The Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering has announced the 2021 recipients of their prestigious alumni awards.
Christian Beck and Patricia Steele have been honored with Distinguished Alumni Awards in Informatics and Information and Library Science, respectively. The Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes an alumnus/a who is making, or has made, an outstanding contribution to the fields of computer science, engineering, informatics, information science, and/or library science.
Three alumni, Dorothy Berry, Sanchari Das, and Logan D. Selby, are winners of the inaugural Innovation Fellow Award, which recognizes an individual who is interested in connecting with the Luddy School to help cultivate the next generation of innovators and global leaders. They also must have demonstrated leadership and made a noteworthy and innovative contribution to their respective profession.
“We are extremely proud of all of our alumni who continue to shape the technology of tomorrow in so many ways,” said Dennis Groth, interim dean of the Luddy School. “The winners of our 2021 awards have made an impact in so many areas, and whether they are recent grads or boast long careers in their respective fields, they showcase the best of what Luddy graduates can accomplish.”
The ILS Distinguished Alumni Award has been bestowed annually since 1978. To reinvigorate the recognition of alumni and friends of the school for their success and service, the Luddy School, in collaboration with the Luddy Alumni Ambassador Board, created the Innovation Fellow Award and expanded the Distinguished Alumni Award to include an alum from informatics, computer science, or intelligent systems engineering this past summer.
Informatics Distinguished Alumni Award
Christian Beck, B.S. Informatics, 2005; B.A. Geography, 2006; M.S. Human-Computer Interaction, 2007
Beck is an executive partner and co-founder of Innovatemap in Indianapolis. The company shapes technology ideas into high-growth businesses through collaborative client partnerships. Beck is an entrepreneur who also has returned to Bloomington to lecture and administer projects with real-world influences with current Luddy students, educating and sharing insights through in-person and digital forums.
Beck began his career as a senior UX designer at Autodesk in Silicon Valley before working as a design lead and UX manager at Teradata where he revolutionized the UX vision for the company while leading a team in building highly usable and marketable products.
“It feels like I’ve reached such a significant milestone in my career,” Beck said. “I started in Informatics before the Luddy School existed, and we had classes spread out all over campus. Now, after 15 years in the field, receiving this reward reminds me of how far I've come and how honored it is to be recognized by the people that were responsible for helping me find my passion.”
Information and Library Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award
Patricia Steele, B.A. English, 1966; Master of Library Science, 1981
Steele earned her Master of Library Science degree from IU in 1981, but she began her career working the IU Libraries system in the 1960s. She served as the head of several campus libraries, including the then-School of Library and Information Science Library, the Health, Physical Education, and Recreation Library, and the Education Library. Steele also served the IU Libraries as the head of Customer Access Services and was a coordinator of Academic Information and Customer Services. She also was instrumental in allowing IU to become a leader in digital preservation through her passion for the Google Digitization Project and as a co-founder of the HathiTrust shared digital repository, which now features more than 17 million digitized items.
Steele became the Ruth Lilly Dean of University Libraries in 2005, and she served in that capacity until retiring as dean emeritus in 2009. She then accepted a position to become the Dean of University Libraries at the University of Maryland in 2009, where she served until her retirement in 2015.
“The recognition of one’s colleagues is most gratifying,” Steele said. “Since none of what we accomplish is a solo effort, that those in a position to judge my career think so well of me is most humbling and meaningful. I have been fortunate enough to work in many types and sizes of libraries. In all those positions, I took great effort to be a change agent, bringing together staff to focus on our users with the lens of the future and the partners we would need to achieve our goals. That common, positive attitude, and an expectation that we can get things accomplished regardless of financial challenges or any other incumbrances, made work exciting each day and most satisfying.”
Innovation Fellow Award
Dorothy Berry, Master of Library Science, 2016; M.A. Folklore and Ethnomusicology, 2016
Berry is the digital collections program manager for the Houghton Library at Harvard University. She reshaped the way the Houghton Library presented materials focusing on the history of Black Americans, providing better access. She also reviewed the Harvard Theatre Collection’s minstrel materials for inaccuracies, allowing her to create a plan for more just, accurate, and contextualized descriptions of the materials. Berry also has led an effort to digitize historical African American materials while making it more accessible. She is the 2021 recipient of the Mark A. Green Emerging Leader Award from the Society of American Archivists, and in 2020 she was named one of Library Journal’s Movers and Shakers, which honors individuals who are moving the library field forward as a profession.
“It is humbling and gratifying to be recognized by the places that trained you for the ways in which you've transformed that training,” Berry said. “I've come to realize my time at Indiana was so deeply strengthened by the ability to get classroom training and hands-on experience working at the Archives of African American Music and Culture, the Black Film Center/Archive, and the Moving Image archives, and I'm so pleased to be recognized in return.”
Sanchari Das, Ph.D., M.S. Informatics, 2018; Ph.D. Informatics, 2020
Das is an assistant professor at the Ritchie School of Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Denver where she is the director of the Inclusive Security and Privacy-focused Innovative Research in Information Technology (InSPIRIT) Laboratory. She also serves as co-director of the Secure Reality Laboratory and is a member of the Colorado Research Institute for Security and Privacy (CRISP) Laboratory. Das earned her Ph.D. from the Luddy School in 2020. She previously worked as a research assistant under Luddy Professor of Computer Science Apu Kapadia and Professor of Informatics L. Jean Camp.
She established the Security and Privacy Research in New-Age Technology (SPRINT) Lab at the University of Denver which focuses on computer security, privacy, education, human-computer interaction, social computing, accessibility, and sustainability of new-age technologies.
“Steve Jobs once said, ‘Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower,’ ” Das said. “For me, innovation means building tools and technologies to create a better life for everyone, and you need team work and bringing everyone together to co-learn and grow together.
“On the other hand, Albert Einstein mentioned: ‘The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.’ IU has helped me to imagine, to think forward, to keep learning, and implement it for future use. For me, winning this award is really precious coming from a school which has taught me to be a leader when my leadership will encourage others to come forth to build a better foundation of technology and to be a follower in learning new things.”
Logan D. Selby, M.S. Data Science, 2019
Selby is the vice president of operations of ASYLON Robotics, which assists government and private sector entities with managing and protecting their people, profits, and assets by creating advanced automated technologies. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Evansville in 2010 and has experience working with the intelligence community, the U.S. Department of Defense, and Fortune 500 companies.
Selby was instrumental in curating the application of Robotic Perimeter Security, a mechanism that utilizes Asylon’s autonomous drone solution pared with ground robotic quadrupeds, and he is a passionate promoter of the growth and adoption of new computing and machine learning approaches.
“It is a great honor to be presented this award and to represent Indiana University and the Luddy school in this capacity,” Selby said. “I believe that being a steward of innovation is a necessary core competency for leaders across all vertical markets today.”