2019 Participants

Thanks to a generous grant from the IMLS, the HBCU Library Alliance and Digital Library Federation are pleased to introduce the 2019 Authenticity Project Fellows alongside their Mentors and Conversation Partners!

Fellows, who will participate in the Authenticity Project between January 2018 and December 2019, have been paired with two library professionals: a Mentor from an HBCU Library Alliance institution and a Conversation Partner from the DLF membership. These community volunteers have been matched with Fellows based on shared interests and goals, and will meet throughout the year to participate in facilitated sessions and discussions.

Visit the program’s homepage for more information.


Meaghan Alston

Prints and Photographs Librarian, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University

Meaghan Alston received her MLIS with a focus on archives and information science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2015. She has been the prints and photographs librarian at Howard University’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center since 2017. In this position she is responsible for a collection of over 150,000 graphic images depicting African American and African diaspora history. Prior to joining the staff at Moorland-Spingarn, she worked as a visiting librarian with the University of Pittsburgh’s Archives and Special Collections. Her interests include digital preservation, community archives, digital humanities, and archival education.  


Mentor: Joshua Hogan

Assistant Head, Digital Services Department
Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

About Josh

Conversation Partner: Kimberly Wolfe

Digital Collections Librarian
University of Richmond

About Kimberly



Danisha Baker-Whitaker

Archivist/Museum Curator, Bennett College (North Carolina)

Danish Baker-Whitaker is the archivist/museum curator at Bennett College. She’s also a PhD student in the Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media program at North Carolina State University. She focused on archives and special collections in obtaining the MLIS degree from the University of North Carolina – Greensboro. Her main research interests include exploring how the digital humanities field can intersect with and influence the duties of archivists. The overarching interests behind her work are identity and librarianship in the 21st century. Other interests include digital archives, access, and information architecture.

Mentor: Dr. Ana Ndumu

DLF Futures Fellow & President’s Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Maryland, College Park iSchool

About Ana

Conversation Partner: Lisa Spiro

Executive Director, Digital Scholarship Services
Fondren Library, Rice University

About Lisa



Cassandra Burford (@DigitalPresPro)

Technical & Digital Services Supervisor at Longview Public Library (Texas)
formerly: Special Collections Librarian, Talladega College (Alabama)

Cassandra Hill Burford is the technical & digital services supervisor at Longview Public Library in Texas. Before her current position, she was collections librarian at Talladega College in Talladega, Alabama. An Alabama native, she received a BA and MA in history from Jacksonville State University, and her MLIS, with a focus in digital preservation and digital libraries, from the University of Alabama in 2018. She is an avid proponent of digital preservation initiatives for archives.

Mentor: Dr. Dana R. Chandler

University Archivist/Associate Professor
Tuskegee University

About Dana

Conversation Partner: Dorothy Judith Berry

Digital Collections Program Manager
Houghton Library, Harvard University

About Dorothy



Justin de la Cruz (@justindlc)

Unit Head, E-Learning Technology, Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library (Georgia)

Justin has worked on technology training for library staff and patrons in both public and academic libraries. He currently serves as the unit head of e-learning technology at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library, where he collaborates with faculty and students on technology projects involving multimedia production, 3D design, and social media, among other topics. His recent publications, including a chapter in ACRL’s Applying Library Values to Emerging Technology, have focused mainly on library staff professional development. Justin recently joined the editorial advisory board for Library Hi Tech and is working on an ALA Diversity Grant-funded research project investigating the information seeking and sharing behaviors of LGBTQIA+ students.

Mentor: Jamal Fisher

Research Librarian
National Defense University

About Jamal

Conversation Partner: Cynthia Hudson Vitale

Head, Digital Scholarship & Data Services
Pennsylvania State University

About Cynthia



Cheryl Ferguson (@cdferg4)

Archival Assistant, Tuskegee University (Alabama)

Cheryl D. Ferguson is the archival assistant at Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, where she helps build and promote the rich history of the university. Her areas of interest include archival research, digital preservation, digitization, outreach/development, and program management.

Cheryl is a member of the Society of American Archivists, Society of Alabama Archivists, and the Association of African American Museums.

Outside of the archives, Cheryl can be found actively involved servicing her community as a member of Tuskegee Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and the Tuskegee United Women’s League, Inc.

Mentor: Dr. Richard Bradberry

Director of Library Services
Morgan State University

About Richard

Conversation Partner: Anna Neatrour

Digital Initiatives Librarian
University of Utah

About Anna



Ida Jones (@Ida39J)

University Archivist, Morgan State University (Maryland)

Ida E. Jones is the university archivist at Morgan State University. She is the first professional archivist hired by Morgan in celebration of the 150th anniversary. Since her arrival three years ago there are ten processed manuscript collections with online finding aids and a number of new donors and departmental contacts she made. The contacts are working with her in preparation for their future deposits, research, and reference queries. She has taught at the Lancaster Bible College; University of Maryland, College Park; and Howard University. She specializes in African American church history, organizational history, and local history. She authored four books. Her most recent publication, Baltimore Civil Rights Leader: Victorine Q. Adams: The Power of the Ballot, debuted in January 2019.

Mentor: Christine Wiseman

Head, Digital Services Department
Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

About Christine

Conversation Partner: Robert K. Nelson

Director, Digital Scholarship Lab, Head, Digital Engagement
University of Richmond

About Robert



Alvin Lee

Library Technical Assistant Supervisor at Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University (Florida)

Alvin Lee is senior library technical assistant supervisor and resource sharing coordinator for University Libraries at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, an HBCU located in Tallahassee, Florida. Additionally, Alvin serves as the chair of University Libraries’ Digitization Committee. He has a passion for learning about digital libraries and digital scholarship.

Alvin is committed to lifelong learning. In December 2018, he received his MA-LIS degree from the University of South Florida. He took graduate-level coursework at Georgia Southern University, in Statesboro, Georgia, to gain state certification in Georgia as a Middle Grades Teacher. Alvin has a BA in political science/history from Armstrong Atlantic University in Savannah, Georgia. He began his undergraduate studies at Oxford of Emory University in Oxford, Georgia. Alvin is a proud honors graduate of Boggs Academy in Keysville, Georgia.

Alvin currently serves on a statewide committee charged with identifying training opportunities for staff at member institutions of the Sunshine State Digital Network, the state hub for Digital Public Libraries of America. He is a lifetime member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society and is also a member of the Golden Key Honor Society. Alvin is currently serving a two-year term as a member of the state’s Resource Sharing Steering Committee. He is currently writing a grant for submission to the LYRASIS Catalyst Fund. The proposal will be based on the use of inclusion and use of digital scholarship for advancing conceptual research.

Mentor: Phyllis Earles

University Archivist & Head
Special Collections/Archives

About Phyllis

Conversation Partner: Este Pope

Head of Digital Programs
Amherst College

About Este


Brandon Lunsford

University Archivist and Digital Manager, Johnson C. Smith University (North Carolina)

Brandon Lunsford has been the archivist at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte since 2009. He received his MA in public history with a concentration in historic preservation from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in 2009, and his BA in history from UNCC in 2001. He is currently taking courses at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for his MA in library and information science, with a focus on archives. He wrote Charlotte Then and Now for Anova Books and Thunder Bay Press as part of his thesis project in 2008, and completed a revised edition in 2012. Before coming to JCSU he completed internships at the Charlotte Museum of History and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Historic Landmarks Commission. While the archivist at Smith, Brandon has written five successfully funded grant projects from the National Endowment for the Humanities, Lyrasis, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation through the Lyrasis HBCU Photographic Preservation Project, and the North Carolina Library Services and Technology Act. His projects have included an NEH grant to create a digital interactive map of the historic African American neighborhood surrounding Johnson C. Smith University and a digitization grant and exhibit showcasing the James G. Peeler Photograph Collection.

Mentor: kYmberly Keeton

African American Community Archivist & Librarian
The Austin History Center

About kYmberly

Conversation Partner: Mackenzie Brooks

Assistant Professor & Digital Humanities Librarian
Washington and Lee University

About Mackenzie


Raeshawn McGuffie

Assistant Director of Technical Services — Hampton University (Virginia)

Raeshawn McGuffie is from Los Angeles. She earned her BA in psychology from Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee. She earned her MLS degree at North Carolina Central University. She is currently the assistant director of technical services at Hampton University’s William R. and Norma B Harvey Library. It is in this position that she discovered an interest in digitization to preserve the many historical resources housed in the library’s special collections. Raeshawn is, of course, an avid reader, but she also loves knitting, photography, and music.

Mentor: Cotina Jones

Deputy Director
Cumberland County Public Library System

About Cotina

Conversation Partner: Melissa Wisner (@melissawis)

IT Projects and Portfolio Management Librarian
North Carolina State University Library

About Melissa


DeLisa Minor Harris

Special Collections Librarian, Fisk University (Tennessee)

DeLisa Minor Harris is a Fisk alumna who returned in 2016 to serve her alma mater after completion of her master’s degree at the University of North Texas and after spending four years with the Nashville Public Library. Connecting students, faculty and staff, researchers, scholars, and the Nashville community to the many historical collection holdings of Fisk University is DeLisa’s top priority. Since her start in special collections at Fisk University, she has curated five exhibits including, “Lord, I’m Out Here on Your Word”-Fisk Jubilee Singers: Singing from spirit to spirit” and written two articles published in the enlarged two-volume set of the Encyclopedia of African American Business, ABC/CLIO. She has twice presented at the Annual Conference for Association for the Study of African American Life and History, in 2017 discussing a photograph preservation project and Fisk University, and in 2018 the Student Army Training Corps during World War I. In 2017, Ms. Minor Harris was awarded the Rare Book School’s National Endowment for the Humanities-Global Book Histories Initiative Scholarship to attend Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. She currently serves as co-chair of the Nashville Area Library Alliance (NALA), working in partnership with librarians across Davidson County.

Mentor: Elizabeth Jean Brumfield

Distance Services Librarian
Prairie View A&M University

About Elizabeth

Conversation Partner: Liz Lorang

Interim Associate Dean and Humanities Librarian
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

About Liz



Aletha Moore

Digitization Project Manager Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library (Georgia)

Aletha R. Moore, a graduate of Spelman College, earned a bachelor’s degree in history with a specialization in American and African American history and her master’s degree in archival studies with a concentration in digital archives at Clayton State University. While in graduate school Aletha worked in the Spelman Archives and The Jimmy Carter Presidential Research Library. Currently, she is the digitization project manager of a CLIR grant at the Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library Archives Research Center. Moore is a member of Society of American Archivist, Society of Georgia Archivist.

Mentor: Monika Rhue

Director of Library and Curation
Johnson C. Smith University

About Monika

Conversation Partner: Lisa Gregory

Program Coordinator
North Carolina Digital Heritage Center
UNC-Chapel Hill University Libraries

About Lisa



Monica Riley

Serials Librarian, Morehouse School of Medicine (Georgia)

Monica is serials librarian at the M. Delmar Edwards, M.D. Library at Morehouse School of Medicine. Her responsibilities include selecting, acquiring, and managing access to digital and print serials. She is a native of San Francisco and proud alumna of Clark Atlanta University, where she received a BA in mass media arts and an MS in library and information studies. She has enjoyed a rich career as a professional librarian, having held positions in reference, youth services, and interlibrary loan at academic, public and special libraries. Her interests include project management, assessment and curation of digital collections.

Mentor: Jean Greene

Director of Library Services & Archives
Hinds Community College – Utica

About Jean


Conversation Partner: Timothy Ryan Mendenhall

Metadata Librarian, Columbia University
Assistant Cataloger, Frick Art Reference Library

About Timothy


Carla Sarratt (@offtheshelfMLS)

Director, Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)

Carla R. Sarratt earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English and psychology with a minor in education from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio. After college, Carla taught high school English in Columbus, Ohio, and Charlotte, North Carolina. She later earned an MLS degree from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina.

During graduate school, she participated in a study abroad trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, that allowed her to experience the international scope of librarianship in Denmark as well as Sweden. She interned with the State Library of North Carolina, where she assisted with programming and outreach endeavors with an emphasis on genealogy research. Through her passion for social media, she started the library’s Pinterest account that continues to thrive today.  

Before graduation, she accepted a position as the solo librarian for the African American Cultural Center Library at North Carolina State University. Through her ties to the African American children’s literature community, she bought children’s author and illustrator Don Tate to campus as part of the cultural center’s programming.

In her role as librarian and virtual services librarian with New Hanover County Public Library, she continued to build on her experiences as a teacher and librarian with programming and outreach within the local community.  She worked with high school students and teachers as well as the writing community to promote library resources and services. In 2017, she was awarded a stellar award for innovation and professionalism from New Hanover County.

Mentor: Dr. Janice Lucas Peyton

Executive Director of Libraries and Museums
Texas Southern University

About Janice

Conversation Partner: Jessica W. Meyerson

Research Program Officer
Educopia Institute

About Jessica


Kayla Siddell

Scholarly Communications and Instruction Librarian (Louisiana)

Kayla Siddell is the scholarly communications and instruction librarian in the university library at Xavier University of Louisiana where she manages the institutional repository and the Data Visualization Lab, and consults with faculty, staff, and students on their research and use of library resources and services. Previously she was the data curation librarian at Indiana State University, where she served as webmaster, managed the institutional repository and CONTENTdm and Omeka websites, and ran the digitization laboratory. Her research interests include alternative data, best practices for data curation and institutional repositories, scholarly communication, and information literacy. Kayla is an alumna of East Tennessee State University, where she studied psychology, and the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, where she earned her masters degree in information science.

Mentor: Tina D. Rollins

Library Director
Hampton University

About Tina


Conversation Partner: Dr. Ece Turnator

Humanities and Digital Scholarship Librarian
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

About Ece



Raquel K. Williams Donahue (@RaquelKWilliams)

Reference & Instruction Librarian I at Prairie View A&M University (Texas)

Raquel K. Williams has been a reference and instruction librarian at PVAMU’s John B. Coleman Library since March 2016.  She graduated with honors from Texas Woman’s University in December 2015 with an MLS and earned a BA in English from Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan, in 2006. Raquel has been active in the Texas Library Association as a member and as a round table officer since 2014 in several groups, including the Latino Caucus RT, Library Instruction RT, Library Support Staff RT, and Reference & Information Services RT.  She is regularly on Twitter @RaquelKWilliams.

Mentor: Andrea Jackson Gavin

Grant Writer
Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library

About Andrea

Conversation Partner: Catherine Aster

Product and Service Manager
Stanford University

About Catherine


The HBCU Library Alliance and DLF are incredibly grateful to the community members who have volunteered to participate in this program, including those who were not matched with fellows in 2019. Visit the Authenticity Project’s homepage for more information about each role, including how you can get involved next year.