Two iSchool Alumni Honored with Awards for Stellar Professional Achievements


The Special Libraries Association recently recognized 11 members with awards, two of whom earned their Master of Library and Information Science degree from the School of Information at San José State University. The SLA is a nonprofit global organization for innovative information professionals and their strategic partners in business, government, academic, and other “specialized” settings. The professional achievements of iSchool alumni JonLuc Christensen and Anne Barker were recognized through nominations by their fellow members for the coveted SLA awards.

James M. Matarazzo Rising Star Award

Jon Luc Christensen

Christensen was one of four recipients of the James M. Matarazzo Rising Star award, presented annually to recognize outstanding new SLA members who show exceptional promise of leadership and contribution to the association and profession. Christensen, who graduated in 2019, was “extremely humbled and honored” to have been selected for the award.

“It is especially significant to me because I know that nominations for the award are made by my local peers, but are then affirmed and recognized by the international association,” he said. “Learning that I was awarded this honor fills me with gratitude for my peers and their support, but also the confidence of the association level members who ultimately made the final decision.” 

Christensen completed his BA in History at Cal State Fullerton before he decided to supplement his undergraduate degree, and enhance his career options, by obtaining an MLIS degree. An internship with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory that he undertook as part of his master’s degree studies led to his current full-time position as records management specialist, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) liaison, and information/configuration management engineer (I/CME) at JPL on behalf of NASA and the California Institute of Technology.

“I began with the basics of managing JPL’s records and materials, but my role has evolved into managing and participating in several projects, including those related to digital assets management, enterprise content management, website management/design, policy development, and archival administration,” Christensen reflected. “In addition, I have become the lead FOIA liaison for the lab and an information management engineer for the Cold Atom Laboratory (a science instrument project onboard the International Space Station).”

While focused on advancing his multi-faceted career at JPL, Christensen said he intends to continue increasing his contributions to the information science profession “primarily through SLA and hopefully publishing articles.” He also aspires to teach and is considering part-time lecturing opportunities at a number of schools. Outside of work, Christensen is actively engaged with SLA as the vice president for the Southern California community, coordinating and planning virtual events and participating in discussions around diversity issues, leadership/management, and SLA’s current restructuring.

“Beyond that, I actively continue my professional development through conference/event participation, keeping up-to-date on scholarly research, and I’m currently taking courses on various developer/coding languages and platforms,” he said.

Christensen’s involvement with SLA was among the many hallmarks of his time as a student at the iSchool. He served as president of SLA’s SJSU Student Chapter of Southern California, and president of the SJSU iSchool’s First Generation Student Group, which he also co-founded. He was awarded the Ken Haycock Award for Exceptional Professional Promise in 2019, and served as the graduating student speaker for the iSchool’s virtual graduation celebration

Fellow of SLA Award

Barker, who received her MLIS from SJSU in 2005, was one of three individuals honored with a Fellow of SLA award; she and her SLA colleagues Jeff Bond and John Cole will be able to use the distinguished title Fellow of the Special Libraries Association. Fellowship in SLA is bestowed on active, mid-career SLA members in recognition of past, present and future service to the association and the profession; fellows are expected to advise the association’s Board of Directors and keep its members apprised of actionable issues and trends.

Before she pivoted to a corporate role in her current position as an information specialist at Genentec, Barker spent several years working in law libraries, where she gained specialized experience researching and analyzing intellectual property, legal issues, and scientific literature for litigation. “I’m very honored to have been nominated and selected as an SLA Fellow this year,” she said. “Service to SLA—past, present, and future—has been integral to my development as an information professional, and as a professional in general, and has always been rewarding and fun.”

Learn more about the all of the SLA awards and see a list of current and past recipients on the SLA website.