For more information about Knowledge River please email the Knowledge River Assistant.

The School of Information at the University of Arizona currently has over 30 Knowledge River students enrolled in the program. These students come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences, but are all working towards the same goal: to attain their graduate degree in Information Resources and Library Science! Learn about our current scholars below.




Knowledge River 16 Student Bios:

Vanessa Ayala

I am a grateful to be part of KR 16. My background is in anthropology, and I am pursuing Archives/Special Collections in Information Resources and Library Science.

Peri Kathryn Costley 

Hi. My name is Peri Costley, and I’m a grateful and proud member of KR 16. I’m mostly from Central Kentucky, but I lived in Tucson for eight years. My background is in rural and community journalism. My focus is on diversifying adult programming and outreach in public libraries. I’m thankful for the support and potential collaboration with my Knowledge River Cohorts on this endeavor.

Veronica Franco 

Veronica Franco is a 2005 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, with a BS in Radio–Television–Film.  She began her library career working with San Antonio Public Library as a library assistant in 2008, where she has been an active member of REFORMA and the Bexar Library Association.  After almost nine years in public library service she accepted a position with Our Lady of the Lake University Library and realized academic librarianship, especially archives, film, and special collections, are where her primary interests lie.  In Fall 2017 Veronica began pursuing her MLIS as a member of Knowledge River Cohort 16 with The University of Arizona's School of Information, and as an ARL IRDW scholar.

Gloria Moreno 

I was born in Tucson, Arizona and for the last twenty-five years have called Florence, Arizona home.  I received my undergrad in Humanities from Northern Arizona University.  It is a great honor to join the KR family.  As a part of The Knowledge River Cohort 16, I look forward to expanding my horizons as it relates to diversity and serving under-represented communities.  I excitedly look forward to my time at the University of Arizona. There is a quote within my church that has become my motto; it reads partly, “come to be enriched, so you can then go out and empower others.” I feel that this encompasses so many aspects of my life, most recently the opportunity to be a part of the KR program.  I look forward to the enriching, enlightening moments with my fellow peers.  I one day plan to play a part in making changes within the library world so that empowering others is not limited but is reflective of all within their communities.  Most importantly is trying to create a difference in a chaotic world so that hopefully there isn’t so much chaos when my children take the lead.

Ruby L. Nugent 

Hi, Everyone! My name is Ruby and I am THRILLED to be part of KR 16.  I grew up in Los Angeles but lived in Denver the past 23 years before becoming a full time Tucson resident this fall to attend classes in person at the U of A.  With 9 years in public libraries and 9 years in a health sciences library, I am looking towards medical librarianship after graduation, with my dedication for serving diverse populations and providing consuming health information resources to the community as my ultimate goal.  I feel that I am so fortunate to have been accepted into the Knowledge River program and am excited to continue my journey with past and present KR's that share the same passion, commitment, and love for libraries in this important capacity. 

Melissa L. Porta Salazar 

My name is Melissa Salazar, and I'm very excited to be apart of KR16. I grew up in Tucson, AZ and received my Bachelors of Arts Degree in Music from the University of Arizona. I have worked for the Pima County Public Library as a page from when I was 16 years old until I was 23. I now live in a small town in Texas called Denison (which is also the birth place of president Eisenhower). I currently work in an Information filed, working with vital records (Birth/Death and Marriage Records) for the Grayson County Clerk's Office and I am interested in going into Archives/Special collection libraries.

Jesse Simms 

My name is Jesse Simms and I am a member of KR Cohort 16.  I was born and raised in Phoenix, AZ and I have worked in libraries for over 10 years.  I decided to attend Graduate School so I can pursue a job in library administration.  I see this path as the best way to affect positive, long-term change within the community, especially under-served populations.  I am thrilled to be a part of this program and look forward to learning and growing with you all.

Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

Siyo! Dagwadoa Kristen Suagee-Beauduy.  I'm enrolled Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma through my mother's Suagee family.  I look forward to learning about cultural heritage information resource management in tribal communities from those who paved the way for us.  I have a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing with a minor in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and a Cherokee Studies Graduate Certificate from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.  I feel blessed to take part in Knowledge River.


Knowledge River 14 and 15 Student Bios:

Daniel Arbino

I am excited to be a member of Knowledge River. My interests reside in special collections and archives that pay special attention to Latino, Latin American, and Caribbean subject matter. I am currently an RBS-IMLS fellow for 2016.

Maria Cuello

My name is Maria E Cuello. I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Being raised in a cultural community, I have learned to appreciate knowledge and learning. While using my local community resources as the Pima County Public Library System, I have decided to pursue a career in library science. Learning, teaching and helping people have been my biggest passion, and I am excited to join the library and enhance the lives of my community.

Zazil Davis-Vazquez 

My name is Zazil Davis-Vazquez, and I'm a member of KR 15. I graduated from the University of Arizona with degrees in Latin American Studies and Geography. I am particularly interested in the intersection of social justice and librarianship, and hope to work on bringing recognition and empowerment to under served and underrepresented communities.

Leo Graves

I am grateful to be part of Knowledge River cohort 15.  Coming to the program with work experience in civil and social service, as well as education, my hope is to work in Archives/Museums/Special Collections, and advance the goals of KR to the best of my ability.

Vicki Lázaro 

Hi there!  I am Vicki Lázaro.  I am originally from Guadalajara, Jalisco but consider Tucson, Arizona my hometown.  I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona.  I am a Library Program Instructor for Pima County Public Library and a Graduate Assistant at the UofA’s iSpace.  I teach people how to use computers and emerging technologies.  I love every day that I work in both environments!  I was introduced to the public and academic library environments and the Library and Information Science Graduate program by Gina Macaluso and Lisa Waite Bunker.  I met these lovely ladies while being involved in 9 Queens, the chess education non-profit organization.  I was involved for eight years and held many titles from President to Executive Director.  The LIS Graduate program was a perfect next step for me since it incorporated all my knowledge, experiences, marketing background, leadership, and teaching abilities.  The Knowledge River Program has allowed me to experience wonderful things with the support and friendship of a great community of people.



Roberto Lopez 

My name is Roberto "Robbie" Lopez and I am part of Knowledge River Cohort 15.  I was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona and am proud to call the desert my home.  I received my undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Nonprofit Leadership and Management with a minor in LGBTQ Studies.  I also received certification as a Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) from the National Nonprofit Leadership Alliance (NLA) during my undergraduate studies.  My work and interests have always involved social services/justice and community advocacy for marginalized populations.  With my graduate studies, I am interested in community archives, digital storytelling and preserving and honoring culture here in the Southwest.  I plan to continue my path of service to the community that raised me through this new adventure in librarianship.

Rachel Martinez 

My name is Rachel Martinez and I'm part of KR 14. My research interests lie in Latino Health Literacy, but I'm also pursuing a certificate in the DIGIN program so that I can build my technical skills. I'm excited to meet as many people as I can and have high hopes for this graduate experience!

Valeria Martinez 

My name is Valeria Martinez and I was born and raised in The Old Pueblo Tucson, Arizona. I’m a first generation college student, and a University of Arizona Alumni. I completed my undergraduate degree in Middle Eastern and North African Studies & Latin American Studies. I now work full-time for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Advancement, and I absolutely love it since I am all for UA school spirit. I enjoy photography, and consider myself an amateur Instagramer. I enjoy going to new restaurants and trying new food.

I decided that it was necessary as a first generation college graduate to continue my education right after my undergraduate degree. I knew that I did not want to do my masters in history, but I did know that I did not want to be away from the study of history. I researched many possible graduate programs, and I came across the SIRLS degree and it was a perfect medium. My goal in this program is to learn how to properly preserve culture, history, and information. Many students enter this field with a solid understanding on what exactly they want to specialize in. However, I still have not decided; I’m sure my mentors in Knowledge River will guide me to the right river path. 

Windalu Medrano 

My name is Windy Medrano. I live in Portland, Oregon and am part of the online KR15 cohort. I am currently working for Multnomah County Library as a Bilingual Library Assistant. I have really enjoyed my work at the library and knew that I wanted to pursue my MLIS but until I heard about KR I wasn't completely convinced. The focus on serving Latino and Native American communities really made this program stand out to me. I'm excited and honored to be part of KR. My hope is that becoming a librarian will allow me to be a stronger advocate and have a bigger impact on my community. 

Tina Mendoza 

Tina R. Mendoza is a Knowledge River Scholar at the School of Information (KR 14). She received a B.A. with honors in Linguistics, with minors in History and Celtic Studies. With a background in Linguistics, she is interested in preservation of culture and languages as well as studying ways to build inclusivity of all community members into the facilities which provide access to information.

Debe Moreno 

information.I was raised in Tucson and am currently living in Chandler, AZ. I have worked for the Chandler Public Library system for 17 years, working my way up from Page, to Library Aide, to Library Assistant in Youth Services. I am working on many projects including Early Literacy, Latino Heritage, and STEAM and Makerspace in the library. My own children are fortunate to be both white and Latino and privileged to have a good education and access to library services and technology. I am passionate about helping my community and reaching out to the youngest members and underserved populations to give every child the opportunity to succeed. I am excited to finish my degree in Library Science and to use my skills and connections through the School of Information, Knowledge River, and Reforma to make a difference beyond my family, my library, and my community.

Carl Murdock

It is an honor and a pleasure for me to join the Knowledge River family of scholars.  I grew up in Tucson and did my undergraduate work at the University of Arizona, but moved to New England in 1990.  In 2000 I completed a PhD in Latin American History at the University of Connecticut, but at the time had no interest in teaching so I started working in bookstores.  The "Great Recession" pushed me out of retail and into the public library, where I discovered the career I should've pursued in the first place. I'm back here at the U of A to further that career, and so far it's great!


Vanessa Nava 

I was born in Phoenix, Arizona and raised in Nogales, Arizona. I studied Sociology at Northern Arizona University where I received my degree in 2010. I am interested in archives and currently hold a position with the University of Arizona Special Collections department as a graduate assistant. I love what I am learning in this position and taking each new adventure as it comes.


Teresa Ortiz

Spanning every grade level (K-12) encompassing elementary, intermediate, middle and high school over the course of nearly two decades, I have served the literacy and information needs of the youth of southwestern New Mexico through top-notch, progressive public school library programming. Over the course of these years, libraries, programming, and services have changed exponentially due to the explosion of the World Wide Web and technological shifts that have allowed information to be handled more rapidly and efficiently in electronic format. I have helped to lead Deming Public School Libraries through automation and been responsible for planning and building new libraries in the district rich with new technology and alive with well-designed and age-appropriate, literacy-supporting library services. My own two children of tri-cultural descent attend a dual-language public school in the area and receive language and literacy instruction in Spanish and English. I am thrill and honored to be afforded the privilege, support, and vision that Knowledge River provides as I continue to hone my craft and expertise as a public school library media specialist preparing the minds of and sharing information with our most valued assets: our youth!

Jasmine Pawlicki

Jasmine Pawlicki is Otter clan and a member of the Sokaogon Band of Lake Superior Chippewa. She received a Bachelor of Arts in American Culture at the University of Michigan, and she currently works at the University of Michigan Shapiro Undergraduate Library and the Fine Arts Library as an Onsite User Services Assistant. Jasmine is attending the University of Arizona School of Information as an ARL Diversity Scholar through the Initiative to Recruit a Diverse Workforce. Her professional interests include Indigenous librarianship and digital archives.

Mark Sandoval 

My name is Mark Sandoval and I am excited and proud to be a member of KR 15. I'm from Lebanon, TN, and graduated from Centre College with a degree in anthropology/sociology with a minor in Spanish. I'm still undecided as to which field of librarianship I'd like to go into. I thought I wanted to be an academic librarian coming into the program, but I've had such a great time working at the U of A Special Collections Library so far that now I'm undecided! Regardless of the direction my career goes, I'm interested in providing services for groups of people who have historically been marginalized, specifically Spanish-speaking populations, so that all voices and perspectives can be accessed.

Mindy Sandoval

My name is Mindy Sandoval, I was born and raised in Silver City, New Mexico. My undergraduate degree is in social sciences, with master’s degrees in sociology and interdisciplinary studies focused on western hemispheric studies. I am interested in public librarianship because I want to understand and improve how Latino, rural and other underserved populations relate to information resources. I am proud to be a Knowledge River Scholar.

Allinston Saulsberry 

My name is Allinston Saulsberry and I was born and raised in Kankakee, Illinois. Being a first generation college student from Bradley University, I was determined to go above and beyond with my Public Relations degree.  However, that all changed when I moved to Arizona. Previous to my employment with The Phoenix Public Library I had seven years of experience at The Kankakee Public Library. My “aha moment” came as I was sitting in an auditorium of library staff at Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix, Arizona. And it was at that moment that I decided to master my craft of becoming a Librarian. 

I am currently a Technical Services Library Assistant at Grand Canyon University. Though I envisioned moving from a public library to an academic library would be a terrifying change, I've found that working in an academic library while pursing my masters has made looking for information and learning the ways of accessing information much easier. 


Sara Vega 

My name is Sara L. Vega and I am from Sunland Park, NM.  I went to school at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, NM where I received my Bachelor of Arts in History with a Minor in Anthropology.  My main interest is in public librarianship and archives and I am excited to be here and learn as much as I can.  I am currently a Graduate Assistant with the Pima County Public Library at Joyner-Green Valley Library.  My Mexican-American culture has always been important for me and I am here to learn how to improve the relationship between cultures and the library in order to help the community.

Jessica Zubia

My name is Jessica Theresa Zubia. I am 25 years old and from Las Cruces, New Mexico where I was born and raised. I am here because I want to be an influence and advocate for the Mexican American community as I spread the love of education. Also, I want to be a good role model for my two godsons Ori and Santos (shown in picture). I want them to know with education and perseverance, dreams do come true.


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Knowledge River Alumni

Frank Aviles

I come to Tucson from California where I was born and raised. I grew up in a migrant working family in Visalia, and both my parents were born in Mexico. I am number 6 in a family of 9. I have a BA in Mathematics and Minor in La Raza Studies, and a Certificate in Library and Information Technology. I'm a re-enry student, older than 40 and younger than 50, and proud of it!

Andie Belone

My name is Andie Belone.  I am an aspiring archivist and a member of the Hopi Tribe from First Mesa, Village of Walpi.  I am also a Knowledge River scholar- Cohort 10, and a graduate assistant at the Center for Creative Photography (CCP).  My emphasis is digital and photographic archives.  My date of graduation was Spring 2013.  

Andrea Castañeda 


I am Andrea Castañeda, a native Arizonan from Yuma.  Having worked in the nonprofit sector after graduating from Arizona State University, I knew pursuing the library profession would help me continue fulfilling my passion of assisting people empower themselves.  Libraries are truly transforming into dynamic spaces, and I am interested in doing my part to not only shift people's thinking of libraries as the primary resource, but I also intend to advocate for libraries at the policy level.  I currently work for the Maricopa County Library District and look forward to my future endeavors!

Chris Curley

I have been living in Tucson since I was 3. I am a proud member of the Navajo Nation. In May I graduated from Northern Arizona University with a BA in Elementary Education. I have been working for the Pima County Public Library at the Woods Branch for the past 11 years as a library page. During my time there I have worked closely with the Teen Librarians helping with programming and running programs for teens. I have found this to rewarding expecially working with the teens in the community. That is why I want to pursue a career in Library Science. I want to help communities because I have witnessed how a library can help a community grow.

Amy Erives

I am Amy from Phoenix, AZ and have been living in Tucson for a month. I graduated from Arizona State University with a BA in History in Secondary Education with a minor in literature, writing and film. I have been working hard to get accepted into SIRLS to be able to be a part of Knowledge River. I look forward to being super involved with both programs but mainly with the Latino and Native American communities. I see myself working in a Special Library or even a public one after I finsih at SIRLS. Here is my website:

Julian Etienne

I am an international student and Knowledge River scholar at the UA School of Information Resources Library Science. My main research interests are cultural heritage documentation & preservation and information & media literacies. These interests are affected by an array of issues well beyond librarianship, like intellectual property and cultural rights or access to government information. However, each day I am more confident that librarians are equipped as no other to address them. As a professional I envision myself participating in projects that foster intercultural dialogue and civic engagement of underserved populations.

Guadalupe "Lupita" Flores

Guadalupe "Lupita" Flores, KR 9, graduated from SIRLS in December of 2011. She was born and raised in Nogales, Arizona. She was Vice-President of the UA Chapter of the Progressive Librarians Guild and book review editor for the American Indian Library Association (AILA) newsletter. She has worked as an intern at the Library of Congress where her main task focus was metadata remediation. She is interested in cataloging and hopes to work in the academic field.

Allison Herrera 

My name is Allison Herrera and I’m from Laredo, Texas. I’m interested in information technology, computer programming, and health literacy for underprivileged communities. I am currently a Graduate Research Assistant at the Arizona Health Science Library, and I plan on specializing in Medical Librarianship.

Irlanda Jacinto

Irlanda Jacinto is a graduate student at the School of Information Resources and Library Science. She graduated from the University of Texas at El Paso with a BA in Anthropology and a BA in History. While she was pursuing her undergraduate degrees she became obsessed with Ballet and after two years of training she became a member of the UTEP Ballet Corps de Ballet under the direction of Ingeborg Heuser.  In 2010, right out of 504, she began an internship at the Dance Resources Center at University of Arizona School of Dance. She is in charge of organizing the School’s collection of dance ephemera, books, programs, and visual materials.

Jamie A. Lee

Jamie A. Lee, KR 9 alum, is currently a Doctoral Student in Information Resources and Library Science with a Gender & Women's Studies minor at the University or Arizona.  She is interested in researching how archives and digital archives may be spaces for social movements for underrepresented groups and hopes to work with communities to investigate how emerging media technologies and archival theories and practices may impact the ways that groups articulate identities to society.      

Berlin Loa

KR9, Graduated December 2011, MA, Information Resources and Library Science, BA, Literature and Africana Studies.  My GA positions included working in the KR Office with an amazing team of KRs and at Labriola American Indian Data Center in the ASU Special Collections library. As a KR, I was an active member of several of the library and archives organizations including UASAA, LSO, and REFORMA. I made great connections at SIRLS with some of the KR8s, KR9s and earlier cohorts who were there with me throughout the program. Socials, conferences, workshops and study groups were all part of the cohort experience.  The social events kept us connected and the professional events helped us to develop together as librarians.

April Mettler

I have a BA in History from South Dakota State University with a minor in Sociology. I'm fascinated by the way people work to get information as well as the science behind preservation. I'm focusing on archiving and the science needed to run archives.

Kara Mills

I'm Kara and am originally froma small town in Texas...and Larry McMurtry wasn't exaggerating when he wrote the Last Picture Show trilogy. I learned quickly that I belong in a place where there are open minds and liberal thinkers. I  have a BA in Elementary Education and have been here ever since...over 20 years. I see a huge need to establish healthier lifestyles, moving away from processed, corporate foods by creating community gardens and educating families about where their food comes from. I am very excited about the Seed Library at Pima County Public Library and the trends to eat, buy and grow locally.

Hanni Nabahe 

I am originally from southern Mexico and have a BA in English from Brigham Young University. Currently I am working 3 jobs, as ARL/SAA Mosaic Fellow at the UA Special Collections, as digital archivist with the Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope, and as program instructor at the Pima County Public Library. My interests include digital preservation as it relates to archives and indigenous languages, copyright issues, and systems librarianship.

Michael Principe

I earned a BA in English and History from Pennsylvania State University in 2010. In July of 2011, I joined the SIRLS program after moving from Philadelphia to Tucson. My main research interests are bibliographic control, Anglo-American cataloging practice, and the way they can better serve Latino and Native American user populations.

Monique Perez 

My name is Monique Perez and I am a Tucson native. I received my bachelors degree in Education from the University of Arizona in 2014 and am currently a second year student at the School of Information. At the age of seven, I knew that I wanted to become a librarian, since I loved to read and organize my books. Now I realize that there is so much more to the profession. My main passion is to assist people, specifically underrepresented communities, making sure they have access to information. I aspire to work in an academic library setting, and enjoy working with children through early literacy initiatives. During my free time, I enjoy dancing (Folklórico), scrapbooking, traveling (I LOVE Disneyland), and reading children's books, especially books in the Pete the Cat series.

Kari Quiballo

Kari Quiballo graduated from the University of Arizona summa cum laude with an Interdisciplinary Studies degree. Her concentrations were in art history, philosophy and religious studies. Kari’s research interests are in the commodification of information and the resulting privatization and commercialization in information institutions, cultural appropriation of information technologies and ‘Othering’ and identity creation in the archival profession. Specifically, she focuses on how these aforementioned issues affect sovereignty in reference to Indigenous people as producers of information and cultural responsive care and repatriation of archival materials. Kari’s professional goal is to work in digital and photographic archives.

Ivonne S. Ramirez

I am a native-transplanted Tucsonan, born in Oaxaca, Mexico, and raised in the Old Pueblo.  My earliest memories are of spending the summers in the public library downtown with my mom and two younger brothers. Today, you will see a high school teacher with a background in science, a passion for languages, and an avid advocate for competent research and trans-cultural understanding.  In addition to teaching, I have spent some time working in early childhood advocacy and community education.  I am excited to be part of the Knowledge River program because I cannot pass up the opportunity to promote and provide information services for our integrated and our unincorporated Latin and Native American communities.

Graciela B. Robinson

I was born and raised in Mexico. Ihave a BA in Latin American Studies with a minor in Anthroplogy from the University of Arizona. For over 15 years I worked as a teacher of French as a second language in Mexico. I moved to Arizona in 1993 to work for the Tohono O'odham Nation as a translator/interpreter, cultural resources liaison and consultant for issues in Mexico. In 2005-2009 I worked as an Instructional Specialist and Outreach Coordinator for the UA Flandrau Planetarium and Science Center Education Department. I am interested in formal and informal education and enjoy working in diverse communities. My main interests focus on art, natural history, culture and traditional knowledge, sustainable development, wildlife and environmental preservation. I have been involved in numerous projects around the world working for Native American Indigenous and Latino communities as a consultant and as a translator. I believe that SIRLS KR program is a valuable tool that will add new skills and hopefully will open new career opportunites.

Camila Tessler

I'm a native of Brazil who moved to Tucson when I was four, and mostly grew up here in the Old Pueblo. I got my undergraduate degree in Creative Writing from the UA in 2007 and then Masters of Letter in Children's Literature at the University of Newcaste in the United Kingdom. I intend to focus on archiving with an eventual goal of opening a children's literature archive/museum that serves both an academic and public audience. My interests in social welfare minority justice are especially tangled with my identity as a Latina woman in the Southwest and my growing concern at the silencing of minority voices at local and national levels, which led me to Knowledge River.

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College of Social and Behavioral Sciences