ALI Faculty

Mary Brackett

Mary Brackett joined the University of Virginia’s (UVA) Organizational Excellence (OE) department as a senior associate in 2014. She provides leadership, support, and consulting for pan-institutional projects and the overall OE program. Additionally, Mary has managed several major institutional projects involving diverse stakeholder groups, including a redesign of the University’s major capital program and a benchmarking project of six administrative functions that included input from thousands of faculty, staff, and students. 

Prior to her current role, Mary served as the director of HR applications and strategic planning at UVA, where she led the design and implementation of many enterprise applications. Mary has been with the University since 2001.

A lifelong learner, Mary earned her MBA, completed the Educause Institute Management program, and holds certifications in UVA’s Darden School’s design thinking framework, Ideo’s Storytelling for Impact and Creative Collaboration programs, and Prosci Change Management. Mary also serves on the Board of the Network for Change and Continuous Improvement, volunteers at the University of Virginia hospital, and is a member of the Prosci Return to Work Advisory Board.  

Makiba Foster

Makiba is the Librarian of the College for The College of Wooster Libraries in Wooster, Ohio. Foster’s past leadership roles include successful tenures as the director of the African American Research Library and Cultural Center (AARLCC) for Broward County Libraries and the Assistant Chief Librarian at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, a New York Public Library.  Makiba’s public and academic library career has focused on reimagining services to better serve and positively impact the community. Her work includes libraries as incubators for the arts/artists with the creation of a social justice Artist Residency, faculty and community collaborations focusing on the role of libraries and archives in advancing social justice through digital archives like Documenting Ferguson, and co-creating the historic web archiving project Archiving the Black Web (ATBW), a national partnership between HBCU libraries and Black collecting public libraries. In 2021, Makiba was recognized by Library Journal as a 2021 “Mover and Shaker” in the area of Digital Developer for Archiving the Black Web. She is also a recipient of the 2020 Florida Library Association award for OutstandingScholarly Contribution for her scholarship on the Negro Motorist Green Book.

Elyse Girard

Elyse is the Executive Director for Communications and User Experience at the UVA Library and will facilitate cohort learning on communication topics throughout the week. More bio information to come.

Dominique Luster

Dominique combines a decade of expertise in the cultural heritage and memory preservation fields with a passionate commitment to Black history and narrative-driven archiving. With a background that intertwines archival science, genealogical research, and cultural studies, she is not only an adept archivist and researcher but also a connoisseur of narratives that shape community identities. Her career spans significant roles in universities, libraries, and museums nationwide, where she developed a nuanced understanding of history as a curated interplay of power and memory, rather than a mere chronological record of events.

Dominique’s work is characterized by a dedication to bringing to light the often-suppressed, oppressed, or erased stories of marginalized communities, especially within the Black diaspora. As CEO of The Luster Company, Dominique pioneers innovative methods to honor and articulate the rich, complex narratives of the Black experience. This venture is more than a business; it’s a manifestation of her commitment to redefining historical narratives, ensuring that they encompass the diverse, often untold stories of the Black community. Her work is a testament to the power of archival practice in shaping collective memory and identity. Dominique is an alumna of the 2018 ALI cohort (Berea College).

Catalina Piatt-Esguerra

Catalina is the University of Virginia’s Associate Dean for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility. She will ensure that the curriculum weaves IDEA into the curriculum and will deliver specific content related to creating welcoming spaces in any organization.

Mario Ramirez

Mario is the Associate Dean and Chief Librarian at The City College of New York Libraries (CUNY). Previously, he was Head of Special Collections and Archives at the California State University, Los Angeles, and has also held appointments as Project Archivist at the Bancroft Library (UC Berkeley) and the Center for Puerto Rican Studies (Hunter College, CUNY). From 2018 to 2019, he was a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Postdoctoral Fellow in Data Curation for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received a PhD in Information Studies and a Certificate in Experimental Critical Theory from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2017.

Mario has occupied several leadership and committee positions in the Society of American Archivists and served a three-year term on its governing council from 2019-2022. He has taught courses on archives and special collections for the Department of Information Studies at UCLA, the iSchool at the University of Washington, and the California Rare Book School (CalRBS). Mario has also guest lectured at Indiana University, Bloomington; the University of California, Irvine; the University of California, San Francisco; Harvard University; and Simmons University. He has presented at conferences across the U.S., Europe, and Latin America. Mario is on the Advisory Board of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded project “Community-Centered Archives Practice: Transforming Education, Archives, and Community (C-CAP TEACH)” at the University of California, Irvine, and is a Board Member for the “Spanish Homosaurus,” a project through the University of Washington and Northeastern University funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Among Mario’s publications are “Whither the Human in Human Rights: On Misrecognition, Ontology, and Archives” (Archivaria), “On ‘Monstrous’ Subjects and Human Rights Documentation” (Emerging Trends in Archival Science), “‘To Suddenly Discover Yourself Existing’: Uncovering the Affective Impact of Community Archives” (with Michelle Caswell and Marika Cifor, American Archivist), and “Being Assumed Not to Be: A Critique of Whiteness as an Archival Imperative” (American Archivist). In 2022, he co-guest edited (with Lorena Gauthreau, University of Houston) a special issue of the International Journal of Information, Diversity, & Inclusion (where he is an Associate Editor) titled “Documenting Transborder Latinidades: Archives, Libraries, and Digital Humanities.” Mario will guest edit the 50th anniversary issue of Archivaria, which will be dedicated to the legacies of critical theory in archival theory and practice, and is slated for publication in 2025. Mario is an alum of the 2011 ALI cohort (University of Wisconsin-Madison).

Holly Smith

Holly is currently the College Archivist at Spelman College. Previously she served as African American Materials Specialist in the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She received her B.A. in History and Black Studies from The College of William and Mary, an M.A. in History from Yale University, and her M.S. in Library and Information Science, with concentration in Archival Management, from Simmons College. Holly is an alumna from the 2016 ALI cohort (Berea College). Holly is an alumna from the 2016 ALI cohort (Berea College).

Christina Thompson Shutt

Christina Shutt is the executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the premier institution for understanding the history and legacy of Abraham Lincoln and Illinois. She is a recognized leader in libraries and museums and is frequently sought after for her expertise in museum management and accreditation. Since her appointment in 2021, Shutt has worked with legislators to transform the position of Illinois State Historian to focus on underrepresented history, launched community outreach efforts to make the institution more welcoming and inclusive, and hosted the signing ceremony to make Juneteenth an official state holiday in Illinois. Additionally, her innovative and collaborative leadership resulted in the ALPLM being awarded first-time national museum accreditation, a distinction only 3% of museums hold in the United States. Throughout her career, she has championed efforts to make libraries, archives, and museums more diverse, equitable, inclusive, and accessible, believing that the heart of these institutions must represent the communities they serve. She earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Central Methodist University and holds two masters’ degrees in library science/archives management and history from Simmons University.

Stacie Williams

Stacie Williams is an independent archivist and consultant who has spent more than 10 years in management and leadership roles across the archives profession. She was most recently the inaugural Division Chief for Archives and Special Collections at the Chicago Public Library and has managed digital scholarship programs at the University of Chicago Library and Case Western Reserve University, and is a member of the independent Blackivists collective, which works to preserve Chicago-area Black history. She has worked previously at Harvard University, the University of Kentucky, and the Lexington (KY) Public Library. 

Williams is currently serving a second term (2020-2023; 2023-2026) as Publications Editor and Chair for the Society of American Archivists’ Publications program, which publishes books, case studies and other works related to the archival profession. She has served on the Advisory Board for the Digital Library Federation; program chair of the SAA/ARL Mosaic scholarship program, which provided scholarships to LIS/archives graduate students of color for nearly 10 years; and was appointed to the Library of Congress’ Digital Strategy Working Group (2017-2019) by Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden.

Williams is also a former journalist and writer whose work has appeared in The Chicago Review of BooksThe NationBitchLitHubNew York magazine, CatapultGordon Square Review, and The Rumpus. Her bibliomemoir on gentrification and race, Bizarro Worlds, was published in 2018 (Fiction Advocate). She is additionally the co-author of a chapter on epistemic supremacy with fellow Simmons graduate Myrna Morales, published in Knowledge Justice: Disrupting Library and Information Science Through Critical Race Theory (MIT Press 2020). Williams was an American Library Association Spectrum Scholar (2010), and has a BA in journalism from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and an MS in library and information science with a concentration in archives and archival management from Simmons College. She attended the Archives Leadership Institute in 2015 (Luther College), and was a guest instructor in 2017 and 2018 (Berea College).