Students

Deanna Brashers

I love to learn, which shows in my educational background that includes graphic design, accounting, English, geography, history, and religious studies. In 2017, I completed a Bachelor’s Degree in General Studies at Missouri State University. I finally found my career path in a public library in 2014, and am employed with the Christian County Library in Missouri. I have 5 grown children and 9 grandchildren, plus a dog (boxer) named Scooby. I am attending Mizzou for a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science through the “Librarians as Catalysts for Community Health” program.

Ericka Butler

Ericka Butler is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science (MLIS) from the University of Missouri. She has a Master’s Degree in Adult Education from the University of Missouri St. Louis and a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Columbia College St. Louis. She first fell in love with libraries when she worked for the Wellston School district as the Assistant Librarian. After working in the school library her next library adventure was working for the Department of Mental Health as a Librarian. Throughout all of her library journeys she has had the opportunity to empower and motivate her patrons. She has met and helped some incredible people at the library.

 She currently lives in St. Louis Missouri and is the Assistant Branch Manager for the St. Louis Public Library. She has two children who are both in their third year of college. She is a community leader who loves to empower her community by keeping them knowledgeable on the latest trends in libraries and connecting them to community resources. On her days off she enjoys walking and dancing.  

She chose the MLIS program because she has over 10 years library experience and wanted to expand her career in libraries. Her goal is to become more knowledgeable in health, digital, government and collegiate libraries. Following graduation, she would like to open pop up health information centers library.

Charissa Evans

I’m Charlee Evans. I live in Springfield, MO and work at the Christian County Library in Ozark, MO as Programming Coordinator. I have worked in libraries for seventeen years and have held five different positions during that time. In my current position, I get to do just about everything from planning exciting adult programs to answering reference questions to checking out books. I am always challenged and never bored. In my spare time, I wrangle three kids and one puppy along with my husband. When I am not reading picture books to my kids, I am currently in a reading non-fiction and biographies phase.

Kate Gramlich

I’m a native Midwesterner, unofficial librarian, and total people person. I have an educational background in sociology, communications, and gender studies, and I’m passionate about the role of public libraries in community enrichment and engagement. I’ve been at the Lawrence Public Library for five years, starting in readers’ advisory and moving over to Information Services, where I now get to connect people to the resources and information they need. Getting to know patrons is my favorite part of the job, and I am excited to increase my ability to help them in new ways.  Outside of work, I am an advocate for affordable housing in Lawrence through the Tenants to Homeowners board of directors. At home, I have two cats and a new pit bull puppy, who keep me busy and entertained. 

Brandon Jason

I was born in Joplin, Missouri and raised in the Ozarks, and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of the Ozarks in 2012. Since that time, I’ve worked in management at Branson theatre before becoming part of the growing Christian County Library District. I helped our library pass a tax levy renewal, which has resulted in new branches for Christian County Library for the first time (one of which, the Nixa Branch, I am the manager for). I have been a lifelong user of libraries; indeed, as a child, my mother’s and my Saturday tradition every week was going to the Joplin Public Library. I became more exposed to library services during my tenure at the College of the Ozarks, where I worked at the campus library as part of a work-study program. In my free time, I enjoy reading, writing, TV, and film, traveling (New Orleans is my favorite!), going to museums & the theatre, playing games, and spending time with friends and family.

Brandon Kennedy

I was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Las Vegas, NV. Growing up I always had an interest in the health sciences and art. I remember trying to incorporate health into my artwork during grade school. I attended the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Nevada where I majored in photography. My photography focused on mental health themes such as depression, compulsion, sexuality, and various other subjects. I wanted to somehow visually represent mental health through the camera lens. Simultaneously, I was also working within my university’s library system. This is where my passion for the library field began to blossom. I now look to further my experience within the library field while bringing my knowledge of health sciences and art with me. 

Melanie Newell

I’m Melanie Newell from Lincoln, NE.  I studied Peace and Conflict Studies at the College of Saint Benedict in St. Joseph, Minnesota. I now reside in Lincoln, with my fiancé, mother-in-law, dog and cat. In my work, I’ve focused on educational access and multicultural education issues.  I ran a student advising office at Southeast Community College serving low-income Freshman students.  I also worked for the Department of Health and Human Services with families in crisis.  After that I’ve been working in public libraries in Lincoln now for 5 years. I’m excited to deliver librarians to impactful places in my community.  I have a good feeling, or calling that this work will make a difference and I can’t wait to get started. 

Stephanie O’Connor

Hello, I am Stephanie O’Connor, a Library Director from Alliance, NE. I have served in my library for 13 years. The first three I served as the Children’s Librarian, and then became our director in 2010. I hold Bachelor’s degrees from Chadron State College in both Library Information Management and Business Administration. I also have many credits in life in physical science.

My work experience includes several years of public service not only in my library, but also in our public school system and as our County Red Cross Director. I applied for this opportunity as I felt it would help build a better relationship between our library, where people come to seek information, and our healthcare community. Our county has just built a new multi-million dollar hospital that has opened the door for rural healthcare opportunities. I feel the knowledge I will gain through this degree opportunity will aid those I serve by helping them to understand that healthcare options that were geographically, or in some cases economically, not possible before are now right here in their own community. The addition of this facility and the traveling specialist that now visit it will greatly increase the wellness opportunities for this community. My goal now is to be able to help patrons navigate and implement these services by helping them develop a better understanding as to what is now available. I am excited and thankful to have been chosen for this opportunity and look forward to what I can bring to my community through it.

Sarah Oliva

I am Sarah, I work as a library associate at Centennial Park library. I got my BA from The University of Northern Colorado in Anthropology. Minored in gender studies. I’m very interested in social justice. I am married to a talented aspiring musician. I have two dogs a five-year-old boxer named Vita and a Maltipoo puppy named Pepper. They are my prides and joys. I also love video games and that is what I do when I have any free time. I love heavy metal but also 80s early 90s music. I aspire to have a garden one day. 

Kimberly Rothgeb

My name is Kimberly Rothgeb.  I grew up in South Dakota and after many moves, my husband and I have settled in Omaha, NE.  Currently, I work at the University of Nebraska Medical Center as the Education Program Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences (IGPBS) PhD program.  I see every day at work what reliable health information can do in a community.  So I’m excited to see what impact we will be able to make with the information we learn from this program.  When I am not traveling for work, you can find me helping out at the improv or community theater, visiting my adult children, or planning our next trip to see a Major League Baseball game.

Katey Stukenholtz

My name is Katey Stukenholtz. I am a native Nebraskan and live in Lincoln, NE. I am excited to start this journey into the land of health librarianship. I have my bachelor’s degree in Communication from Nebraska Wesleyan University. After realizing I wanted to work with children in the classroom, I went back to school at UNL and received my Masters in Elementary Teaching. Not long into my career as an Elementary Teacher,  my family started getting bigger. I am a mother of 4 small children and two dogs. I found that I needed to focus on my children for a while, so I became a stay at home mom. I have been lucky to work with the YMCA on their curriculum in the Child Watch area. This gives me the opportunity to be home with my kids as well as work with children and curriculum. Best of both worlds! 
I have always been an avid reader and lover of books. I have taken courses in librarianship, but have not been able to further my expertise until now. While in undergraduate, I had a chance to take a health communication course, where my eyes were open to how impactful doctor-patient relationships are in improving healthcare. I know that through this program, I can bring more awareness of health issues to my community and make it easier to understand a potentially frightening time in their lives.

Cynthia Vana

I currently work at Omaha Public Library where I serve as a Reference Specialist. I have been blessed to have had many opportunities to serve in various capacities at OPL. As an award-winning Graphic Designer with a degree in Communications/Public Relations, I’ve had the privilege of using my talents to serve as a designer, public relations specialist and programming specialist. I also managed a team of a hundred-plus volunteers at OPL’s biggest busiest branch. My interest in health is particularly keen so I am very excited to parlay my experience into a new chapter with 11 other cohorts in the University of Missouri’s SISLT C4CH program. Thank you!