Alumna Earns ASIS&T Best Dissertation Award

Dr. Sarah Buchanan, a 2016 doctoral graduate of the Texas iSchool, was recently awarded the ASIS&T ProQuest 2017 Best Dissertation Award for her contribution to information science research.

Now an assistant professor with the University of Missouri’s Library and Information Science program, Dr. Buchanan wrote her dissertation on “A provenance research study of archaeological curation,” which investigates how data accompanies objects as we excavate, catalog, conserve and eventually exhibit them in a museum.

“People visit museums to connect with others and experience a past, through objects and stories about objects,” she said. “Who writes those stories, and what are their sources?”

Dr. Buchanan said her interests in archaeology began both in the archives and on a dig, and she wanted to discover more about how information is created and presented to the public. “I found that multiple parties have something to contribute, especially archivists in communicating the story,” she said.

In addition to Dr. Buchanan, all of the Texas iSchool’s recent doctoral graduates are experiencing success in a range of academic and business settings, Associate Professor James Howison said. Of the eight students who completed the School of Information’s PhD program in the past two years, all have found employment as educators or researchers in the public and private sectors. 

Three recent graduates are tenure-track assistant professors: Drs. Julia Bullard, University of British Columbia; Daniel Carter, Texas State University; and Dr. Buchanan.

Dr. Brandon Wiley is the president of Operator Foundation, a nonprofit organization that focuses on security, privacy and open access to information, while Dr. Eryn Whitworth is a user-experience researcher for Oculus Rift.

Dr. Dan Sholler is a postdoc fellow with the University of California, Berkley rOpenSci Project, and Dr. Jeanine Finn is a Council on Library and Information Resources Data Services Postdoctoral Fellow supporting student and faculty research at Claremont Colleges. Dr. Eunyoung Moon is a visiting assistant professor.

“As a faculty we’re very proud of our doctoral students; we think they are going on to great things,” said Dr. Howison, the iSchool’s deputy graduate advisor. “Students put in years of time, showing truly impressive commitment and energy. At times, no doubt, the endpoint of obtaining a PhD and moving on to contribute to a career in research seems a long way away, but the success of our doctoral graduates show the value of their hard work and the iSchool doctoral community. As faculty, we applaud them and look forward to them coming back to visit the school to share their research in the future.”