Meet the Staff: Fall 2015 Edition – Karo!

Goooooooood morning, everybody! Your first week’s almost done! Hopefully you’re carving out some time to decompress in the next couple days.

Next up for our new GA interviews is Karo Engstrom!

What brought you to GSLIS:

Karo is an English major, having completed her undergraduate degree in her native home of Finland. There, her degree also included lessons in translation and linguistics. She moved to the U.S. in order to study English in graduate school, as well. She focused primarily on late nineteenth and early twentieth century literature, specifically novels by African American writers, female writers, and immigrant writers. While she didn’t end up staying in the English program here in Champaign-Urbana, she is thankful for some of the composition and literature teaching experience she gained through the program.

“Unlike many of my friends from the English department who ‘jumped over’ to GSLIS, I don’t want to work in a library,” Karo says. She’s more interested in federal government work and data. This year, she’s taken classes in programming, databases, and web design.

However, of the classes she’s taken so far, she says there’s no contest when it comes to her favorite: Dave Dubin’s Library Gaming Programs course. “I kind of stumbled upon it when another class was cancelled, and I would recommend it for every GSLIS student, regardless of focus.” The class involves, of course, a lot of fun game playing, but also the opportunity to study theory of gaming, as well as the flexibility to incorporate your own interests into your work.

(For those who don’t know, Dubin also hosts a weekly game night up on the third floor. This semester, the group meets Tuesdays at 6:30 PM.)

When asked what the most interesting or fun thing about working at GSLIS Help Desk has been so far, Karo says, “the people and the atmosphere. I love that you have to think and move around, and there’s never a dull moment. I’ve already gotten to meet more people in a little over a week than I did my first semester in the program!”


Tell me something interesting about yourself. 

Karo enjoys traveling and movies at the Art Theater Co-Op, and will seize any opportunity to tell you about local bar trivia events. When time permits, she enjoys visiting the Homer Lake Forest Preserve, or simply staying in to watch TV, knit, or bake cupcakes and “lesser-known Finnish desserts,” as she called them.

Karo is fluent in English and Finnish, but also dabbles in Swedish, Spanish, German, French and Estonian. She also has double-jointed thumbs, and has a degree of separation from Prince Phillip of Great Britain, by way of the birdhouse that her father once gave to him.


Three song titles that describe Karo’s life.

“This Hard Land,” Bruce Springsteen

“Don’t Stop Me Now,” Queen

“Save the Hammer for the Man,” Tom Morello & Ben Harper
Three things Karo can’t live without.

  1. Pen and paper or a notebook
  2. Her laptop
  3. Books, or any means by which to read other people’s thoughts and ideas.


Be sure to come by the Help Desk and visit Karo!

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