Paul Evan Peters Fellowship Recipients, 2018-20
Bergis Jules & Laima Augustaitis
Doctoral student Bergis Jules and master’s student Laima Augustaitis are the 2018 recipients of the Paul Evan Peters Fellowship for graduate study in library and information sciences. The fellowship was established to honor the memory of CNI founding executive director Paul Evan Peters; it recognizes outstanding scholarship and intellectual rigor, a commitment to civic responsibility and democratic values, and imagination.
Bergis Jules is University Archivist at the University of California (UC), Riverside, where he is currently enrolled in the Public History PhD program. He holds masters degrees from Indiana University in library and information science and in African American and African Diaspora Studies, and a BA from Earlham College. Jules is already well established in the archives community for his notable contributions to web archiving, which is also the focus of his doctoral research. Specifically, he is interested in documentation practices around marginalized communities participating on the web and he is exploring new methods and tools that will inform how non-academic spaces, such as community-based archives, participate in collection building from the web. Much of this research will be inspired by his work in the Documenting the Now Project, which focuses on ethical practices and tools for social media archiving. “The relevance of Bergis’ work cannot be underestimated, especially at a time when the information that is shared on the web is routinely being abused and falsified. His productivity is frankly exceptional, and his drive and commitment to his research are exemplary,” wrote UC Riverside associate professor of history Juliette Levy in a letter of recommendation submitted on Jules’s behalf.
This year’s recipient of the master’s level fellowship, Laima Augustaitis, is a student in the Master of Science in Information program at the University of Michigan (UM), where she previously earned a BS in Movement Science. She became interested in using data-driven methods to address social inequalities while working with patients during clinical hours as part of her undergraduate degree requirements. “My career goals include bringing analytical skills into organizations and projects that often do not have access to these tools,” wrote Augustaitis in her application essay, “and advocating for the use of information to uplift people’s experiences rather than place negative stereotypes on populations.” In a letter of recommendation, UM professor Gary W. Harper wrote, “I have come to know [Augustaitis] as an extremely passionate, competent, and inquisitive scholar who is dedicated to using technology to address social issues,” stating, furthermore, that the support offered by the fellowship “will spark her continued development as a scholar and advocate who utilizes the power of information technology to create lasting positive social change for communities.” Currently, Augustaitis works with a team examining health disparities, and she analyzes data for researchers investigating LGBTQ people in Kenya. She also serves as an affordable housing advocate for students.
“We have enjoyed very strong applicant pools for this award, but this year was particularly good and the decision was tough. I think these impressive recipients would have really resonated with Paul Evan Peters and they are a tribute to his legacy, ” stated CNI executive director Clifford Lynch. “The work that Bergis has helped launch with the Documenting the Now Project has already had a genuine impact on archival practice, and Laima’s commitment to marginalized communities is very powerful. Both candidates hold great promise for the future of information studies, and CNI is proud to support their ongoing research and professional aspirations.”
Selection committee members included: Elaine Westbrooks, university librarian & vice provost for University Libraries at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (representing ARL); Patsy Moskal, associate director for the Research Initiative for Teaching Effectiveness at the University of Central Florida (representing EDUCAUSE); Scott Muir, associate provost for Library Information Services at Rowan University (representing CNI); and Joan Lippincott, associate executive director of CNI.
About the Fellowship
The Paul Evan Peters Fellowship was established to honor and perpetuate the memory of the founding executive director of the Coalition for Networked Information. Funded by donations from Peters’s colleagues, friends, and family, in 2018, the fellowship provides two two-year awards: one to a doctoral student in the amount of $5,000 per year, and one to a master’s student in the amount of $2,500 per year. Fellowships are given to students who demonstrate intellectual and personal qualities consistent with those of Peters, including:
• Commitment to the use of digital information and advanced technology to enhance scholarship, intellectual productivity, and public life
• Interest in the civic responsibilities of networked information professionals, and a commitment to democratic values and government accountability
• Positive and creative approach to overcoming personal, technological, and bureaucratic challenges
• Humor, vision, humanity, and imagination.