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Bergis Jules and Laima Augustaitis Receive Paul Evan Peters Fellowships

Laima Augustaitis, Bergis Jules (left to right)

The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI), which is sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) and EDUCAUSE, is pleased to announce the selection of doctoral student Bergis Jules and master’s student Laima Augustaitis as the 2018 recipients of the Paul Evan Peters Fellowships for graduate study in library and information sciences. The fellowship was established to honor the memory of Paul Evan Peters, CNI’s founding executive director; 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 Juliette Levy, UC Riverside associate professor of history, 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 at UM’s School of Public Health examining international and domestic health disparities. She is analyzing survey data demonstrating challenges and violence that female-assigned at birth sexual and gender minority (SGM) people experience in Kenya and helping with a project working to increase LGBTQ-conscious training for health care providers in southeast Michigan. She also serves as an affordable housing advocate for low-income 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 and 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 CNI. 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

The fellowship will be awarded next in 2020; applications will be available on CNI’s website, http://www.cni.org/.

More information about the fellowship and its current and past recipients is available at http://www.cni.org/go/pep-fellowship.

About the Coalition for Networked Information

CNI is a coalition of over 240 institutions dedicated to supporting the transformative promise of digital information technology for the advancement of scholarly communication and the enrichment of intellectual productivity. The Coalition, which is sponsored by the Association of Research Libraries and EDUCAUSE, is headquartered in Washington DC. More about CNI is at https://www.cni.org/.

About the Association of Research Libraries

The Association of Research Libraries (ARL) is a nonprofit organization of 125 research libraries in Canada and the US whose mission is to advance research, learning, and scholarly communication. The Association fosters the open exchange of ideas and expertise, promotes equity and diversity, and pursues advocacy and public policy efforts that reflect the values of the library, scholarly, and higher education communities. ARL forges partnerships and catalyzes the collective efforts of research libraries to enable knowledge creation and to achieve enduring and barrier-free access to information. ARL is on the web at ARL.org/.


A nonprofit association and the foremost community of IT leaders and professionals committed to advancing higher education, EDUCAUSE helps those who lead, manage, and use information technology to shape strategic IT decisions at every level within higher education. For more information, visit http://educause.edu/.