New San José Gateway PhD Program Alum Pursue Careers in Academia


Cheryl Stenstrőm and Mary Ann Harlan are among the first individuals to complete the San José Gateway PhD Program, an innovative doctoral program that spans two continents in a partnership between the San José State University School of Library and Information Science (SJSU SLIS) and Queensland University of Technology (QUT), one of Australia’s top research institutions.

Both new alum of the San José Gateway PhD Program are pursuing careers as library and information science (LIS) educators and already hold full-time lecturer positions at SJSU SLIS.

Stenstrőm’s research as a doctoral student focused on library funding decisions by public officials, a natural extension of her interest in solving library leadership challenges. She shared her latest research on library leadership during a presentation at the recent Library 2.012 Worldwide Virtual Conference. View the recording (Blackboard Collaborate).

Stenstrőm’s passion for exploring library leadership challenges grows out of her experience serving in leadership positions in several public libraries, most recently as the chief librarian and CEO of the South Shore Public Libraries in Nova Scotia, Canada. Stenstrőm currently teaches courses for students enrolled in the fully online Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program at SJSU SLIS, including courses on reference services, program evaluation, and advocacy.

SJSU SLIS celebrates new alumni of the San José Gateway PhD Program. Pictured L to R: Mary Ann Harlan, Diana Wakimoto, and Cheryl Stenström

Harlan has a more than a decade of experience serving as a teacher librarian, sparking her research interest in the information seeking practices of teens. Her doctoral research examined how teens create and share online content, including films, visual artwork, music, and websites. 

“After four years, I was really pleased to share my research findings and complete the doctoral program,” said Harlan. “Now I’m looking forward to the opportunity to use the knowledge I have gained in my teaching and in the field.”

Harlan teaches MLIS courses at SJSU SLIS on topics including library resources for tweens, school library media centers, and instructional strategies. She is also an alumna of the MLIS program at SJSU SLIS.

Stenstrőm and Harlan join Diana Wakimoto as the first three doctoral students to complete the San José Gateway PhD Program, which admitted its first students in 2008. The doctoral program uses a distance education model to serve students who work part time or full time while earning their degrees. They receive guidance and one-on-one mentoring from SJSU SLIS and QUT faculty.

For more information about the San José Gateway PhD Program students and their original research, please visit: