Criss Guy is a second-year master’s student in information science and a Carolina Academic Library Associate (CALA) for the University Libraries. In his CALA role, he supports research and instruction efforts for the Undergraduate Library and Wilson Special Collections Library. He also serves as a leadership liaison for the Community Workshop Series, an organization that works with local libraries to provide free digital literacy workshops to the public. He received his undergraduate degree in English from Amherst College and grew up in Scranton, PA.
What made you choose UNC-Chapel Hill when deciding on a program/place to study?
It was all about cost and funding opportunities. Taking a step back, my parents supported my decision to get my bachelor’s degree, but it was up to me to find a way to pay for it. I attended Amherst College because I applied for and received a QuestBridge National College Match scholarship. I worked full-time for a few years after graduating, but I wasn’t ready to take on a lot of graduate student debt by myself when I started looking at master’s programs. After I applied to UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science (SILS), I was selected as a CALA. When deciding where to enroll, the offer from the CALA program stood out because of the full financial support and comprehensive professional development.
Tell us about your research.
I work and study at the intersection of multiple pedagogies (critical, library, digital) and literacies (information, primary source, digital). I am particularly interested in areas of instructional design theory and practice that allow me to investigate how society uses technology to foster and restrict learning opportunities for underserved communities in both academic and workplace settings.
What does it mean to be a first-generation graduate student in your family?
It means so much. I saw undergrad as a way out. Grad school is a way up, meaning I get to play a more active role in shaping my future with the choices I make while in this program. It is also an opportunity to show my parents that the hard work and sacrifices they made when raising me will continue to shape how I develop as an academic, a professional, and a person.
What are you hoping to accomplish with your Carolina degree?
I am in a professional program, so I hope to come out of SILS with the skills needed to be an effective practitioner in either academic librarianship or instructional design. Primarily, I want to continue cultivating my own empathy-driven approach to designing student learning experiences. Also, librarianship and instructional design are two fields that require a lot of soul-searching and active work to help bring about a more equitable world. I hope to contribute to those efforts however I can.