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VCU Libraries' student-worker graduates represent university's best and brightest

May 14, 2014

VCU Libraries is one of the largest employers of student workers at VCU. Their work is critical to operations, from working the service desks and cataloging, from reshelving materials to writing and designing promotional materials. VCU Libraries’ graduating class of 2014 represents the same drive and diversity of which the whole university is proud. A full list of library worker graduates is below. Here are brief snapshots of some of them and their activities, culled from their responses to a survey about their plans.

  • Oliver Aurand, Anthropology: Aurand worked in the preservation department at Cabell Library, assisting this semester with the Big Shift. He served as a member of the Anthropology Club and the Start-Up Club and presented posters at two research symposiums while at VCU. He has a job lined up in archaeology, and hopes to eventually develop a Web business.
  • Mason Brown, Creative Advertising and Journalism: Brown worked as a communications intern at Cabell Library for two years, handling design work for print and Web materials. Mason was a member of the Honors College and helped developed VCU’s Crew team into a competitive program with many major wins. He will be spending the summer as a design intern at Sharon Brooks and Associates, as well as working on developing a game.
  • Amber Coles, Broadcast Journalism, minor in General Business: She worked as a student copy cataloger at Cabell Library for four years. She was the Vice President of the Society of Professional Journalists, and served as the director and first student executive producer for InSight, VCU’s student news show. Amber will be working part-time at the Department of Mechanical Engineering after graduation. She is also writing a screenplay, a mystery titled “River City.”
  • Taryn Dollings, English: She spent three years at VCU Libraries as a general assistant and lending specialist. She completed more than 100 hours of community engagement while at VCU, and received the President’s Volunteer Service Award. An intern for Blackbird literary journal and the assistant managing editor for Auctus, the undergraduate research journal, she plans to enter the M.A. English program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
  • Christina Epperson, English, minor in Creative Writing: She worked as a Business Office Assistant for VCU Libraries. While at VCU, she was a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa Leadesrhip Fraternity, the Lead Copyeditor for Auctus, VCU’s undergraduate research journal, and an editor for Amendment Literary Journal. She is a member of the 4-H Honor Club and has participated in a variety of alternative spring breaks and service learning classes. She hopes to participate in Teach for America after graduation, ultimately pursuing a Master of Social Work.
  • Taylor Gentry, Radiation Sciences: Working four years for the circulation desk, Gentry is a member of the Gamma Chi Honor Society. Gentry will be living in Richmond and working at MCV after graduation.
  • Vera Magdeeva, Fashion Merchandising: An employee of Innovative Media for four years, she led the Promotions Committee for the VCU fashion's annual show. After graduation, she will live in Durham, N.C. and participate in a retail management internship with Nordstrom. She hopes to become an assistant manager after completing her internship.
  • Bianka Patel, Chemistry, minor in Math: Patel worked in the collections department at Tompkins-McCaw Library for two years. A Supplemental Instruction Leader for Chemistry at the VCU Campus Learning Center, Patel also served on the executive board of the American Red Cross Student Organization. She volunteered at the MCV pharmacy and went on service learning trips to Guatemala and Newark, N.J. Her news step: the University of North Carolina’s Eshelman School of Pharmacy in Chapel Hill.
  • Roshani Patel, Biology and Psychology, minor in Chemistry: Patel spent four years in the preservation department. A part of Circle  K, the VCU Homecoming Committee, the Phi Kappa Phi honors fraternity and the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, Patel also worked at the Global Education Office as a peer mentor for international students. Roshani plans to work for a year before starting medical school in the fall of 2015.
  • Caitlin Puffenberger, Print/Online Journalism, minor in History: Puffenberger was as a Communications Intern for two years, writing articles and assisting with the website redesign. A member of the Honors College and the Cabell Library Undergraduate Advisory Committee, she was the Social Media Specialist for the Commonwealth Times. She also interned with Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and the Department of Health Professions. She will be celebrating her summa cum laude graduation with a road trip to Colorado.
  • Amanda Sullivan, History and Gender, Sexuality & Women’s Studies: Sullivan worked in Special Collections and Archives for one semester working with RPI and Richmond history collections, oral histories and microfilm. She was a mentor at Carver Elementary School and helped plan the GSWS art show this semester. She plans to live in Richmond after graduation and is taking a semester off to work and apply to grad school.


Information Services
Taylor Nininger
Afomia Tigist
Justin Davis
Azeb Legesse
Metadata and Discovery
Amber Coles
Griffin Payne
Oliver Aurand
Brandon Burneson
Joshua Gardner (will complete classes this summer)
Kiara Harding (graduated last year, hourly worker)
Lalitha Narayanam (graduate student)
Roshani Patel
Ben James
Resource Delivery
Taryn Dollings
Innovative Media
Vera Magdeeva
Special Collections
Amanda Sullivan
Tompkins-McCaw Library Research and Education
(Community Health Education Center)
Bria Brown
Yujin Lee
Latrice Reid
Tompkins-McCaw Library Collections
Bianka Patel
Nesanette Yohannes
Tompkins-McCaw Library Special Collections
Jeff Bock
Debbie Grove
Mason Brown
Christina R. Epperson
Caitlin Puffenberger

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VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
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Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
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