Faculty Spotlight: Beth St. Jean

Beth St. Jean is an Assistant Professor in the iSchool and the Assistant Director of the Information Policy and Access Center (iPAC). She is from Westfield, MA and she holds a BA in Mathematics from Smith College and an MLS and a PHD in Information from the University of Michigan.

What brought you to the University of Maryland?

My car 🙂 [On a more serious note — the University and our iSchool, in particular, really cares about making a positive impact on people’s lives]

What is your research interest?

People’s health-related information needs and seeking practices; health literacy; health justice

What project is taking up the most of your time right now? Can you tell us a little about it?

Working with colleagues on a proposal for the CHI 2017 Hacking Women’s Health Workshop

What made you choose a career in information?

I worked for an expert witness for nearly a decade — I realized the the person with the most and the best info (which is usually the person with the most money) will nearly always win the court case, regardless of who is morally correct

What excites you most about the information profession?

The interdisciplinarity and the potential to make real positive impacts on people’s lives

What do you think are the greatest challenges facing graduate students in their upcoming careers?

Looking outside the box; Pursuing lifelong learning

One piece of advice for current students. 

Explore, engage, and enjoy every day

What is your favorite place in the DMV to grab a bite to eat?

Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia

What are you watching on TV/Netflix right now?


Do you have any hidden talents?

Solving cryptograms 🙂

What is the most interesting job title you’ve ever held?

Fraud Auditor (or Tobacco Worker) [not sure which is the MOST interesting]

What is your most unique award/achievement?

Caught many employees (and customers) stealing when I worked for Williams-Sonoma

What is in your refrigerator right now?

Too much stuff

Closing thoughts?

“We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize. (TN Hahn)”

Beth teaches LBSC602 Serving Information Needs and INST701 Introduction to Research Methods. You can reach her at bstjean@umd.edu and her office is located in Hornbake 4117K. 

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