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Willson to Receive James M. Cretsos Leadership Award

The Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) is delighted to announce that Dr. Rebekah Willson is a 2019 recipient of the ASIS&T James M. Cretsos Leadership Award. The award’s purpose is to recognize a new ASIS&T member who has demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in professional ASIS&T activities.

The award is named in honor of James M. Cretsos, long-time member and leader in ASIS&T. Cretsos served as President of ASIS&T in 1997 and was also an active leader and contributor to the Southern Ohio Chapter, SIG-CON, SIG-MED, and the Awards & Honors Committee. He is perhaps best remembered for the role he played in mentoring emerging leaders in the field of information science. Candidates are assessed based on the following four criteria: participation in ASIS&T annual meeting as organizer, moderator, speaker, discussant, etc.; participation in programs and activities of SIGs, chapters and/or student chapters; services on ASIS&T committees; and recruitment of new ASIS&T members and/or retention of existing members.

For the last 3 years, Dr. Rebekah (Becky) Willson has been a Lecturer in Information Science in the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK. As of August 2019, she will be an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Studies at McGill University in Montréal, Canada. In 2016 she obtained her PhD from Charles Sturt University in Australia under the supervision of Profs Lisa Given and Annemaree Lloyd. Her research is in information behaviour, particularly focusing on individuals undergoing transitions. Dr Willson has been extensively involved in ASIS&T. She is the Chair Elect for SIG USE and in 2016 received the New Leader Award, working with Dr Lynn Connaway. She has served as co-chair of the Membership Committee, co-chair of the Student Design Competition, sat on several award juries including the ProQuest Doctoral Dissertation Award, the Pratt Severn Award, and reviewed for both JASIS&T and the ASIS&T Annual Meeting. For more information and her CV, please go to:

In nominating Dr. Willson for the award, Lynn Silipigni Connaway, PhD of OCLC said, “Dr. Willson has been an active member of ASIS&T since 2014. She was a recipient of a New Leader Award 2016-2018 and was selected to work with the ASIS&T Incoming President, President, and Past President in 2016-2017 on the Presidential Initiative Working Group Taskforce, the ASIS&T 80th Anniversary Planning Committee, and to chair the OCLC/ASIS&T Annual Meeting Student Award Committee in 2016. Becky Willson’s contributions to ASIS&T in the past five years are commendable and exemplify her leadership qualities in ASIS&T professional and scholarly activities. Rebekah Willson is a perfect example of the type of leader ASIS&T needs and is deserving of the prestigious James M. Crestos Leadership Award.”

Dr. Heidi Julien of the University of Buffalo wrote, “[Her] record of leadership in ASIS&T is extraordinary, to say the least. There are few senior ASIS&T members who can boast of such a broad and deep record of service to the Association, particularly one which has included so many leadership contributions in such a relatively short period. Dr. Willson has exemplified leadership on multiple fronts, serving the Association with passion and dedication, as well as with good humor and creativity. I have no doubt that this leadership trajectory will continue. Dr. Willson has most certainly demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities in professional ASIS&T activities.”

Upon learning of her selection as a 2019 Cretsos Award winner, Dr. Willson said, ” I am honoured to receive the 2019 James M. Cretsos Leadership Award from ASIS&T. Since the start of my PhD, ASIS&T has been my disciplinary home, providing me with opportunities to get involved and supporting my development as a scholar. I have particularly appreciated the mentorship from senior scholars in ASIS&T, who have gone from being the authors on the papers I cite to my colleagues. I am looking forward to continuing my work with ASIS&T in the future.”

Dr. Willson will receive her award at the 2019 meeting of the Association for Information Science & Technology (ASIS&T) which will be held in Melbourne, Australia, October 19-23, 2019.