Student VOYA Advisory Board Member Program

VOYA Magazine announces a new program for LIS students. Each year, two students will be selected to serve as student members of the VOYA Advisory Board (VAB). The students will get a look behind the scenes in the publishing industry by working with and interviewing the VOYA staff, attending virtual board meetings, and taking on special projects. A board member will mentor the students. VOYA staff will receive valuable input from students about the needs of new librarians and new trends in YA librarianship. The first students will help develop a selection process for future participants.

Meet our first student advisory board members, Tamara Foster and Will McCall:

Tamara Foster

As a fourth semester student in the Master of Library and Information Science program at San José State University, I’m honored to be joining VOYA as a student advisory board member.

After graduating from Purdue University with a business undergrad degree and an MBA, I honed my analytical skills in corporate finance before spending two years in Honduras as a Peace Corps volunteer, working with microlending circles for women entrepreneurs and teaching English to schoolchildren. Upon returning to the U.S., I spent many years in nonprofit management for organizations providing volunteer abroad programs, affordable housing for Latino families, arts programming for women, and early childhood services for the 0-5 age group. Pursuing my library degree has been a long-term goal, and I’m looking forward to working with middle- and high-school students after graduating from SJSU. This fall, I’ll be working at a local K-8 school, where I’ll implement a digital media curriculum for middle schoolers and strengthen the library-classroom connection by bringing Spanish-language materials to the elementary schoolers through storytimes, book talks, and special programming.

Although I’ve been living in San Francisco for seventeen years, I’m still a Midwesterner at heart and get back there as often as I can. In my spare time, I enjoy trail running with my middle schooler and playing Uno and dominos with my kindergartner. I’m also a yoga enthusiast, tennis player, and a mediocre but enthusiastic knitter. A few of my all-time favorite reads are Gabriel Garcia-Márquez’s Love in the Time of Cholera, Peter May’s Lewis Trilogy, Brandon Mull’s Fablehaven series, and The New York Times Magazine.

I look forward to bringing a student perspective to the VOYA board and contributing to the development of this new student role. Many thanks to the VOYA for this fabulous opportunity!

Will McCall

I am excited to join the VOYA Student Advisory Board so that I increase my depth of experience in creating YA services and to gain valuable contacts in this field. My path to teen services has been a little haphazard. After graduating from the University of Portland in 2007 with a degree in Environmental Science, I worked in that field for several years before deciding that the nature of the job was a little too isolated for me. My favorite aspect of the various environmental jobs I had was being a steward of the public good and I knew that I wanted to continue that line of work.

In 2013, I applied to be a shelver at my local library in Vallejo and really enjoyed the atmosphere, my coworkers, and the way that library staff were stewards of public knowledge. The following year I accepted a position in the Contra Costa County Public Library as a substitute and worked all around the county for almost two years. My current position as a teen and adult services library assistant started in October 2015 at the busiest branch in the system. My responsibilities include creating a monthly maker event with as many as 500 participants—assisting with daily programming for the afterschool crowd that includes 3D printers, green screens, and art contests. As a member of the STEAM committee, I have created programs and kits that are shared throughout the county to serve its 1 million residents.

In my free time, I enjoy exploring the natural beauty of the Bay Area. When daylight and weather permit, I like to go hiking three or four times a week. Since graduating, my best friends and I have gone on a week-long backpacking trip every year; this year we plan on doing a 20-mile section of the John Muir Trail through the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Additionally, I try to find time to read, cook, and eat new and interesting ice cream.

I am looking forward to working with everyone over the next year!

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