managing their cultural heritage resources. Kirsten is a descendant of the Worimi people of Port Stephens, NSW.

Congratulations, Kirsten, and good luck!

Student Award 2012 RMIT

The 2012 VALA Student Award for a student at RMIT University goes to Blair Gatehouse.

Blair has the highest marks in the three courses that make up the technical courses of the degree:

  • Document Management 1
  • Document Management 2
  • Information Organization

Blair spent the first ten years of his working life working with books – first as a bookseller, and later in a sales role in the publishing industry. In 2010, he decided he wanted a change of career, and enrolled in the Postgraduate Diploma of Information Management at RMIT University. Around the same time he began a role as a Library Officer with Moreland City Libraries. He describes this as a fantastic job that taught him a lot about the demands of working in a very busy library. During this time Blair also worked on a part time basis as a Web Maintainer for the University of Melbourne’s Cultural Collections, finding this to be another great role that gave him really practical web publishing skills.

Just prior to finishing his studies earlier this year, he was successful in gaining a full time job as Lending Services Coordinator at William Angliss Institute. Having been exposed to special collections and archives at the University of Melbourne and William Angliss Institute, Blair now has a keen interest to work in this area in his career. Ideally, he would love to work on a digitisation project – something that would combine his interests of special collections and information management technology.

Blair says that when he is not busy working as a librarian, he loves cooking, brewing his own beer and going out to see live music.

Congratulations, Blair, and good luck!