Wichita State welcomes new professor and librarian, JJ Pionke
During her time in graduate school at the University of Michigan, JJ Pionke fulfilled a lifelong dream of purchasing an around-the-world plane ticket. The adventure that followed took her to Uganda and Singapore, giving her hands-on experience in her field of study and leading directly to her new position at Wichita State University.
In Uganda, Pionke interned at the National Archives of Uganda, serving as an archive team leader for a collection of 6,900 files. While in Singapore, she spent her time improving the National University of Singapore’s information literacy program for incoming highly intellectual high school students from various Southeast Asian countries.
“The work was fun and interesting [in Singapore] and it really gave me a lot of perspective into how other people do things, especially with copyright, education outreach, with preservation of information, which is how I got interested in preservation to begin with,” Pionke said.
After graduating in May 2013, Wichita State was an ideal move. This fall, Pionke accepted the position of assistant professor and Instruction and Research Services librarian. She comes to WSU with a wealth of knowledge as a teacher and information professional, with research interests in teaching pedagogy, information preservation and new learning modalities.
Time for a change
Becoming a librarian wasn’t Pionke’s original plan. She began her career teaching as an adjunct English professor in Chicago. After 10 years, Pionke decided it was time for a change.
Pionke saw librarianship as a way to stay connected to students, while still having intellectual engagement with the opportunity to research and publish. She earned her Master of Science in Information at the University of Michigan, which eventually led her to Wichita State.
Pionke said her main focus will be helping people. She will serve as an invaluable resource, specifically for Wichita State engineering, health professions and science students and professors, and her door will always be open.
“I like libraries. I like books. I like information. I like helping students,” Pionke said.
Since starting at Wichita State, Pionke has appreciated the warm welcome from all her colleagues and is treating the move as a continuation of her around-the-world journey.
“I’ve lived in southern Japan. I’ve lived in London. I’ve lived in Singapore. I’ve lived in Uganda,” she said. “Kansas? Why not? Here we go.”