IS Department welcomes new faculty in Data Science and Youth Librarianship for fall 2019

We are pleased to give a UNT "Mean Green" welcome to two new faculty members for the fall 2019 semester. 

Dr. Sarah A. Evans joins the Department of Information Science this fall as an Assistant Professor where she will focus her research, teaching, and service on youth librarianship in public libraries - her long time passion. 

Dr. Sarah Evans
                 Dr. Sarah Evans

"I am looking forward to expanding research that supports the work of youth librarianship,” says Sarah. 

Using qualitative and mixed methods, she examines voluntary learning experiences that occur across time, in various settings, and within cultures. Her primary topics of focus are public library services for youth, the history and culture of youth literature, and learning in fan communities.

Evans' professional life in libraries began in 1999 as a children’s storytime presenter and public services assistant. In the following years, Sarah held a number of library positions, including a library branch manager, an adult & teen services specialist, a collection development librarian, and a middle school teacher librarian. Her experiences as a public and school librarian inspired her to pursue a doctoral degree in the field of learning sciences, a derivative of educational psychology that focuses on learning in both formal and informal learning. Her dissertation study examined teen services, describing the key elements in the public library setting that sparks and sustains the voluntary learning of adolescents. This work included a participatory action research project with teens that earned the Frances Henne/YALSA/VOYA Research Grant.

Since earning her Ph.D., Sarah has worked as an Assistant Professor at Texas Woman's University. While there, she participated in the Association of College and University Educators program to earn a certificate in Effective College Instruction. Sarah also began her collaboration with UNT and TWU library science colleagues to study data literacy leadership for future school and public librarians, with the support of a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

In addition to her Ph.D., Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in Drama and a master’s of Library and Information Science from the University of Washington, as well as an elementary education certificate from Western Washington University. Sarah has also served in a number of library professional organizations, and continues to do so, particularly the Young Adult Library Services Association.

Born and raised in the Seattle area, Sarah relocated to Denton in August 2017 with her husband, their two young adult sons, and a beloved retired racing greyhound. Together they enjoy seeing new places, visiting history museums, and being with family and friends. Sarah loves reading young adult fiction and Japanese manga, watching Korean dramas and British mysteries, and drinking all kinds of green, white, and herbal teas, especially in bubble tea form.


Lingzi Hong
            Dr. Lingzi Hong

Dr. Lingzi Hong joins the Department as an Assistant Professor in Data Science. She completed her Ph.D. in Information Science at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her research interests lie in data science for social good, where new techniques in data science are paired with community engagement to advance the overall quality of life in socioeconomic development, safety and security, health, and education. 

Her current research focuses on the design of data-driven frameworks and systems that leverage large-scale digital traces (e.g. cell phone records, social media data) to enhance decision- making processes in smart and connected communities. She has worked on projects aimed at data-driven solutions for poverty, disaster management and relief, and migration. The World Bank and the National Science Foundation funded these projects. She has published papers in top conferences and journals such as AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, ACM Web Science, ACM International Conference on Information and Communication Technologies and Development, and IEEE Big Data. She serves as a reviewer for venues including CSCW, ICWSM, IMWUT and Big Data. 

Dr. Hong will be teaching Introduction to Data Science for undergraduate students in the fall semester. The course will include essential components of data science: data collection and management, data description and summarization, statistical inference and basic machine learning algorithms.

In her spare time, Lingzi enjoys reading, organizing, swimming slowly, and spending time with friends and family.