Our Graduate Assistants: Mallory Untch

This interview is part of a continued series introducing our graduate assistants to our online community. These are some of the people you will see when you visit our space, who will greet you with a smile and a willingness to help! Say hello to Mallory Untch!

Headshot of Mallory Untch

What is your background education and work experience?

I started my journey of higher education at my local community college because I truly had no idea what I wanted to study. I obtained my Associate Degree and then transferred to our very own University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I received my Bachelor’s Degree in History with a minor in Anthropology in May of 2017. During my time at Illinois, I worked as a Student Assistant in the University Archives and as a Student Admissions Representative, giving tours to prospective students and helping with New Student Orientation. Through this, I learned of my love for working in Higher Education.

After working in the University Archives, I had a Library and Information Science (LIS) degree in the back of my mind, however, upon graduation I took a job working in an Admissions Office for a small commercial arts school as their High School Representative. I worked there for a year but then decided to go back to school. I took a year “off” to work on applications for graduate school and I spent this time subbing at the High School level. Now, a year later, I am here at the University of Illinois (again!) for my MLIS degree.

What led you to your field?

I had first heard of getting a library science degree during my time at my community college after a required class trip to the library to learn about student resources. It sparked my interest but at the time I did not think much of it. During my time studying at Illinois, the iSchool was always coming into conversations in my department so I was quite aware of the field. By my senior year I worked in the University Archives and this job really helped me understand what I could do with my degree while still working in Higher Education. I loved the work that I was doing and spending time in the library.

What are your research interests?

I have a wide array of interests depending on the specific aspect of Information Sciences we focus on. Over my time in this program however, I have a growing interest in user information seeking behavior, especially in environments other than a traditional library. I am quite interested in the Museum sector of information science and I am working towards pursuing a Museum Studies Graduate Minor, as well. I think it is interesting to examine the ways in which people seek information in cultural heritage centers and its similarities to libraries.

What are your favorite projects you’ve worked on?

My favorite project that I have worked on is our podcast, “It Takes a Campus.” I am working to transcribe interviews and release episodes that have been previously recorded. I was able to assist in the naming and branding of this podcast so it has a special place in my heart. I love being able to listen to the interviews and hear the amazing things people across campus are contributing to the their various fields and digital scholarship, overall. Next year, I will begin working on recording new episodes and I am very excited to be able to have my own conversations with specialists about the work the meaningful work they do.

What are some of your favorite underutilized Scholarly Commons resources that you would recommend?

Our book collection! The Scholarly Commons is home to a wide collection of books from data visualization, digital humanities, geographical information systems, and data analytics. Our collection may seem small but it is mighty! It is ever-growing and it holds more than just ‘How-to Manuals.’ We have books for inspiration or technical advancement. I think it goes underutilized because it is a non-circulating collection but that makes it all the more special.

When you graduate, what would your ideal job position look like?

This is a tough question! This field is constantly changing so naming the X, Y, and Zs pf a specific position does not seem possible to me! As I mentioned, I have a passion for working in Higher Education but I am also interested in working with the public in many ways, as well. Right now, my mind is set on a community college environment. With my own background, coming from a community college, I think there is a really interesting user base in this setting that appeals to me. However, I also mentioned that I am interested in the Museum field, too, so I will see where my studies and life takes me!

What is the one thing you would want people to know about your field?

It’s more than just libraries and books. I think that many people outside the field do not understand the information or technical side of this field. I am always telling people the wide variety of things we do and it always amazes them. I love this field because it is so versatile and I think that is one of the things that makes it so powerful.

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