1. Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lake Bluff, Illinois; it’s a small town about halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. Lake Bluff is not a very happening place, but it was a joy to spend my youth there. Exploring the ravines, riding Lake Michigan’s waves, powering a 3-speed Schwinn, and slurping blue Mr. Freeze bars (it’s an acquired taste) was my idea of fun. Imagine, kids having fun without cell phones and tablets!
2. Why did you select law librarianship as a career?
I wouldn’t say I “selected” it; it sort of just happened. My goals of becoming an accountant (high school), an economist (college), and a Latin American Studies bibliographer (grad school/library school), didn’t pan out. I subsequently decided to go to law school, realized I didn’t want to practice, and thus law librarianship was my best option.
3. When did you develop an interest in foreign, comparative, and international law?
I was originally hired as a general reference librarian at Loyola, but FCIL questions immediately started coming my way, and I hit the ground running. I had not studied FCIL in law school, so I learned on the job. I found the FCIL work to be a good fit, as I have a background in foreign languages and an M.A. in Ibero-American Studies. “Foreign and International Research Specialist” was added to my job title in 2007.
4. Who is your current employer? How long have you worked there?
I have worked at the Loyola University Chicago School of Law Library for almost 12 years.
5. Do you speak any foreign languages?
I was a Spanish major at Middlebury College, and studied in Spain and Mexico. I don’t speak as well as I used to, but I can get by. My real love, however, is Italian. I’ve studied intermittently since college and received my B1 CILS (Certificazione di Italiano come Lingua Straniera) in 2011. I studied at the B2 level in Rome in 2013. I also studied French at the Alliance Française de Chicago for a few years, but I didn’t have an affinity for it.
6. What is your most significant professional achievement?
I just finished writing a book chapter with Teresa Miguel-Stearns (Yale Law School). On par with that, I was awarded a bursary to attend IALL 2016 in Oxford, England (a terrific experience!).
7. What is your biggest food weakness?
8. What song makes you want to get up and sing/dance?
This will probably age me, but the B-52s’ “Love Shack.”
9. What ability or skill do you most wish you had (that you don’t have already)?
I would love to be able to speak Portuguese.
10. Aside from the basic necessities, what is one thing you not go a day without?
I try to exercise every day. I really enjoy swimming, but I also walk and use weight machines.
11. Anything else you would like to share with us?
Colleagues often ask me where my love of travel (sometimes I feel like the roaming Travelocity gnome) and interest in Latin America originated. My family is responsible. My maternal grandparents traveled to over 100 countries—my grandfather sometimes in the pilot’s seat. Both of my parents lived abroad at some point during their childhoods (my father in South Korea, and my mother in Guatemala). My parents and I traveled a lot to Mexico when I was growing up, and we also took a trip to Guatemala when I was in high school.
Also, my first gig out of library school was organizing a private library in a restored Moorish castle in Mallorca, Spain. Ask me about it sometime; I’m always happy to reminisce.