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STEM Librarians South 2021: Program Abstracts

A resource guide to the STEM Librarians South Conference for 2021, held virtually, hosted by Texas State University Libraries.

Keynote Presentations

Kate Melhuish is an Assistant Professor in the Mathematics Department at Texas State University. They earned her Ph.D. in mathematics education at Portland State University in 2015. Their research focuses on the promotion of student-centered class and developing rich understanding of student reasoning in advanced mathematics.

In this talk, I briefly sharing two studies situated in the advanced mathematics course of abstract algebra. They provide insight into two divergent methodologies in mathematics education research. The first study focuses on analyzing student understanding with respect to "sameness" in mathematics. The second study is a large-scale intervention study exploring the impact of an active learning curriculum in abstract algebra. I'll share some of the unexpected results and conclude with how this work is shaping my future research.


Dr. Alice Olmstead is an Assistant Professor of Physics and the Co-Director of the Physics Learning Assistant Program at Texas State University. She received her Ph.D. in Astronomy at the University of Maryland in 2016, focusing on education research and faculty development. She joined the Texas State faculty in 2018.

Dr. Olmstead's primary research expertise is on strategies to support sustained improvements to undergraduate STEM instruction, with a focus on how STEM faculty interact with and learn from instructional change initiatives. She is currently co-PI and programmatic co-lead on a 5-year, $2.5 million NSF IUSE-HSI award to support instructional improvements in undergraduate STEM through faculty-student collaboration and community-building at Texas State, and is PI on a national study to investigate how instructional change teams can collaborate effectively to improve undergraduate STEM courses. She and her collaborators have conducted a variety of qualitative research studies to investigate how faculty engage in such efforts and what facilitators can do to leverage faculty's strengths and promote equity-oriented discussions. In addition, she has been conducting smaller-scale research to better understand how to leverage students' aspirations to contribute positively to society through STEM careers and to support them in reasoning about ethics, STEM, and society.


Dr. Bahram Asiabanpour is a professor and manufacturing engineering program coordinator at the Ingram School of Engineering, Texas State University. He is a Certified Manufacturing Engineer (CMfgE). He has been PI or CoPI of more than 50 external and internal grants. Dr. Asiabanpour is the editor in chief of the International Journal of Rapid Manufacturing (IJRapidM).

Active Learning in Online Zoom Rooms

During the spring of 2021, I was able to adapt an in-class activity to an online format using an active learning classroom technique for an honors engineering course learning about library research. This class activity is based on the jigsaw activity, a team-based and hands-on approach to learning the library's subject databases. Students were also given space for reflection.


Erin Burns is the personal librarian to the Whitacre College of Engineering at Texas Tech University. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200), and you can find her walking or hiking when she is not knitting or standing in tree pose.

Assessing the Effectiveness of Marketing Strategies of Web of Science Tools in the Library

Measuring the usage of tools to justify their cost is vital in academic libraries. This study measures our effectiveness, or lack thereof, of promoting vital library tools during the Fall 2019 semester and offers librarians opportunities to improve upon our efforts. We wanted to assess the impact of our marketing efforts to increase awareness and usage of Web of Science tools on campus, particularly in STEM related programs. We will explore the steps taken, including obtaining IRB approval and working with the Office of Institutional Research, and challenges faced in measuring the effectiveness of our marketing strategies. Methods include user surveys and data analytics to attempt to determine successful marketing. The experience at Governors State University is presented as a case study to examine the challenges of measuring the impact of marketing on usage of a library tool.


Elizabeth Sterner is the Health and Human Services Librarian at Governors State University. Before her arrival at GSU, she held similar positions at Lewis University and the University of Louisville. She earned master's degrees in Biological Sciences, Northern Illinois University, and Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Cari Didion, M.L.I.S, M.Ed., is an Assistant Professor and Science Librarian at Governors State University. As a 2019 ALA class of Emerging Leaders graduate, Cari works to find innovative means to foster DEI in the classroom. Research interests include bibliometric analysis, OER and digital literacy in the health sciences.

Beyond h-index and impact factor: Librarian support for faculty tenure and promotion

Applying for tenure and promotion is an important milestone for faculty members. No matter how strong of a case an individual researcher may have, it can also be a laborious and stressful process. Compiling a dossier takes time, and faculty often contact librarians at the last minute for assistance finding basic research metric data. Not only is this information important for faculty members, it can also help administrators less familiar with their fields of research present their work at the college or university level. In STEM fields, the most sought-after data typically relates to problematic, but easily obtained measures such as h-index and journal impact factor. Without proper context, even accomplished researchers may appear to have weak publication records and low impact in their fields. A librarian with a basic understanding of research metrics and a desire to find alternative ways of viewing data can help place a researcher’s work in context, not just a set of numbers. Over the last two years, I have been proactive in reaching out to faculty to offer support for demonstrating true research impact. This service has been positively received, often building the confidence of faculty members going up for review. In the process, it has also strengthened my relationships with faculty and provided insights into the information needs of researchers in my departments. In my presentation, I will describe my strategies for faculty outreach and share examples of tenure the metrics packets I compile for individual researchers.


Patricia Hartman is the Biological Sciences, Forestry & Wildlife, and Mathematics Librarian at Auburn University Libraries.

Bibliometric Study of the Patents Granted to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville

Analyzing the references that are cited in the patents that were granted to an institution to identify their characteristics will give subject librarians an idea of the material that are being used by their inventors in the various disciplines. It can also identify how well the libraries’ resources are catering to the needs of these users and by extension are supporting the needs of innovation at their institutions. During this presentation, I will identify the types of publications that the granted patents from the University of Arkansas cite for a ten-year period (2009-2019); the age of resources that are referenced; the journals that were cited over this period; (h) the characteristics of the journals they cite (i.e., Journal Citation Report categories and ranking of cited journals) and the linkage between dissertations/theses and the patents granted. It will also identify whether the citation patterns in these patents follow similar patterns in other types of publications. It will also identify the extent that these are resources are readily available


Luti Salisbury is the Director of the Chemistry Library at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.

Everyone's Using It So We Should Improve It: Adding High Quality Information to Wikipedia with Edit-a-thons

Wikipedia is one of the world’s most widely used sites for consumer health information. #CiteNLM edit-a-thons were created by the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) to show librarians and library students how to evaluate Wikipedia articles and edit them to add National Library of Medicine (NLM) resources. A participant guide has also been created for librarians who want to host an edit-a-thon at their library.


Jen Ortiz (she/her) is the Consumer Health Coordinator for the Network of the National Library of Medicine (NNLM) - Region 3 at the UNT Health Science Center. A former public librarian in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, she now works with libraries and community organizations to improve health literacy and access.

Exploring Open Educational Resources Attitudes in Mathematics

In Spring 2021, Ashley Morrison, Open Education Librarian, and Lydia Fletcher, librarian liaison to the Department of Mathematics, embarked on a qualitative analysis of the awareness and response of faculty in the Mathematics department at UT Austin to open educational resources (OER). The University of Texas Libraries are invested in the awareness and adoption of OER to reduce students’ costs in accessing higher education and to enable innovative pedagogies that OER permits, such as the free sharing, localization, and other customization of open course materials to their particular course needs. Through a series of individual interviews with Mathematics faculty and instructors (averaging about 45 minutes), we have sought a deeper understanding of these benefits, challenges, and needs to illuminate the possibilities for expanding the reach of OER at UT Austin and beyond.


Ashley Morrison is the Tocker Open Education Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin. In this role, she is responsible for working with partners to advance the awareness and adoption of OER on her campus and beyond. Her professional interests include student success, affordability, and the role of OER in advancing equity and inclusion in higher education.

Lydia Fletcher (she/her) is the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin, providing research support for several STEM departments. She is passionate about all aspects of the Open Movement, particularly supporting campus adoption of Open Education Resources and Open Practices.

Let Your Curiosity Lead You to Effective Outreach

Traditional library outreach usually focuses on getting folks to come to the library to hear what we think they need to know. Although some events using this approach can be successful, others are minimally attended - if anyone shows up at all. Prompted by some lunchtime conversations, our science librarians decided to let our curiosity about some of the specialized labs and other interesting places on campus lead us to scheduling unstructured field trips. Our visits focused on learning about our hosts, what they do, and ways we might support their efforts.


Ellen Lutz is the Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. I work with the College of Nursing and all departments in the School of Public Health and Health Sciences. I enjoy interacting with students and faculty through instruction sessions, consultations, and various other types of outreach.

Research Sprints as a New Model for Library Collaboration

As interdisciplinary collaborations grow in popularity within the university research landscape, libraries need to rethink their current consultation modalities to better serve the needs of these diverse STEM and STEAM teams. The University of Miami Libraries recently launched a new “Research Sprint” consultation model that allows research teams to partner with a group of library experts to foster engaging collaborations that advance interdisciplinary research around a specific project objective or deliverable. This lightning talk gives an overview of the planning, implementation, and assessment of our inaugural Research Sprint. Lessons learned and future directions will also be presented. Participants will hopefully come away from this talk feeling inspired to explore similar consultation models at their own institutions. Audience feedback, suggestions, and questions are welcome.


James Sobczak is the STEM librarian at the University of Miami. Since joining the UM Libraries in the fall of 2018, his interests have focused on advancing information and critical literacy skills within the design and science disciplines to create a more holistic pedagogy, i.e. transforming STEM into STEAM.

Research Training for Undergraduate STEM Researchers, at Their Convenience

STEM librarians who work with undergraduate research often find themselves providing ad-hoc support: a workshop here, a lecture there. Because of time and resource constraints, it’s difficult to reach every student involved in research. To solve this problem NC State University Libraries created online, self-paced research skills learning modules. After launching in Spring 2021 the modules have been adopted and used in many departments across campus. Topics in this presentation include how campus stakeholders were involved, the process of designing and implementing the modules, the feedback that was received, and future plans for the program.


Kristy Borda is a Research Librarian for Sciences, Engineering, and Biotechnology at NC State University Libraries. With a background in the life and social sciences, she enjoys supporting interdisciplinary STEM researchers and students. She’s particularly passionate about information literacy instruction, student success, and building collaborations across campus.

Michelle Leonard is a Research Librarian for Engineering at NC State University with a MS in Materials Engineering and over a decade of experience in process development, management, and educating engineers. Her interests include engineering research, asynchronous learning tools, supporting marginalized STEM students, and innovating how libraries support engineers.

Revisiting Women in STEM Week at UTSA: Three Years of Successes, Shortcomings, and Strategies

In March of 2018, as part of its Women’s History Month Pop-Up series, UTSA Libraries hosted an event to celebrate women in STEM. The goal of the event was to encourage and support gender diversity in science and engineering on our campus. Over the following three years, the event has been altered, updated, and repeated, including going virtual for 2021. This talk will discuss successes and failures in planning, recruitment, marketing, and execution as well as tips for other libraries interested in Women in STEM programming. 


Matt Hayward has been a STEM librarian at the University of Texas at San Antonio since 2017 and has been involved with the UTSA Libraries Women in STEM programming since the inaugural event in 2018.

Ammi Bui is a subject librarian and student engagement coordinator at the John Peace Library at the University of Texas, San Antonio.

See a Need, Fill a Need: Developing Systematic Review Services at an Academic (non-medical) Library

What do you do when researchers ask for systematic review help and no librarian has ever conducted one? Run away? Smile and nod? Tell the truth: we don’t have much experience, but we’ll help the best we can. Because of the need for systematic review services, the STEM librarians began training in evidence-based research inviting other liaison librarians to join us in Fall 2020. The core group included 2 STEM, 2 social science, and 1 humanities librarian. We will share how we learned about systematic reviews and our deliverables: a research guide, a service model, and Canvas course. After introducing the new systematic review services, we received requests for classes, consultations, training, help with project management and design, and access to systematic review software. Working together as a group made the project less intimidating. The service has been well received both by fellow librarians as well as faculty and researchers.


Christina Chan-Park is the STEM Librarian Coordinator at Baylor University where she is the research librarian for sciences and data. She is a workshop leader for the ACRL roadshow Building Your Research Data Management Toolkit. Her current research interests are in scholarly communications, specifically data management, academic identity, and bibliometrics.

Amy James is the Director of Instruction and Information Literacy at Baylor University. She leads the library's instructional strategies and serves as the librarian for the School of Education. Her current research interests include active learning in the information literacy classroom, metaliteracy and the academic library, and backward design methodology.

Ken Carriveau joined Baylor in 1997 and after numerous years in administrative leadership roles has returned to the liaison program as research librarian for engineering, computer science, and the health sciences. Research interests include scholarly communications, open education, and intellectual property.

Starting a Drone Lending Program at Your Academic Library

Over the 2020-2021 academic year, The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries created a quadcopter drone training and lending program for UTA users. We researched UTA, local, and federal drone rules and regulations, and drafted our own training and lending policies fully in compliance with applicable rules and regulations for recreational (non-commercial) flying. We purchased several inexpensive beginner drones for our lendable technology collection and cataloged them. Users who pass the basic flight safety training and Federal Aviation Administration’s Rules for Recreational Flyers training are then granted borrowing privileges in our system. This presentation will walk attendees through the entire process for creating a quadcopter drone training and lending program at your academic library.


Martin Wallace is an Experiential Learning Librarian and liaison to Engineering, Math and Physics at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Ryan Schulze is a former student assistant (recently graduated) who served as Drone Club & Drone Training coordinator for the 2020-2021 academic year. He earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering at UTA.

STEMfair South: A Proposition for Future STEM Librarians South Conferences

This presentation details a scheme to add a research fair to future STEM Librarians South conferences. The fair would formalize a process for collaboration-seeking registrants to submit research proposals. All attendees would be eligible to review the proposals during the course of the conference and vote for one proposal that would become an official STEM Librarians South research project, and that attendees could sign up to collaborate on over the course of the next year. The proposed research fair scheme includes a submissions process, voting process, and proposal evaluation rubric.


Roxanne Bogucka is a Health Sciences Librarian, supporting Nursing, Nutritional Sciences, Public Health, Pharmacy, Science Communication, and Biomedical Engineering.

Systematic Review Services Moving Beyond Health Sciences: Librarians’ Response at UT Austin

The UT Libraries and the Dell Medical School Library have formalized a systematic reviews service over the course of the last year. This service primarily supports STEMM fields and the social sciences. The formation of our multidisciplinary service comes at a time when an increasing number of research fields are adopting and adapting the systematic review methodology. Take a brief glimpse into our process for forming a team of liaison librarians ready and willing to assist with the increasing number of systematic review requests. Learn about the goals, processes, and accomplishments of our team and take home some practical ideas about starting this type of support at your library.


Hannah Chapman Tripp is the Biosciences Liaison Librarian at the University of Texas at Austin. Her responsibilities include research support, collection development, and instruction for the biosciences. Hannah also works to support research data services and open access initiatives on campus.

As a health sciences librarian, Imelda L. Vetter provides instruction and support to medical students and residents; consultation services to relevant communities for search strategizing, systematic/scoping reviews, and reference management tools; evaluation and selection of library resources; and creation of library guides to aid in the discovery and use of informational resources.