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Photo courtesy of Oscar Edmond

This story appeared in the Spring 2022 Dominican Magazine.

Growing up, Dr. Andrea Jamison MLIS ’08, PHLIS ’21 was an avid reader. But in the economically disadvantaged schools she attended on the West Side of Chicago, she had limited access to books that reflected her own experience. Twenty years later, as an elementary school teacher and then school librarian in the community where she grew up, she saw that not much had changed.

“I was working in schools that were predominantly African American, but the books that were on the shelves did not affirm the African American community,” Andrea says. “There was a  lack of diversity—and a lack of books in general. I wanted to do something about the inequities I saw.”

Andrea returned to Dominican for a PhD and dove into research about the lack of representation in children’s literature. Her work led to a TEDx talk, a presentation at the 2020 Library Assessment Conference and even a book deal. Today, she’s an assistant professor at Illinois State University, where she’s continuing to study disparities while educating the next generation of librarians.

“Dominican helped me turn my passion into a voice,” she says. “Now I can use my voice to help contribute to change for historically marginalized and underprivileged youth.”